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Which clippings match 'Computer Mouse' keyword pg.1 of 1
22 AUGUST 2013

Insanely Great Macintosh: Steve Jobs' 1984 Macintosh Introduction

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CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
04 JULY 2013

Pioneering 1968 demo of experimental computer technologies

"On December 9, 1968, Douglas C. Engelbart and the group of 17 researchers working with him in the Augmentation Research Center at Stanford Research Institute in Menlo Park, CA, presented a 90–minute live public demonstration of the online system, NLS, they had been working on since 1962. The public presentation was a session of the Fall Joint Computer Conference held at the Convention Center in San Francisco, and it was attended by about 1,000 computer professionals. This was the public debut of the computer mouse. But the mouse was only one of many innovations demonstrated that day, including hypertext, object addressing and dynamic file linking, as well as shared–screen collaboration involving two persons at different sites communicating over a network with audio and video interface."

(Stanford University Libraries)

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1960s1968Augmentation Research Center at SRIBerkeley (University of California)computer historycomputer mousecomputer networksdemoDouglas Engelbart • Fall Joint Computer Conference • HCIhierarchical visualisation • human communication • human-computer interactionhyperlinkhypertexthypertext systeminformation spaces • information structures • information systems • interactive computing • keyboardlinking • multimedia demonstration • networked computer system • networked telecommunications systems • NLS • oN-Line System (NLS) • pioneeringpioneering technologySan Francisco • Stanford Research Institute • Stanford Universitytechnology pioneerUC Berkeley • video teleconferencing • videoconferencingvisionary ideaswindows metaphor • word processing • word processor • workstation

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
29 APRIL 2013

The idiomatic paradigm of user interface design

"This third method of user interface design solves the problems of both of the previous two. I call it idiomatic because it is based on the way we learn and use idioms, or figures of speech, like 'beat around the bush' or 'cool.' They are easily understood but not in the same way metaphors are. There is no bush and nobody is beating anything. We understand the idiom because we have learned it and because it is distinctive. Pretty simple, huh? This is where the human mind is really outstanding, mastering learning and remembering idioms very easily without having to depend on comparing them to known situations or understanding how they work. It has to, because most idioms don't have any metaphoric meaning at all. Most of the controls on a GUI interface are idioms. Splitters, winders, comboboxes and scrollbars are things we learn idiomatically rather than intuit metaphorically.

We tend to think that learning is hard because of the conditioning we have from the technology paradigm. Those old user interfaces were very hard to learn because you also had to understand how they worked. Most of what we know we learn without understanding; things like faces, social interactions, attitudes, the arrangement of rooms and furniture in our houses and offices. We don't 'understand' why someone's face is composed the way it is, but we 'know' their face. We recognize it because we have looked at it and memorized it, and it wasn't that difficult.

The familiar mouse is not metaphoric of anything but rather is learned idiomatically. That scene in Star Trek IV where Scotty returns to twentieth–century Earth and tries to speak into a mouse is one of the few parts of that movie that is not fiction. There is nothing about the mouse that indicates its purpose or use, nor is it comparable to anything else in our experience, so learning it is not intuitive. However, learning to point at things with a mouse is incredibly easy. Someone probably spent all of three seconds showing it to you your first time, and you mastered it from that instant on. We don't know or care how mice work and yet we can operate them just fine. That is idiomatic learning.

The key observation about idioms is that although they must be learned, good ones only need to be learned once. It is quite easy to learn idioms like 'cool' or 'politically correct' or 'kick the bucket' or 'the lights are on but nobody's home' or 'in a pickle' or 'inside the beltway' or 'take the red–eye' or 'grunge.' The human mind is capable of picking up an idiom like one of the above from a single hearing. It is similarly easy to learn idioms like checkboxes, radiobuttons, pushbuttons, close boxes, pulldown menus, buttcons, tabs, comboboxes, keyboards, mice and pens.

This idea of taking a simple action or symbol and imbuing it with meaning is familiar to marketing professionals. Synthesizing idioms is the essence of product branding, whereby a company takes a product or company name and imbues it with a desired meaning. Tylenol is a meaningless word, an idiom, but the McNeil company has spent millions to make you associate that word with safe, simple, trustworthy pain relief. Of course, idioms are visual, too. The golden arches of MacDonalds, the three diamonds of Mitsubishi, the five interlocking rings of the Olympics, even Microsoft's flying window are non–metaphoric idioms that are instantly recognizable and imbued with common meaning.

Ironically, much of the familiar GUI baggage often thought to be metaphoric is actually idiomatic. Such artifacts as window close boxes, resizable windows, infinitely nested file folders and clicking and dragging are non–metaphoric operations–they have no parallel in the real world. They derive their strength only from their easy idiomatic learnability."

(Alan Cooper, 1995)

Alan Cooper (1995). "The Myth of Metaphor", Visual Basic Programmer's Journal.

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TAGS

1995 • click and drag • cognitive map • combo box • computer mouseconceptual modelfigure of speechgraphical user interfaceGUI • hard to learn • human-computer interactionidiom • idiomatic • idiomatic learnability • idiomatic learning • idioms • imbued with meaning • interface designinterface metaphor • known situations • learned behaviour • learning and remembering • meaning making • nested file structure • no parallel in the real world • non-metaphoric idioms • non-metaphoric operationsn • pulldown menu • pushbutton • radiobutton • resizable window • scrollbar • synthesizing idioms • tabbed browsing • technology paradigm • user interface design • user interfaces • widget

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
15 DECEMBER 2010

The World of 100: Our Global Village

"If the world were a village of 100 people, what would its composition be? This set of 20 posters is built on statistics about the spread of population around the world under various classifications. The numbers are turned into graphics to give another sense a touch – Look, this is the world we are living in."

(Toby Ng, 2009)

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2009 • access to clean water • access to computers • access to education • access to electricity • age demographics • air quality • banana • birth and deathcigarettecloud • comparative data • computer mousecountry and comparative datacrocodile • cultural privilege • datademographicsdifferent strata of societyenergyfoodgender • gender symbol • global populationgraphic communicationHIV • ideogram • infographicsinformation designkangaroolightbulbliteracy • living in fear • match flamemoney • mortarboard • personal freedompictorial statisticspig • pinwheel • pizza • plastic windmill • population statisticsposter design • privilege • religion • ribbon • sexual orientationskin coloursocial commentary • social conscience • social consciousnesssocial inequality • social privilege • social statisticssocial stratificationstatistical informationstatistics • sun glasses • The World of 100 • Toby Ng • villagevisual communicationvisualisation • wind wheel • windmill • windmill spinner • world information • world population • worm • zebra

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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