Re-thinking the Pen-on-Display User Interface

Steven Utt, Former UI Designer, Momenta Corp.

Seminar on People, Computers, and Design
Stanford University April 14, 1993


In the Late 1980's, pen-based computing promised to be the "next wave" in user interface design. Many companies were launched to catch this wave, but none have been successful to date. What advantages and disadvantages does the pen *really* bring to computing? What is important in the hardware interface? Which considerations are "red-herrings?" Are symbol gestures the best way to control pen machines? Is the "Pen really the Point?" Steve will chronicle the process of UI design at Momenta Corporation and discuss some of the lessons learned about pen-on-display computing.


Mr. Utt has been designing pen based computer systems since 1979 while suffering through organic chemistry as a Stanford electrical engineering undergrad. In 1987 he founded NewCAD partners to build a 4 lb. portable pen machine with new UI and handwriting recognition software which he sold to Momenta Corporation in 1989. Steve served as the User Interface designer and Technical Evangelist for Momenta until its demise in August 1992. He is currently working with other Momenta software designers in a new company to develop applications for pen based communication devices.


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