Many years ago, I worked with a computing system* that was a joy to use. It required no computer "literacy" and was fast and efficient. The system supports health care delivery and it is still in use today. I fully expected that the virtues of this system would eventually migrate into mainstream applications: alas, this has not happened. Therefore, I have written this article in an attempt to put forward some ideas that I know from my own experience can greatly enhance the effectiveness of the computing experience for many users. If you find these ideas interesting I would welcome your support in making them available to software developers everywhere. Additional technical details are available in a second document, "MentorWizard Architecture."
The following description uses an imagined but unimplemented technology that I call MentorWizard. This description draws on experience gained in a start-up company, StepSoft, where a modern version of the older health care system was implemented. My hope is to create a proof-of-concept version of MentorWizard to enhance my claims. If you are able to see MentorWizard in action, you will experience what I can only partially communicate here with some words and diagrams.
* The "Problem Oriented Medical Information System" also known as PROMIS was developed at the University of Vermont Medical School during the 1970s. It was commercialized by Second Foundation, Inc. in the 1980s. Today PROMIS is privately owned by Kindred Healthcare who use the system in their hospital chain. See also Jan R. Schultz, "A History of Personal Workstations", ACM Press, 1988, chapter titled "A History of the PROMIS Technology: an Effective Human Interface."