The first great mistake was throwing away the (relatively new) concept of the pipeline when windowing systems came in. Without the ability to even instruct the machine to do the simplest things in sequence, the user interface has just got cruder ever since then. (Macro languages do *not* help: you have to be a programmer of some stripe to even start to use them without being scared off.)
There is surely a graphical way to model this -- I am reliably told that the original PARC windowing system had one -- but apparently it was dropped :(
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