I recently came across the concept of recognition-based user interfaces and recall-based user interfaces.
Where a recognition-based interface would present the user with a menu of available options, a recall-based interface would expect the user to remember the behaviour to trigger the option without a visual cue. There’s a clear analogy here in typical GUIs (recognition) versus typical CLIs (recall).
While recall interfaces take more effort to learn, they’re more efficient (See: power users of GUI applications learn key bindings, a recall feature).
An interesting piece of how a lot of people interact with their computers: Cmd+Tab (or Alt+Tab, or whatever) for application switching.
This is an interesting hybrid of recognition and recall: You may remember that the last application you used is just one press away, but it will likely take you a bit more work to get to, say, 1Password. If you don’t recall how many taps away the application you want is, you’re setting up an interactive loop with your computer: you press buttons, watch the result, process visual input, and press more buttons.
I use a tool called Hammerspoon to create a few keybindings to mostly eliminate this recognition-based loop from my day-to-day computer usage. Each application that I commonly use is bound to its own (recall-based) key chord:
This saves me, I don’t know, a quarter of second about a hundred times a day. Little things add up, especially in the middle of focused thought.