Jon Udell writes about irony in user interfaces: How rich is the rich GUI? He points out that sometimes native GUIs are richer than web interfaces (the common wisdom), but that sometimes the reverse is true. For example, the web has pervasive links and a back button, which native GUIs typically don’t.
As an example of innovation in user interfaces, Jon points to a demo of fisheye menus. I’m all for innovation, and thinking outside the box and all, but I don’t get this one. True, a traditional list box forces you to scroll, but why is that bad? With the fisheye box, I can see where I am in the list, but I can only read three of the entries at once. It’s like using an ordinary list box that’s three entries tall. And the standard listbox shows me where I am in the list with the thumb of the scroll bar.