Killing the Desktop

When I observe how my wife and son uses the family computer, I can't help noticing how little use they have for the desktop. They look bewildered when I open the Windows Explorer.

To them, file open or file save dialog is where the files go. My Documents? It's just an icon they never touch. The web is the little blue icon on the desktop that looks like a letter e. Email is another icon next to it. IM is the little person icon on the bottom right. Word is a W icon on the desktop. They don't even ask why only one click is needed for icons on the bottom right and double-click is needed for icons on the desktop. It just is.

Software my wife uses are (in the order of usage):

  1. Internet Explorer (which they call Web)
  2. MSN Messenger (for chatting with friends)
  3. Outlook
  4. Word

Software my son uses are very similar:

  1. Internet Explorer
  2. Word (for homework)
  3. Outlook
  4. Games

Hmm. While I can see some new approaches to UI here that could be relevant to casual computer users, I am also sadden by the waste of it all.