I was giggling at this Video I found on Google Video. It’s basically a PR video for the Wang Freestyle. I initially made a joke that it’s Adobe’s new PR video for LiveCycle (heh sorry couldn’t resist).
One thing that did stand out about this video however was the simplicity of the way folks were thinking in 1988 around workflow.
For example, the person doing the demo walks the viewers through a scenario where he wants to markup a document using a electronic Pen (think WACOM). He then rights on top of the cover sheet "Pat $$$". He then clicks on an icon, which resembles his new documents, and drags them onto the desktop. He then clicks on a stapler icon and drags it also across to the paper, and then begins to put it into a mailbag.
The mailbag then accesses an address book, select whom you wish to send it to and then it’s sent out. Now how it get’s sent out is something he doesn’t cover (I’m guessing it’s all digital and not physical).
What he just described was Email in today’s standard, where I grab a Document from my computer, attach it to an email and push it on by and of course 90% of my TO: and CC: address will no doubt ignore the email – since we are all busy folks now days.
There are two sides to this story. Firstly, the approach taken in putting this into a "mail bag" was simple, in fact most if not all office workers would grasp that concept and it would probably take on a whole new meaning in terms of context.
Secondly, which workflow is faster, efficient and more focused on the end user?
One other thing also came to mind, is that with more and more electronic software coming to the forefront of modern business, is there still a need for Email? Why haven’t we evolved beyond email and into more decision making scenarios. I think way to much business practices and decision making are done via email, and less around form technology.
Are we going to look back on this entire technology world we live in and laugh at how crazy people were getting, just like the Wang Freestyle?
Thoughts are, we often make User Experience overly complex and my homework for you is, "what would you do differently with the WANG Freestyle in 1988"