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WIMP/Folders Vs Search/Tags

General, Zoho Writer | May 16, 2006 | 2 min read

Have been following an interesting thread by Nick Carr, Rajagopal Sukumar & Sadagopan among others. Nick Carr came up with

What Microsoft is trying to do with its new Duet partnership with SAP – provide a user-friendly way to tap into data from a complex enterprise system – Google is trying to do on a much grander scale. It wants to be a front end for everything. One wonders if the big application providers will really want to forfeit the user interface – and the power it represents – to Google. One also wonders whether they’ll have a choice

Rajagopal Sukumar supports Nick saying,

We have been using  WIMP as the User Interface design strategy since the days when Xerox Parc and Apple Macintosh pioneered the GUI and subsequently made ubiquitous by Microsoft Windows. As everyone will attest software development costs time and money, so my argument has been that by  eliminating development on the Read part of the application, we can save time and money.

Now, there is a new twist to this strategy and that is Search. I think Search will make the WIMP interface obsolete for basic Information Retrieval/Foraging purposes.  Of course, for more advanced information retrieval applications you will use business intelligence tools.

But Sadagopan (and Vinnie Mirchandani – see the first comment of this post) are of the opposite opinion. Sadagopan asserts,

Google’s application centered interfaces are not that great – for example , its do not sort when you can search philosophy with Gmail is not exactly a great hit – I suspect that with my limited experience of using it, I end up spending more time in accessing information – this when I use my mailbox to 20% of its capacity.

In Zoho Writer, we try to capture the best of both worlds. While we have tags & the unique ‘Search based UI navigation‘ (where you can search/use features from a search box), we plan to come up with folders for organizing documents as an extension of the current ‘tags as folders‘ concept too. We tend to side with the Google way of doing things though & would not want features to be hidden within heirarchial menus.