Whitson, among others, made a point about tablets and productivity yesterday: maximum-size apps can be good for cutting distractions. But switching between full-screen apps, and lacking the ability to transpose, can be just as distracting, argues interface engineer Lukas Mathis.Mathis isn’t saying one way or the other is right or wrong, but suggesting that the way we use “multitasking” to describe what humans do (and which, study after study suggests, we’re “not wired” to do), as well as what computers do, doesn’t quite add up. Having more than one app open at once, Mathis states, is sometimes the only way to focus.
However, the argument that multitasking on computers is bad because humans can’t multitask is flawed. It uses the word «multitasking» in two different ways, but implies that the two kinds of multitasking are somehow the same thing. They’re not: a task (or an app) on a computer, and a task performed by a human don’t map to each other one-to-one. In fact, a single task performed by a human can easily make use of several applications running concurrently on a computer.
Stretch your brain a bit by reading the full, short essay, and tell us what you think of “focus”-minded computer systems in the comments.