I've developed the basic architecture for a browser based operating system that exists to get users to interact with network resources the same way they are able to interact with their native systems via windowed and textual interfaces (GUIs and CLIs). For proof of concept, see my prototype at www.urdesk.net/desk. (I currently only support Chrome and Opera.) The interface is very familiar, as far as the world of "native" is concerned, but it tends to confuse people who are looking for a traditional browsing experience.

My current thinking is to just go for a combination of "total immersion" and "shock and awe". After all, I am the creator of the thing, and I don't want to apologize for offending anyone's notions of what kinds of tasks web browsers are supposed to be used for.

Any feedback I can get for the best course of action here is highly appreciated.

closed as primarily opinion-based by Evil Closet Monkey, Charles Wesley, Graham Herrli, Joshua Barron, K.. Sep 15 '14 at 19:34

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  • I'm not sure what the UX question is here, exactly. I don't think you are asking for feedback on using a desktop UI inside a browser, but rather how to sell the idea to your audience who seems confused. That seems to be more of a PR question. – DA01 Sep 8 '14 at 4:42
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    Impressive proof of concept. What you have here is a technology in search of an application. It doesn't make sense to talk about "users" at this point, because we don't know who the users might be. Your first step is to find if there is a need that this technology meets. If there is, consider what those users will need. – user31143 Sep 8 '14 at 11:32
  • Also, I should mention that you appear to have ripped off other products' designs/artwork/logos in a way that exposes you to potential lawsuits from Apple, Microsoft, etc. I suggest you fix that! – user31143 Sep 8 '14 at 11:36
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    Interesting concept. I see you support standard linux commands in the terminal, cool. However, I don't understand what problem you are trying to solve here. What users are you targeting and what are the use cases that require an operating system that runs in a web browser? – kwahn Sep 8 '14 at 15:13

I don't mean to offend, but it sounds to me like you might be going at it the wrong way.

You've already done some testing and put your finger on the problem: "it tends to confuse people who are looking for a traditional browsing experience." That you've come that far is great.

Now it seems you've decided the design is fine, but the users' expectations aren't. In user experience, however, we generally try to work from the user's perspective outward. In other words, we try to answer the users' expectations, which in this case appear to be a traditional browsing experience.

Before going any further, I would ask that you sit back and ask yourself what your motivation is. Is it because there's a lot of work sunk into the design and you're invested in it as it is (financially, and perhaps emotionally)? Or is it because you believe your approach truly delivers a better solution than any other alternative, despite the feedback you've been given so far?

Going ahead in your direction with clear, identified problems with your users, I would suggest finding a way to set expectations. Be it a high-level summary of the interface before they open it, a screenshot, a tutorial, something. Try a couple of solutions and test them with your users to see which works best.

As for "total immersion" and "shock and awe"... I'm not quite sure I know what you mean by that but it sounds a little aggressive. All I can tell you is to be careful to respect your users in the process. Because as much as you don't want to apologize to them, they won't think to apologize for not getting it as they click away.

Lastly, if it comes to it, remember that there's nothing wrong with going back to the drawing board. I would venture that many of the greatest solutions we know and love today went through two or three iterations -- if not more -- before ever coming close to the light of day. It's the cost of doing great work.

Best of luck!

P.S.: I should mention that your project, from a technical standpoint, does seem quite sharp. Kudos to you on your work.

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