What Do IT-People Know About the (Nordic) History of Computers and User Interfaces? A Preliminary Survey

Anker Helms Jørgensen

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This paper reports a preliminary, empirical exploration of what IT-people know about the history of computers and user interfaces.  The principal motivation for the study is that the younger generations such as students in IT seem to know very little about these topics.  The study employed a free association method administered as email.  Eight students and four researchers participated, between 26-34 and 48-64 years of age, respectively.  Responses totaled 222 and we analyzed and categorized them.  First, the Nordic touch was extremely limited.  Secondly, the knowledge of both students and researchers seems heavily based on personal experience so that the researchers know much more about the earlier days of computing and interfaces.  Thirdly, there is a tendency amongst the students to conceptualize the history of computers in interface features and concepts.  Hence, the interface seems to become the designation or even the icon for the computer.  In other words, one of the key focal points in the area of human-computer interaction: to make the computer as such invisible seems to have been successful
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHistory of Nordic Computing 2
Number of pages7
PublisherSpringer Publishing Company
Publication date2009
ISBN (Print)978-3-642-03756-6
Publication statusPublished - 2009
EventHistory of Nordic Computing 2 - Tampere, Finland
Duration: 21 Aug 200723 Aug 2007


ConferenceHistory of Nordic Computing 2
SeriesIFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology

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