The Future Of Our Virtual Workspace


So I was browsing the Mac App store and saw this thing called Ommwriter at #3 in the top ten list. I was curious and so read its page, finding it sounded a bit gimmicky. I set out to continue about my day, but the curious itch continued until I could no longer resist the temptation, and so I tried out the free Dana version 1.

Wow. Can you say Heavy Rain? Remember ARI? What we’re seeing here is the idea of virtual reality finally being seamlessly meshed with productivity technology. While most companies are blindly looking to add features, bullet points, connectivity, power, strength, and flexibility to their software, they’ve completely neglected the idea of the user experience.

Now, Apple has paid a fair amount of attention to improving and developing the user experience and culture of its customers, but all its advances, and iterations developed by “follow the leader” competitors like Microsoft, seem to have mainly focused on improving usability and form. None have really tapped into improving the user’s sense of place or mood, the emotional side of things, you might say.

Ommwriter proves that in a world where it feels like technology is tearing down walls and thrusting us into the lightning fast cacophony of information ubiquity, that we can still steal ourselves away into a quiet corner to contemplate and reflect. It’s the headline theme of Virginia Woolf’s “A Room of One’s Own” applied to our virtual workspace, and still rings as true as ever.

The program isn’t perfect for me, though, especially at work. I do need more advanced formatting options, otherwise it’s a pain to copy and paste between a text file and Word. I can only pray that the big software behemoths realize how important developing technology in this direction will be. Otherwise they stand to be wiped out, not by a technology that quantifiably better, but by failing to provide the very basic human experiences we all yearn for.

Some might cry out that it’s not Word’s place to make you feel relaxed, focused, peaceful… but these are things many people value, and if other programs provide that experience with few enough or no drawbacks, it is to them that the people will go. If customers are waiting with baited breath to abandon their go-to company, that company will soon find itself playing catch-up once again.

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