Archiving things like this is so important. IMHO, the limitations of these platforms in the 80s and 90s (in terms of pixel density, usable colors, overall performance) led to way better decisions in user interface usability. Specifically things like clearly highlighting focus, active state as well as interactive elements is something that seems to be lost every time a major redesign is done in current desktop operating systems and lots of web apps.
It’s always fun to show UI designers solutions to “current” usability issues with a screenshot of software from before they were even born.
It’s interesting to note that, while pixel density was obviously different (retina screens were… not around yet), the available screen estate was in some cases comparable to modern systems. Just a few examples:
(inb4 but touch screen: this is a pretty hefty compiling and CAD workhorse machine. It doesn’t have a touch screen and there’s not a single application it runs that would even benefit from one).
Windows 11 is actually the happy case, retrying the last experiments with either Gnome or KDE, both of which have huge themes by default, is bloody hilarious.
NeXTSTEP and RiscOS particularly jump out. They both still look good today (better than some modern GUIs) and had similar takes on how UIs should work that were far more discoverable than anything in the last 10 years.
Lot of nostalgia here for me. Fond memories of Sun OpenWindows, A/UX, OS/2, and early FVWM on Slackware.
Can’t find anything about Environ-V (could be that that search engines are also bad nowadays); anyone can ID the UI font?
Do you mean the window titles? Looks like italic Univers.
Thank you, it does indeed look like it!
I love stuff like this.
See also: http://toastytech.com/guis/
These are all so inspiring. And here’s a shameless plug of a UI gallery of my own: http://peisik.untergrund.net/engines/
Ooh, let’s do a thread with these!
Amiga-specific but also very cool, as it includes some screenshots from beta and/or unreleased Workbench versions: https://www.gregdonner.org/workbench/ .
Me too. And I also love things like the IE is Evil page from that site.