AJ’s blog features a nice piece on keeping your desktop free. It’s Windows specific, but the principles could be applied to any OS, I guess.
I am with him on this one. The idea of having icons on the desktop is inefficient and, well, rubbish. I use my desktop purely as a temporary holding station for downloaded files before they are put away or deleted. By the time I switch my PC off at night, there is only the Recycle Bin left on show. Because of this use of the desktop as a place for downloaded files I don’t follow AJ’s advice that you should use the Windows option to turn all icons off – they can be handy sometimes.
I also very, very rarely touch the Start menu – again, I just think that they are rubbish, and it depressed me a bit when I installed Ubuntu and Mandriva and found that they use a similar system. I personally use a quick-launch bar, with all the apps on it I use regularly, which is displayed at the top of the screen and which autohides when not in use.
I still think the most efficient and the most user-friendly way of operating a PC is through the keyboard. When I had Google Desktop Search installed on my old PC, I really liked the little search field on the sidebar that would auto-complete and hunt out whatever I was after, whether a file or an application. This sort of thing would form the basis of my ideal OS.
Instead of having to click on a box, though, you should be able to just start typing. Where there is more than one file with a similar name, such as a word processed document, a spreadsheet, an email and a webpage with the same name, then options appear to let me choose which one I want. Likewise, an option could appear to create a new document of some sort with that name.
So, no matter what you are doing, the method of doing it is the same. This could be taken further with task based search words, so I could type “burn cd” which would locate the CD burning software on my machine. The search “type letter” would bring up a word processor. This way, the need to know exactly what bit of software performs which task would disappear.
IN MY WORLD, THIS IS HOW THINGS WOULD BE.