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A (personal) History

A quick whizz through the history of HCI - best taken backwards

Alistair Edwards

on 7 January 2015

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Transcript of A (personal) History

A (personal) History
Introduction to
Advanced Topics in Interactive Technologies
An idea borrowed from Jonathan Grudin
But first...
This module:
Broad horizons
external speakers
mix of researchers and practitioners
accompanied by readings
Weekly feedback and summaries
An open essay
Issued Monday Week 7
Deadline Wednesday Week 1 Summer
More details later
A history of HCI
Told from a personal point-of-view
...in reverse chronological order
Speak up when I get to your part in the story
What is HCI?
Pre-history: 1940-1970
1943: Colossus
1946: Eniac
1949: Manchester Mark I, Edsac
1951: Leo
1975: ICL 4130/1900
User experience
Computing is not just individuals sitting in front of a computer
…nor even using computers together to do Serious Work
…it’s about the whole experience in a context of technology and computers
Mobile technologies
...not for the first time
1990s - The Web
Revolutionised what was possible
Client-server model
not truly interactive
almost back to form-based batch processing
Late 1980s - advent of the Internet
Managers have a role again
Late 1980s - CSCW
CSCW : Computer Supported Cooperative Work

Computer users are not just individuals sitting in front of a computer
1986: Guidelines for Designing User Interface Software
Sidney L. Smith and Jane N. Mosier
US Air Force
1.0 DATA ENTRY: General
Data entry refers to user actions involving input of data to a computer, and computer responses to such inputs.

1.0 DATA ENTRY: General
1.0/1 Data Entered Only Once
Ensure that a user need enter any particular data only once, and that the computer can access those data if needed thereafter for the same task or for different tasks.

5.1 DATA TRANSMISSION: Preparing Messages
5.1/13 Saving Draft Messages
Allow users to save draft messages during their preparation, or upon their completion.
Comment: A user should not be forced to recreate a message if its preparation is interrupted for some reason. Users should be able to specify how to save draft messages (i.e., in what file), just as they may decide how to save copies of transmitted and received messages.
Mayes, J. T., S. W. Draper, et al. (1988).
Information flow in a user interface: The effect of experience and context on the recall of MacWrite screens.
People and Computers IV: Proceedings of HCI ’88, Manchester, Cambridge University Press.
What did the WIMP (GUI) mean for blind people?
=> multimodality
Mid '80s - my PhD
1985: First issue of journal Human-Computer Interaction
Andrea A. di Sessa
'A Principled Design for an Integrated Computational Environment'

Robert D. Sorkin, David D. Woods
'Systems with Human Monitors: A Signal Detection Analysis'

Sara Kiesler,  David Zubrow,  Anne Marie Moses, Valerie Geller
'Affect in Computer-Meditated Communication: An Experiment in Synchronous Terminal-to-Terminal Discussion'
1985: Macintosh User Interface Guidelines
Do’s and don’ts of a friendly user interface
Do (extract)
Let the user have as much control as possible over the appearance of objects on the screen – their arrangement, size, and visibility

Use verbs for menu commands that perform actions

Make alert messages self-explanatory

Use controls and other graphics instead of just menu commands

Take the time to use good graphic design; it really helps
Don't (extract)
Overuse modes, including dialog boxes.

Require using the keyboard for an operation that would be easier with the mouse, or require using the mouse for an operation that would be easier with the keyboard.

Change the way the screen looks unexpectedly, especially by scrolling automatically more than necessary…

Redraw objects unnecessarily; it causes the screen to flicker annoyingly.

Make up your own menus and then give them the same names as standard menus.

Take an old-fashioned prompt-based application originally developed for another machine and pass it off as a Macintosh application.
1984: Apple Macintosh
Mac technology
Bit-mapped display

2 Sound generators

Colour-capable software
MS-Dos versus the WIMP
Mac user interface
1982: Card, Moran & Newell, Psychology of Human-Computer Interaction
1982: Formation of ACM SIGCHI
1983: First Chi Conference
HCI in the 1980s: The Cognitive Science Era
Needed experiments with people
Build models
then match the people to the computers
There were two kinds of users
who never made errors
1982: The Perq
Bit-mapped display
Digitizing pad and puck
8" floppies
4k words of 48-bit microcode memory
256 kB, 1MB or 2 MB of 64-bit-wide RAM
12 or 24 MB, 14-inch Shugart SA-4000-series hard disk
1981: Release of the IBM PC
The PC User interface
MS-Dos + applications
Management level
NO IT manager
1980: APU
Medical Research Council's Applied Psychology Unit, Cambridge
including Thomas Green
1980: UCSD Pascal
1980: PDP 11/23
Unix (Version 7)
User interface
(Bourne) Shell
1970s ?
‘Because it’s so simple to operate, you
can hire the operators on looks alone’
1979-80: PDP 11/34
1977: Burroughs B6700
User interface: CANDE
Command AND Edit
written from scratch
to be used by a secretary
User interface: graphics
1976: CTL Modular One
paper tape

First programming course
Users / Stakeholders
Batch mode
processor cycles were precious
1975: ICL 4130/1900
User interface input: punched cards
User interface input: card punch
User interface: pigeon holes
User interface input: card hopper
User interface: the computer operator
User interface output: lineprinter
James Martin, 1973 'Design of Man-Computer Dialogues'
'The terminal or console operator, instead of being a peripheral consideration, will become the tail that wags the whole dog… The computer industry will be forced to become increasingly concerned with the usage of people, rather than the computer’s intestines.'
early 1970s
Programming option in 6th form
Coding sheet
Data entry operator
Brian Shackel founded HuSAT: Human Sciences and Advanced Technology Centre, Loughborough
Xerox founded the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC)
Andreae, J. H., Cashin, P. M.
'A Learning Machine with Monologue'
Reason, James T.
'Motion Sickness - Some Theoretical Considerations'
Dolan, F. T.
'The Role of the Information Scientist'
Mellberg, Kjell
'Some Swedish Experience in the Development of Interactive Computer Systems'
Macdonald-Ross, Michael,
'Programmed Learning - A Decade of Development'
Hill, David R.
'An ESOTerIC Approach to Some Problems in Automatic Speech Recognition'
1969: International Journal of Man Machine Studies (IJMMS)
1994: renamed International Journal of Human-Computer Studies (IJHCS)
1943: Colossus
1946: Eniac
1949: Manchester Mark I, Edsac
1951: Leo
Pre-history: 1940-1970
Manchester Mark 1/MU5 user interface
Colossus user interface
who isn’t?
Assuming Moore’s Law has applied since 1943
If Colossus is 1cm

Today’s computer
All the way to the sun
Of course there have been other developments, but sheer computing power underpins them all.
Mobile phones
Mobile computers
Embedded (invisible) computers
…but we still have interfaces which are too hard to use
...which is what the speakers in this module will be addressing
The York Model
Think about:
when did you first use a computer?
when was your first use of a computer that was important to you?
when did it occur to you that someone had designed the interface between you and the computer?
What this module is mostly about
Start of mobility...?
Full transcript