Mercury OS is a beautifully executed application of the design principles that Jef Raskin wrote about 18 years ago in The Humane Interface, including modelessness, monotony/habituation, universal undo, elimination of distractions, and an end to stand-alone applications.
Jason Yuan, the Santa Monica-based designer responsible for the project, has created a compelling vision for how one might accomplish modern computer-based tasks using a humane computing environment designed for tablet-computer hardware.
There’s obviously still a lot to think through, such as how would one design user interfaces or code software on the system? The answer may lie in how Yuan incorporates a zooming user interface – one of the most intriguing ideas that Raskin put forth, and an idea that Yuan has not yet addressed – into Mercury OS.
It’s been a while since I’ve seen such a thoughtful, modern take on the design principles in The Humane Interface. I hope Yuan continues to collaborate and iterate on his vision, because what he’s presented so far is pretty exciting.
You can read more about the project in Yuan’s post, Introducing Mercury OS.