Command Lines and Aesthetics

April 28, 2012

Design is important to human beings; Something as simple as a clean desk can make a profound difference in productivity. The curse of human intelligence is believing you can overcome human nature with brain power. Smart people are frequent offenders. There is a lot of productivity to be gained by accepting the uniqueness of our nature and guiding it rather than denying it.

From does follow function. But they aren’t distinct concepts when you add human beings to the equation. They are closely intertwined. How data is presented affects how we parse it.

I use terminals because I can access data quickly. There is a boost to letting go of graphical user interfaces and mouse input, and maximizing the time spent with fingers on the home-row and cutting down keystrokes.

But in cutting back cruft there’s the risk of throwing the baby out with the bath water. There was a time when the display fonts and colors were limited by the technology. With the exception of lingering instances where the interface API has not kept up with the hardware capability, this is no longer the case. It’s time to utilize modern fonts and color palettes not to get in the way of information but to improve the way we interact with and parse data on the command line.

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