Larry Rosenthal on the Transition from 2D to 3D Interfaces

Today's post is a great one from Larry Rosenthal (Cube Inada), a virtual thought leader and creator of Cube3, a front-line design and consulting firm founded in 1990. Larry has been active across a broad spectrum of virtual worlds for nearly two decades, and brings a wealth of industry expertise to his subject matter. Larry originally explored these ideas in the virtual world magazine Maxping,

It's been almost 25 years since the GUI of the MACINTOSH was
unleashed on the design community in 1984. It's black and white
"icons" led to the death of the "text-dos" interface and the birth
of the 2D GUI interface. First used by the public on the Mac, then
almost everywhere else with the introduction of "Windows", the 2D
GUI and its language of metaphors and iconography has become the
standard for computer-user interface in today's world.

The inherent
strengths of the 2D GUI created a medium where the tool maker and
tool user both learned to understand the media by "how to get
around" and "what the story is " and "how this thing is to work "
from the use of visual cues and relationships. These cues became so
obviously more effective than the text-only interfaces that had
been offered to do the same before as a text only interface.

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