Portraying User Interface History

Anker Helms Jørgensen

Research output: Conference Article in Proceeding or Book/Report chapterArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


The user interface is coming of age. Papers adressing UI history have appeared in fair amounts in the last 25 years. Most of them address particular aspects such as an in­novative interface paradigm or the contribution of a visionary or a research lab. Contrasting this, papers addres­sing UI history at large have been sparse. However, a small spate of publications appeared recently, so a reasonable number of papers are available. Hence this work-in-progress paints a portrait of the current history of user interfaces at large. The paper first describes a theoretical framework recruited from history. Next the paper analyses a selected sample of papers on UI history at large. The analysis shows that the current state-of-art is featured by three aspects: Firstly internalism, in that the papers adress the tech­nologies in their own right with little con­text­ualization, secondly whiggism in that they largely address prevailing UI techno­logies, and thirdly history from above in that they focus on the great deeds of the visionaries. The paper then compares this state-of-art in UI history to the much more mature fields history of computing and history of technology. Based hereon, some speculations regarding the future of UI history are offered.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Eighth Danish Human-Computer Interaction Research Symposium, 20th November 2008
Number of pages4
PublisherAalborg Universitetsforlag
Publication date2008
Publication statusPublished - 2008
EventDanish HCI Research Symposium 2008 - Aalborg, Denmark
Duration: 20 Nov 200820 Nov 2008


ConferenceDanish HCI Research Symposium 2008

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