Scenarios of Future User-Interface Design

Aaron Marcus
Aaron Marcus and Associates

Seminar on People, Computers, and Design
Stanford University October 1, 1999

After a brief look at the last 30,000 years of civilization in which human beings have made tools and signs, I shall present some themes of likely development for user-interface and information-visualization design in the next decades of computer hardware and software. Among other scenarios I shall explore are the emergence of style, of she-c's in addition to he-c's, the growing importance of cultural diversity, and consequent new metaphors and new hieroglyphics, giving rise to "fabulous" new appearance and interaction paradigms.

Aaron Marcus, born in Omaha, Nebraska, USA, in 1943, received a BA in physics from Princeton (1965) and a BFA and MFA in graphic design from Yale Art School (1968). He is an internationally recognized authority on designing user interfaces and information visualization. He co-authored Human Factors and Typography for More Readable Programs (1990) and The Cross-GUI Handbook for Multiplatform User Interface Design (1994), and he authored Graphic Design for Electronic Documents and User Interfaces (1992), all published by Addison Wesley Longman.

Mr. Marcus was the world¹s first professional graphic designer to work in computer graphics (1967), to program a desktop publishing system (for the AT&T Picturephone, 1969-71), to design virtual realities (1971-73), to establish a computer-based graphic design firm (1982), and to receive the NCGA Industry Achievement Award for his contributions to computer graphics (1992). As President of Aaron Marcus and Associates, Inc., Emeryville, CA, he and his staff work with Fortune 500 companies and start-ups as planners, consultants, designers, and programmers.
Mr. Marcus programmed/designed his first user interface in 1969 and wrote his first user interface design guidelines document in 1981. In the last 15 years, he and his staff have designed or helped to design at least 300 user interfaces for productivity tools, multimedia/CBT applications, and the Internet.


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