WIMP is the current acronym for the Windows User Experience. It stands for Windows Icons Menus Pointing Devices.
In human–computer interaction, WIMP stands for “window, icon, menu, pointing device“, denoting a style of interaction using these elements. It was coined by Merzouga Wilberts in 1980. Although its usage has fallen out of favor, it is often used as an approximate synonym of “GUI“. WIMP interaction was developed at Xerox PARC (see Xerox Alto, developed in 1973) and “popularized by the Macintosh computer in 1984″, where the concepts of the “menu bar” and extended window management were added.  [via Wikepedia]
The WIMP interface is a slow dying breed as our demands on user experience and the demands of user’s keep inflating. It’s time to start thinking in a new direction. A direction that sheds many of the harnesses of the old acronym and begins to explain the building blocks of the future. It will be simple, concise, and cover all of the bases we need. There is no need to rely on pointing devices, menus, or windows anymore. It’s time to let the experience be the interface, and the user to be in total control. The interface will begin to blend in with the experience and the experience will be the interface.
I have spent several months thinking about this and trying to solidify something presentable. This is the fruit of my labor. I present to you:
Objects are the core of the experience. They can have a direct correlation with something physical, or they can just be objects in the interface.
Containers will be the “grouping” of the objects. This can manifest itself in whatever the system sees fit to better organize or instruct the user on interactions. They do not have to be, nor should they be, windows. They can be any sort of method of presentation or relationship gathering as seen fit.
I went into detail about the differences in Gestures and Manipulations in a previous post [check it out for a refresher]. Gestures are actions performed by the user that initiate a function after its completion and recognition by the system. This is an indirect action on the system because it needs to be completed before the system will react to it.
Manipulations are the direct influences on an object or a container by the user. These are immediate and responsive. They are generally intuitive and mimic the physical world in some manner. The results are expected and should be non-destructive. These are easily performed and accidental activations should be expected and frequent.
This acronym is short, concise, and to the point. It contains all the elements the modern designer will ever need. In discussing this acronym with someone yesterday, he asked “Why do you separate out manipulations and gestures?” This is a good question and lies at the very core of modern design. These are the two basic interactions needed for a NUI, Touch, or even a Windows based system. The first is easy, intuitive, usually engulfed in a metaphor of some sense. The second is complex, learned, non-physical, and super-natural. The understanding of these two types of interactions are core to designing something for the modern world.
We have objects, which can be grouped into containers. We have manipulations, which can be contained inside of a gesture. The simplicity is liberating.
By a lucky coincidence, the acronym also bears very similar pronunciation and essence to Occam’s Razor. The simplest answer tends to be the right one.
Occam’s razor (or Ockham’s razor), entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem, is the principle that “entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity” and the conclusion thereof, that the simplest explanation or strategy tends to be the best one. The principle is attributed to 14th-century English logician, theologian and Franciscan friar, William of Ockham. Occam’s razor may be alternatively phrased as pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitate (“plurality should not be posited without necessity”). [via Wikepedia]
I hope you love this acronym as much as I do. Thanks for reading and feel free to comment.