There has been a lot of discussion here about SDR radio user interfaces. The old and tired "computer interface versus knobs debate". However, one huge advantage that SDR radio has over conventional amateur radio is that if you don't like the interface, you can change it. SDR radio opens up the ability for Amateur Radio operators to experiment with different types of interfaces. Keep in mind that some of what I mention here can also be applied to conventional radios using computer control programs such as Ham Radio Deluxe. Here is a list of what currently can be done.
1. Some of the current SDR control programs like PowerSDR are "open source software", meaning the code is available to the public. If you have programming skills you can tweak the code or write a different front end to the SDR radio. You can't do that with conventional radios firmware unless its based on "open source" software, which most commercial radios are not.
2. PowerSDR has the ability to send and receive control data via CAT commands. This opens up the software to external hardware or software control. This is already being taken advantage of by WoodBoxRadio with their Tmate tuning knob controller. WoodBoxRadio has also just released custom touchscreen controller software that uses CAT to interface to PowerSDR. This product allows you to use a very nice looking custom touch control interface on a 7 inch off the shelf touchscreen monitor. This could easily be done for other computer controlled non SDR rigs, but I haven't seen one yet. Flex Radio will also be releasing their own Contest Knob in the near future, which is also a CAT based device. The CAT commands for PowerSDR are publicly available, so if you want to built your own custom hardware panel, break out the PIC controllers and go to it. If you want to do your own control software then you can easily write it to use CAT commands to get and use data from the PowerSDR software.
3. Wireless remote control with touchscreen tablets such as the iPad or Android tablets, using VNC or RDC clients to send the main computer screen to your tablet. You can have remote access to your SDR software. Audio can be transmitted and received between the computer and tablet by using VOIP program like Skype. This will work with conventional radios also, but SDR radio lends itself very well to this control scheme.
4. There are various off the shelf computer interface devices that can give you external control over you SDR software from 3D Connexion, Griffin and Contour designs. These devices will allow you to interface hardware shuttle type controls to you SDR software or other computer controlled radios by mapping keyboard short cuts to them.
5. Midi control may be protocol that may not be too familiar to Amateur Radio, but offers excellent potential for hardware control over SDR radios. Midi is heavily used in electronic music production to interface to various hardware controllers. There is a plethora of controllers available with a variety of buttons, sliders, knobs, and jog wheels. There has been a post here referencing the excellent work that DH1TW has done with interfacing a midi based Hercules DJ controller for hardware control over PowerSDR. You can also do this very easily for your self by using Bome's midi translater with your choice of midi hardware. You simply map keyboard shortcuts from your software to the various buttons and knobs on your controller.
6. Voice control by using 3rd party software to map voice commands to keyboard shortcuts.
7. Design your own touch screen interfaces by using TouchBuddy. TouchBuddy is designed to easily allow you to create custom touch screens for use on an external usb touch screen. You simply design your custom buttons and place them on a template. TouchBuddy then will allow you to map keyboard shortcuts for your software to the buttons. You can design buttons that display on and off states. The only problem with TouchBuddy is that it does not receive state commands from the software. For example if your software has buttons that stay pushed after you close the program, TouchBuddy will not know what position the button was left in the next time it is started. However, it is excellent for toggling your software default button settings off and on. You can even use TouchBuddy with iPad and Android tablets by designing a template to fit the tablets screen and the using VNC or RDC network connections to display it on the tablet.
8 If you really want to get crazy, learn how to use programs like Girder or EventGhost. These programs open the door to all kinds of controllers for use with your SDR Software or conventional radio control programs. Want to push the Mox button on PowerSDR and have the "On Air" out side the shack come on and then automatically start the hot-tub, then these programs are for you.
So, if you are not happy with your SDR Radio software UI, I have given you 8 ways to change it or leverage it to do some interesting things.