A History of HCI in 15 Papers

“How would you describe HCI in just research papers – and indeed, could you do this as a teachable unit?”

Paris Observatory Astrolabe

Paris Observatory Astrolabe

Inspired by the recent A History of the World in 100 Objects, it’s a simple idea, describe the last two million years of world history by focusing on 100 objects created in the time period from all over the world. Here’s one you may like:

“The astrolabe was highly developed in the Islamic world by 800 and was introduced to Europe from Islamic Spain (Andalusia) in the early 12th century. It was the most popular astronomical instrument until about 1650, when it was replaced by more specialised and accurate instruments. Astrolabes are still appreciated for their unique capabilities and their value for astronomy education. It tells us that between the 7th and 12th centuries, when religion dominated European culture, Muslim educational institutions led the way. As the results of their progressive education reached the West through Muslim works covering everything from medicine to history they helped encourage the revival of learning in Europe.”

It made me think – how would I describe HCI in just research papers – and indeed, could you do this as a teachable unit. Not sure about this last part until my new HCI unit comes online in a year – but let me make a stab at the 15 papers. I’ll be revisiting this page to update links to them once I’ve written my reviews and you can look at all of these under the ‘History of HCI‘ tag. You’ll find that my papers probably reflect my very ego-centric view of the area – but why not add your 15 as a comment, it would be good to compare!

OK on to the list – here we go in chronological order:

  1. 1945, As We May Think, V. Bush.
  2. 1953, Some Experiments on the Recognition of Speech, with One and with Two Ears, Cherry EC.
  3. 1954, The Information Capacity of the Human Motor System in Controlling the Amplitude of Movement, Fitts PM.
  4. 1956, The Magical Number Seven Plus or Minus Two: Some Limits On Our Capacity for Processing Information, Miller GA.
  5. 1960, Man-Computer Symbiosis, Licklider JCR.
  6. 1962, Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework, Engelbart DC (1968 OnLine system).
  7. 1963, Sketchpad: A Man-Machine Graphical Communication System, Sutherland IE.
  8. 1976, Computer science as empirical inquiry: symbols and search, Newell A and Simon HA
  9. 1978, Evaluation of mouse, rate-controlled isometric joystick, step keys, and text keys for text selection on a CRT, Card, SK.
  10. 1981, Literary Machines, Nelson TH.
  11. 1982, Designing the Star User Interface, Smith, DC,  Harslem EF, Irby CH, Kimball RB, and Verplank WL.
  12. 1987, Why a diagram is (sometimes) worth ten thousand words, Larkin J and Simon HA.
  13. 1994, The World-Wide Web, Berners-Lee T, Cailliau R et al.
  14. 1996, Voice loops as cooperative aids in space shuttle mission control, Watts JC, Woods DD et al.
  15. 1997, Looking for a humane interface: will computers ever become easy to use? Raskin J.

And now for my Bonus paper (cheating? no never….), well right upto date:

OK so that’s my 15 plus a bonus paper! bringing us right upto date. Why not any between 2000 and 2010 though – well I was super impressed with Dix 2010 even though it isn’t strictly a research paper – but I’d be struggling to find technical work or visionary positions which will have similar impacts to those that I believe my 15 had.  However, the ‘card’ isn’t ‘laminated’, I may change my mind in the future – I’d hope!

7 thoughts on “A History of HCI in 15 Papers

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