Grudin, J. (1990) The Computer Reaches Out: The Historical Continuity of Interface Design

Already in 1990 Grudin analyzed and visioned the shifts in HCI research. Grudin focused¬†on user interfaces and defined 5 main ¬†areas of user interface research: 1) hardware interface, 2) programming as interface, 3) terminal as interface, 4) dialogue between user and system, 5) social or work settings. The research around user interfaces started from the hardware interface and evolved to programming and to terminal user interfaces (this is when the ‘end users’ came in and human factors truly started) and then to dialogue between user and system (cognitive science tradition of HCI). The next step according to Grudin was about to be social or work settings where groups of users would be using information systems collaboratively. Grudin ended to be right in his analysis. The last two decades have been about social context and collaboration. Interesting follow-up questions is what is the next step? Is/was social media still about social context and settings? Did UX bring something new to interfaces? Should we try to shift to another area or to finnish what was started earlier (the work in e.g. user-system dialogue is still not even nearly covering all important topics)?

Jonathan Grudin. 1990. The computer reaches out: the historical continuity of interface design. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems: Empowering people (CHI ’90), Jane Carrasco Chew and John Whiteside (Eds.). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 261-268. DOI=10.1145/97243.97284