The Wolfram Alpha UI

by Alistair

This blog has perfectly described the problems I’ve found when using Wolfram Alpha. Namely, the output it generates is great, but getting the engine to understand what you’re after can be tough.

Wolfram Alpha and hubristic user interfaces

Like most hubristic UIs, Wolfram Alpha is operating with a completely fictitious user narrative. The raison d’etre of the natural-language interface, stated baldly, is to create a usable tool for stupid people who might be confused or intimidated by a tree of menus. The market of stupid people is indeed enormous. The market of stupid people who like to use data-visualization tools is, well, not. (And since the interface is not in fact easy but actually quite difficult, it achieves the coveted status of a non-solution to a non-problem.)