The desktop, literally


“Layered Desktop,” by Gabriel Radic.

The desktop has been the primary GUI metaphor of operating systems for the last thirty years. Over that time, newer operating systems have stretched the desktop metaphor pretty thin, in the interests of better usability and faster task completion.

For example, remember when Apple’s System 7 would open each folder in a new Finder window, creating a cascade of windows that quickly became unmanageable? That was a literal interpretation of folders on your actual desktop. Fortunately, we now browse the contents of multiple folders within a single Finder window, an activity that doesn’t transfer to the stack of folders sitting next to me.

I found the wallpaper above really interesting: someone created a solution for organizing desktop icons which makes your computer screen look more like a desk, even though the design trend has been to move away from such literal interpretations. It’s not right or wrong—lots of people find it useful, judging by the comments—it’s a creative solution to a desktop organization problem.

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