A drag and drop dream

As far as the customer is concerned, the interface is the product.”
Jef Raskin

A dream of mine since 2000, the days when Oracle forms were the user interface to the OSS I was using, was the ability to provide drag and drop provisioning of services / circuits. The dream was basically a rip-off of Visio’s concept of using stitching building blocks (stencils) together to form end to end representations of circuits and networks.

Whilst there have been numerous variants around, the market is approaching reality on this dream with multiple vendors providing graphical service catalogs that combine physical and logical designs as well as workflows that tie in with north-facing systems.

I’m excited to observe where the market will take this.

But something has always sat uneasily with me over this graphical design interface… Order processing is all about speed and accuracy. Being a visual person, I love a graphical interface, but is the GUI actually a slower approach than a well-designed set of forms that the slick operator can quickly cycle through with keystrokes rather than mouse-movements?

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2 Responses

  1. Hi Ryan,
    As you say a good operator can memorise keystroke patterns in a forms based system and wind up being far faster than someone using a mouse (many of us would remember the complaints following the phase out of older legacy systems!) I wonder though if situations today where this type of fast ‘data entry’ is occurring are possibly indicators of where increased integration or automation could be utilised? Of course even modern GUIs often includes auto-layout/routing capability (as I know you’ll be familiar with).

  2. Good points Evan!
    It’s a bit of a case-by-case basis I’m guessing. Some apps would be well suited to automation, others less so. It’s an interesting subject to think about, but a whole challenge in its own right to try to benchmark/measure to determine which is optimal! 🙂

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