1 minute reading time (207 words)

Nielsen clings onto the PC in a multi-screen age

Signs by Mike Cattell, CC licence http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikecattell/4330920410/sizes/m/in/photostream/




Many people predict that mobile devices will be the only important user interface platform in the so-called "post-PC" future. Some even recommend designing websites for mobile first, and then modifying the design for the desktop PC as an afterthought.


... then comes the inevitable:


I disagree.

Although it makes for a good story to claim that something new will kill the old, things rarely work out that way. As Peter Zollman once said, "with the possible exception of the town crier, a new medium has never put an old medium out of business." Despite TV, we still have radio — and, for that matter, live theater. In the computer industry, we still have mainframes, and IBM harvests billions each year accordingly.


The takeaway from his latest piece, Transmedia design for 3 screens - make that 5:

  • PCs will remain important
  • Usage is shifting to smaller devices; value remains on desktops
  • TV will need a 3rd UI
  • The 4th (tiny, eg toothbrush LCD) and 5th (huge, eg projector) screens also need their own UI language


Nielsen's probably right in terms of UI development splitting out across devices, but what about PCs remaining important? It's contentious, but will it ring true?


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