Historical Perspectives

From CS160 Spring 2013
Jump to: navigation, search

Contents

Readings

Brad A. Myers. "A Brief History of Human Computer Interaction Technology." ACM interactions. Vol. 5, no. 2, March, 1998. pp. 44-54.

Reading Responses

Brian Chang - 4/13/2013 15:11:21

I didn't use the computer too much until I was around 8. At that time My computer was running on Windows 98 and soon to be upgraded to Windows ME. Our family's computer at that time had most of the basic UI features of using a mouse and moving windows. I don't think it had direct manipulation, at least not on our computer. Our computer could handle most of the types of applications although I mainly just used the drawing programs, text editing applications and games. I think many modern day computers can handle the "up-and-coming areas" if desired, but my computer at the time of course could not. Most of them had already started being/existed in research though.

Lauren Fratamico - 4/14/2013 14:03:24

The first computer I used regularly was a Windows 95/98? machine that I only used for games - this was in the mid to late 90s. It had a mouse similar to what we use today. From what I remember, it had all the basic ui aspects that we expect today but just in clunkier forms. It supported multiple windows open at a time that you could drag, had a similar start menu as windows 7. Screen resolution was not as good, so things were not displayed as nicely. Applications did not have tabs (like we use in internet browsers now). The manipulation of individual windows was poorer (eg, in Windows 7, you can drag your window to the top, left, or right side of the screen and it will automatically fill some portion of the screen (whole, left half, right half, respectively). With a mac today, you can click on the green + button on a window and it will decide what area of the screen to fill up to be most efficient. There were also poor multitouch features with a touchpad (eg, all the touchpad gestures available on a mac were not available on that computer). Looking through Myers' list, it appears that many of these were in active research at the time, but the extent we use them to today was not available at the time. For example, the video games I played on it were very basic, but definitely an improvement from when they first were created in 1969, and they continue to be improved today. It seems that many of the gesture recognition and computer supported cooperative work research had also been in swing for 10+ years at the time, but it was not something used in commercial computers at the time, and definitely was not available int eh computer I was using. Similarly, though research has been in progress in those areas for 10+ years, they were not in the form then that they are in now. In summary, it seems that many of the features I mentioned that were lacking in my first computer were being actively researched but at the time were not as advanced as they are now in computers we use (even in research labs).

Colin Chang - 4/14/2013 17:33:47

Think back to the first computer you used regularly. Describe the user interface and the applications available on the computer at that time. What important user interfaces aspects and applications that we use today were missing in your first computer? Compare your list to Myers' history of user interfaces: did these aspects already exist in research (but not in consumer computers), or were they invented later?

My first computer was a Windows 95 Machine. Many of the windowing features on current OS's existed then too (e.g. desktop, windows etc.). One that I'd really miss going back to Windows 95 (besides obvious processor/memory/resolution related downgrades) is the lack of a gesture trackpad. According to the article, gesture recognition was first implemented in 1963 (well before the operating system's release), though that was with pen gestures. Likely, though I'm uncertain, Buxton's research in 1980 had a more direct impact on trackpads and similar devices. If such is the case (that Buxton's research impacted trackpads directly) then it is likely (that is, if Buxton was working with touch gestures) that touch gestures existed in reseach but not commercially.


Alice Huynh - 4/15/2013 15:21:43

My very first computer was a desktop PC running Windows 95. It looks pretty much like the Windows XP user interface now, but a lot less sleek and less modern. Everything in the Windows 95 interface was square shaped with a simple color scheme.

Some of the popular applications that I used a lot were CD games and Netscape for Internet browsing. My favorite application was “Mavis Beacon Typing School”. This was a game that I would play almost every day to help me shape my typing into what it is today. To be honest, now that I think back to the “Mavis Beacon” application I have to say it was pretty impressive given how old that application is. I’d say it was pretty modern in graphic processing and the interaction between the user, keyboard, and screen were very impressive. This is an example of the “Video Game” application discussed in the reading.

Paint was available at the time as well. Paint is an example of “Computer Aided Design” described in the reading. Paint pretty much looks just the same now as it did back on my first computer. This shows that Paint had just the right amount of functionality to exist for so long without too much change. Now there are applications like Photoshop and Paint Shop Pro, which are just more advanced versions of Paint. Users today still choose to use Paint for very simple design over newer applications.

The most important user interface aspect that a lot of people use today is the multi-touch gesture recognition. From the reading, Brown stated that gesture recognition was being researched at the time. This was mainly just pen-based input, which is very different from the track pad that we have now on most PC and Apple products. Touch screens are another portion of user interface that we absolutely did not have back on my first computer.

Computer supported cooperative work for things like Google Documents is something that a lot of students use today that I didn’t have back on my first computer. Other than email, it was very hard for a user to interact with another user through the computer. Video game applications did not support interacting with other users as well. Now most video games support the ability to play “online” with other random players of the same video game.

Jeffery Butler - 4/15/2013 16:24:37

Back when I used old computers the only computers I was exposed to were Windows products. Specifically I used windows 98 and 2000. The windows 98 and 2000 were extremely simple user interfaces in juxtaposition to windows 8. There was a simple start bar at the bottom and icons spread across the screen in grainy pixelation.

The only prominent thing that was not in the windows 98 and 2000 interfaces that windows 8 has that I prefer is the rate in which you can customly search for files or applications. If you ever try and pull up an application quickly in a 98/2000 you have to traverse through the start bar and its branches until you find the correct application. Or, you have to type the name of your application of choice into the search bar which doesn't have autocorrect and takes at least 30 seconds to pull up the correct application (this really depends on how hidden the file is). However, on Windows 8 you can simply type the particular application you want into their search bar and the applicaiton will pop up as quickly as you type. Other than that, i really preferred the simple interface over the WIndows 8. I often find that the new interfaces try to fit more into less room which leads to more complexity.

The search bar for applications was not written about in the Myer's history but it was in research and current implemented at time I was using the 98/2000 interfaces. However, it wasn't implemented very efficiently. Everything ironically in the Myer's interface principles were research by both academic and coroportate and also implemented in the products on the market by the year 1998.

Some interaces features that the Myer's paper mentions that are currently in research (that I would have like to use in the windows 98/2000 interfaces) is Gesture Recognition. For some reason I like the concept of the Wii and the ability to manipulate the screen through direct manipulation of physical actions. If I could do that on a computer it would be a very awesome experience where I could break a sweat by sitting in my chair.

David Seeto - 4/16/2013 1:15:08

The first computer I used regularly was in elementary school. It ran Windows 95 and used a similar, but more simple desktop metaphor/taskbar and had the usual applications such as Paint and WordPad. Add-on programs were purchased in shrink wrap and installed onto the computer.

The story today is different however: with the advent of touch screens, the newest Windows operating system, Windows 8, allows for gestures and touch input. As an alternative to the mouse and keyboard combination, touch input has allows a shift in the applications available and the UI design such as the "Metro" start menu with tiles. In addition, with the advances in networking, applications can easily be downloaded and installed directly. Compounded with the various toolkits and wide range of programming languages available, applications today vary greatly on what they focus on and what they look like. This is extremely true about with web applications and the widespread use of custom widgets in creating applications.

Everything has seemingly been researched. From system tools to touch gestures and multimedia, researchers have already started exploring all topics before personal computers became a widely used consumer product.

Tiffany Jianto - 4/16/2013 11:14:17

The first computer I used regularly was a Windows 98 machine. The user interface and applications available were a little similar, although of course there are much better and many more applications today than there were back then. The computer did have the Microsoft Office suite, and the user interface for it today is different from it was back then and seems more organized and user-friendly; back then, I think there was floating or smaller bar for font and layout options, whereas in Microsoft Office today, everything is on a large menu bar at the top of the screen and the layout is more organized. Back then I also only used a mouse with my computer, even though I’m sure there were trackpads around; trackpads and various keyboard types (some with a scroll bar at the bottom which functions as the cursor) are also more common today. Devices with touch screens or gesture recognition (with pens) are also much more common today, and I had never used them when I was younger, but these items already existed in research then. The computers and laptops I use today have improved greatly, but I think that cellphones have shown the largest and most advancement from when I was young. Back then, I remember my mom had to use a huge device for a cellphone, and it even had an antenna; cell phones today, namely smartphones, are much more powerful than they were back then and provide so much more functionality and are much easier to use. The applications I rely so much on definitely did not exist back then. Video games are also much better now than they were back then; I remember my original Nintendo machine, and although I loved my Double Dragon and 2D Mario games, the graphics and games are much better now. According to the Myers’ history, these items also already existed in research.

Alvin Yuan - 4/16/2013 14:48:46

I think the first computer I regularly used was a Windows 95 Desktop. I used a mouse and keyboard, it had windows, text editing, a browser, spreadsheet editing, basic drawing program, etc. It lacked touch sensitivity (and gesture recognition), an integrated webcam, 3D software, cooperation tools other than email, speech processing, cloud storage, etc. Pretty much all of these existed in research at that point (some probably also existed in products but not ubiquitously, such as the webcam and touchscreen). For sure from the reading gesture recognition, 3d software, cooperation tools, and speech processing existed in research by then. From some wikipedia browsing, the rest seemed to be in some stage of research and development by that time.

Monica To - 4/16/2013 15:30:04

   The first computer that I used regularly was a computer running windows 95. I started using the computer regularly when I was about 5 years old to play educational games that my father installed. I played an old DOS game called "The Treehouse" and also the Putt Putt game series. Windows 95 had a graphical interface with icons and folders for the GUI for the file system, and direct manipulation with the mouse and keyboard input. To start up the game, we had to open up the DOS terminal and enter in a command to start the game on the command line. I had no idea what the command meant but since I played the game so often, I had memorized what to type to bring up the game.
   I think that some user interface aspects and applications that we use today that were missing from my first computer are the large array of software tools (interface builders, toolkits), multi-media capabilities, and certainly all the complex applications that we have today that weren't possible in the past because of the lack of storage and processing power. For example, in Windows 95, the most complex photo editing or drawing application was Paint (and that wasn't very complex); with the exponential increase in processing power and storage in recent years, the capabilities of our applications have also rapidly increased. Now, we have applications like the Adobe Suite and we even have advanced professional mobile drawing tools like SketchPad Pro and etc.
   I believe that multi-media and software tools definitely existed in research and not in consumer computers. Like we saw in lecture, webcamming between two remote computers and collaborative editing had already been possible since the 1960s however, has not become adopted by consumers until Skype and other services offered it for free in recent years. From the diagram shown in the reading almost all of the technology that we use today in every computer was developed and researched in universities or corporations about 30 years (give or take) before its adoption into the consumer market. 


Elizabeth Hartoog - 4/16/2013 15:31:22

When I was young, the first computer that my Dad showed me was a computer with DOS on it. Obviously, I was too young at the time to be able to use it (not exactly spectacular word skills when you're 5). He very quickly replaced it with a computer with windows 95 on it which I was able to use (which begs the question why he wasn't using 3.1).

Windows 95 was my first foray into a graphical user interface. It was a home computer which meant it had all the applications my mom and dad had installed. My dad put on an extra drawing application (paintshoppro) and he also had bought a card making application. My mother used the computer for spreadsheets and checkbook accounting, while my father used the computer for taxes. There was only internet explorer and netscape at the time as viable internet browsing applications. My parents also purchased many educational games for me.

Honestly, it's hard to remember how windows 95 was when you've used windows consistently up to windows 7. One thing I do remember was that in windows 95, there were not quick application launches. The desktop was considered where you put your "go to" applications, so there was no quick launch bar and there were no commonly used applications on the start menu. The problem with that design was that when you had applications open, they would obscure your desktop so you would need to minimize your applications to reach your shortcuts no longer making them "fast".

As far as applications that didn't exist. I can think of technologies that were limited by the internet. Anything related to streaming video or voice didn't really exist. Skype and Youtube couldn't exist because the internet couldn't handle those data speeds at the time.

Comparing what I know now to Myer's list of up and coming areas, it's funny how the first one "gesture recognition" is something that never got widely adopted until everyone started using smartphones. At the same time, he put value on things that most people would consider funny. Virtual Reality is something that is mostly focused in research as practical applications are still limited. Natural language and speech recognition has definitely improved and is extremely useful for the disabled, but has no widespread practical use. What has bloomed into many different areas is 3-D. It's used in games. It's used in applications and drawing. It's used in interfaces to make them seem more alive and pop. Also, multi-media though a very broad category is research that has allowed a lot of different applications to arise. Research in multimedia is what would allow voice and video streaming to be possible (such as dealing with buffering).

Tiffany Lee - 4/16/2013 18:39:11

The first computer I used regularly had the Windows 95 operating system on it. The user interface and the applications all had a very simple interfaces with a limited amount of options to complete tasks. For example, to find a particular application, the user had a combination of clicking on icons, scrolling, and drop down menus as controls to get to where he or she wants. Now I use a Mac and to find a particular application I can press command+spacebar and then directly type in the application name to find the application I want. This aspect was not on the Myers' history of user interface.

Nowadays applications, if need be, can easily integrate audio, text, video, and images; note taking applications is one example. However, the applications I used on that first computer often only included text and sometimes images such as Microsoft Word. Multi-Media was part of Myers' list; it was listed as part of the "Up-and-Coming Areas" where research has been done on it but it had not appeared much in consumer products yet at the time.

When using a mouse, one of the main functions I use is the scroll button in between the right and left button to scroll easily. The first computer I used had a rectangular mouse with only three buttons. To scroll I had to click on the arrows in the scroll bar; this took a lot of time and was more difficult to execute than just scrolling with the scroll button on the mouse. This specific aspect was not on Myers' list but may have already existed in research.

Annie (Eun Sun) Shin - 4/16/2013 21:37:42

The first computer I used was a laptop back when I was a little kid in South Korea before I immigrated to the United States. If I remember correctly, my dad, who worked at Samsung at the time, brought home a laptop one day when I was in preschool (1995-1996). It was running Windows 95, and I used the laptop to play games (Sonic). I remember a green/turquoise desktop background color with icons on it (My Computer, Recycle Bin, etc) that I could drag around the screen with my mouse. The start button/menu was also at the bottom left. If I remember correctly, the laptop had a very small trackpad that I did not use. The general user interface for Windows 95 was similar to what Windows 7 and computers are like today. Aesthetics are one of the major changes/improvements that came later because icons, task bars, and other UI features look more appealing now. Myers' article mentions direct manipulation of graphical objects, the mouse, windows, text editing, hyper text, and gesture recognition. By 1995, everything mentioned by Myers' history of user interfaces had been in university research, corporate research, and commercial products; therefore, the laptop I used back then had all the aspects. Although they were invented before my first time using a computer regularly, I believe that UI got significantly better with Windows XP and Mac OS X.

Winston Hsu - 4/16/2013 21:54:25

The first computer I used regularly was a Windows 95/98 system. Physically, it had a much heaver yet smaller CRT screen, and was in a desktop form factor. It lacked physical interface features like multitouch trackpads, webcam and microphone. In applications it was missing the more advanced 3d accelerated animations, and features like hover previews and dragging to the side to snap to split screen. Most of these features seemed to exist back then at least in some primitive form, but were not yet widespread.

Christina Hang - 4/16/2013 22:57:28

The first computer I used was a Windows97, and I mainly used it to go online and play games. The look of the screens and windows were very square and solid. Internet Explorer had a lot of buttons and toolbars and search bars at the top. The applications that were available for Windows 97 include Microsoft Office applications, Internet Explorer, Paint, and games like Solitaire and Pinball. Modern computers today still have programs with the same functionalities but many are more sophisticated. For instance, Adobe Illustrator is used to create pictures like Paint, but it is more enhanced in creating 3D images. Just like Internet Explorer, there are many browsers today that you can use to surf the web, but these browsers including Internet Explorer have simplified their designs to give their users an easier to use interface that's less complicated and easy to browse multiple sites. There are also touch screen computers today that allow users to directly manipulate the screen. According to Myers' paper, these applications functionalities were in existence in research long ago. In the 60's, research were already dealing with drawing programs, text editors, spreadsheets, computer aided drafting, and video games.

Timothy Wu - 4/16/2013 23:21:52

The first computer I used regularly was a PC that ran Windows 98. The user interface was a GUI interface that included many of the same types of UI elements that the more modern versions of Windows does today. There were multiple windows on the screen and you could change focus between them. There was a start menu and open windows bar at the bottom. There was a desktop with icons that you could click on to execute program shortcuts or open files. There was a file directory system that you could access by clicking on My Computer or going to the Start menu.

I would say that the most important user interface aspect that we use today that was missing in my first computer was the ready ability to connect to the Internet. Today's computers have wired networking and wireless networking built into the operating systems seamlessly, but it did not seem so with the first computer I had. The UI to access the internet was clunky and cumbersome, requiring dedicated wizards and user effort to bootstrap a connection to the Internet. Nowadays, after one configuration, your computer simply connects to the Internet seamlessly without any user effort, unless you are connecting to a public internet service.

Another thing that was less sophisticated were video games at the time. 3-D video games were still new but gradually got popular to the point where, today, most modern PC games are 3-D games. Even Operating System interfaces incorporate elements of 3-D, like for instance Windows 7's overlapping windows animation makes it look 3-D.

These aspects most definitely existed in research far before the time when I started using my first computer. The article cites that 3-D systems were already being done in 1963, funded by the Air Force. Computer video games were created in 1962 at MIT for the first time. As for network connectivity, the Internet as a technology was created in the 1960s as well, but consumer computers got basic Internet connectivity decades later. Wireless Internet has only just become ubiquitous in the past decade or so.

Cong Chen - 4/16/2013 23:26:15

The first computer that I used when I was younger was a Windows 95 computer that my parents had gotten. I used it when I needed to do simple writing assignments on a computer and also when I wanted to play games. Some important user interfere aspects that were missing in this first computer were, 3-D, virtual reality and 'augmented reality" computer supported cooperative work, and natural language and speech recognition. It had all the basic usability features like keyboard, mouse, etc, but lacked the more advanced features as the computer had multiple windows and things like that; after all, there were games I could play.

Comparing these to Myers' history of user interfaces, these aspects already did exist in research but were simply not applied to commercial computer use. After all, when we got our first computer, the computer age was just beginning so our computers were very simple; we had 2 gb of hard drive with super slow single threaded CPU's.

Brent Batas - 4/17/2013 0:13:13

The first computer I used regularly was a Toshiba Satellite laptop, in 2000. It featured MS Office (word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, …) as well as an internet browser (Internet Explorer), as well as WYSIWYG editors, like HyperStudio (like powerpoint, but no separate “presentation” mode—you edit and view in the same mode), Inspiration (a visual brainstorming/flow chart tool), and SiteStudio, (a tool for making and deploying websites). It also featured a game/art tool called The Third Dimension, which featured direct manipulation and 3D graphics (dinosaurs that you could paint, rotate, scale, etc.). It also had email (outlook) and an instant messenger (AIM).

Some UI aspects and applications that we use today that my old Toshiba laptop lacked are voice recognition and natural language processing, gesture recognition, and touch screens. Other than that, the applications I use today are much, much higher fidelity, but still use essentially the same UI elements. For instance, my computer now can render very high definition 3D graphics, do video editing, stream HD video, and so forth. These are much more powerful, but still not fundamentally that different than the programs I used back in 2000. This consistency is probably correlated with the fact that we still use the same type of mouse & keyboard input after all these years.

Technologies nowadays like GPS, gestures (like the Wii, Kinect, …), accelerometer, broadband internet, cloud computing, and so forth afford new types of applications. But still, the way in which we interact with these apps is not that different, and is hardly “new” in that it was present in university research at least 15 years ago (based on this article date).

A key conclusion I’ve made from this whole article is to recognize that the “innovators” of technology are actually different than the “inventors” of technology. The inventors are the ones who come up with the technology—often researchers, scientists, at universities. And the innovators are the ones who make it practical and useful in the environment in which we live. They are creative, too, in how they leverage inventions to give them value. But it is a mistake to claim that they themselves truly invented the technology.


Sumer Joshi - 4/17/2013 0:34:17

The first computer I remember using was an old white Macintosh computer that had a very simple user interface. The interface had an apple button at the top, and had a my computer, documents, etc. type of buttons. The UI was very plain in the sense that it was not colorful at all, but it seemed very straightforward. One important application (there are a bunch) is being able to design 3-D Software such as AutoCad. Also, Myers list covers many of the ideas that I had thought of such as Recoginition through vision or Machine Learning as aspects that have been further put in research today.

Yuliang Guan - 4/17/2013 0:41:49

The first computer I used regularly is Sony brand which adopted Windows XP system. Windows XP presented a redesigned graphical user interface (task-based GUI). The start menu and taskbar were both updated and many visual effects were added, such as a translucent blue selection rectangle in Windows Explorer, drop shadows for icon labels on the desktop, and task-based sidebars in Explorer windows. Obviously, the applications available on my first computer were lower editions comparing to the computer we use today. Based on my memory, Adobe Reader 9.2.0, Firefox, Internet Explorer 8, Microsoft Office Pro 2007, PDF Creater, etc. are available for Windows XP.

Some important user interfaces aspects and applications that we use today were missing in my first computer: The user interface we use today has a Aero desktop which is a collection of window and desktop behaviors so that it would be easier to see what is underneath other windows, but Windows XP does not have it; The Microsoft we use today push the Ribbon interface over the more familiar drop-down menu and toolbar approach to using programs; Touch Support: Windows XP does not support touch recognition, but since Windows 7, touch can replace keyboard/mouse combination; In addition, from Windows 7, desktop gadgets are available but Window XP does not have this application.

In this article, Myers talked about basic interactions, application types (such as drawing programs, text editing, spreadsheets...), and up-and-coming areas, like gesture recognition, multi-media, 3-D, etc.. With the development of technology, all aspects I have mentioned in the above paragraph have been invented in the later systems.

Timothy Ko - 4/17/2013 0:54:11

I didn’t regularly use a computer until high school. The interface, in general, wasn’t drastically different from what I use now. I still have a desktop with icons, the start button is in the lower left hand corner, and I had tabs for the multiple windows I could open up. I had an internet browser, a word processor, and multiple computer games installed on the computer.

Some important user interface aspects that we use today that were missing back then were a built in front-facing camera for video chat, and as a result there were no video chatting programs, or at least no popular ones. I can’t really remember what important applications were missing back then, but one thing I definitely remember is that almost all software was installed using shrink wrapped discs. Now we install most of our software online through downloads. Most of that falls under “Computer Supported Cooperative Work” in Myers’ article, since video chat, and even creating and downloading software, involves remote participation.


Edward Shi - 4/17/2013 1:00:59

I believe the first computer I used regularly was the Windows 98. I am not sure if alt-tabbing was already there but I definitely use that alot now. I also use tabs in my web browser. For windows, I enjoy the fact that i can drag a window to the top of the screen and maximize it immediately or drag to the side to have it fill half the screen. I enjoy being able to scroll with a swipe of mouse as opposed to having to drag the scroll bar in my first computer. Today there are many ways to bring up the calendar or show the desktop easily if there are many windows but that was not available before hand. I can also display everything I have going on quick with a swipe on my track pad that wasn't available back then. I have spaces now where I can have new windows readily available. As for the user interfaces that I didn't have I do not believe they were in Myer's list. I think they were all invented later. However, I believe the first computer I used already incorporated a lot of what Myer's list noted and they were certainly invented long before Windows 95. I definitely recognize the importance of academic research now.

Joyce Liu - 4/17/2013 1:07:07

The first computer that I used ran MS-OS. I was pretty young at the time, but it was my gateway to my beloved computer game, paint, and solitaire. I remember having to type in "cd [something something]" to get to my game and thinking that "cd" was like a compact disc—I was young and naïve—but now I know better and know that it stands for "current directory" (!!). Some important user interface aspects and applications that were missing in my first computer include gesture recognition, which is now commonly used for tablets, and computer supported cooperative work. According to Myers's article, both of these already existed research at the time I was using MS-DOS (the 90s). In 1964, Teitelman developed the first trainable gesture recognizer. At CMU in 1969, Michael Coleman developed a gesture-based text editor using proof-reading symbols. Gesture recognition was commercialized by CAD systems in the 70s and was popularized by the Apple Newton in 1992. As for Computer Supported Cooperative Work, Engelbart's 1968 demo already included this, and during the late 60s and early 70s e-mail came into fruition. As time went on, these technologies were improved and refined to progress to the sort of gesture recognition and computer supported cooperative work (such as google docs) that we have today.

Elise McCallum - 4/17/2013 1:29:34

The first computer I used regularly was a desktop PC running Windows 98. To interact with the interface, I used a regular keyboard and mouse attached to the computer. The desktop screen had a layout not too different from the Windows 7 layout I use today. On the left-hand side of the screen there were a series of icons, all of which, when clicked on launched an application. In the bottom left-hand corner of the screen, there was a start button with the Windows icon and the word Start. When clicked, it produced a menu of clickable items. In the lower right hand corner were such useful items as the time and date. The applications available on the computer at that time that I used reguarly were Internet Explorer, Microsoft Word, Windows Explorer, and some installed games ( Math Blaster, Sim Safari, etc.). For me, the biggest applications missing were bigger, better, more secure browsers (such as Google Chrome) that use Wi-fi or ethernet connections instead of dial-up. Other interface aspects that were lacking include a beefier version of Word (with the ability to save more data not just on a floppy disk), more detailed color display (beyond 256), desktop calendar applications such as iCal, visual text editors such as Eclipse (though I would not have been using it at the time). I'm also really a fan of the sticky notes application as a way to organize thoughts and ideas and thus consider it an important user interface aspect missing from my first computer. Comparing my list to Myer's history, many of the applications and aspects in my first computer were also present in research (as his research details up to 1995 and I was using my first computer in 1998). Looking at his farther term goals, I hadn't considered many of the topics listed as important parts of interfaces today (i.e. speech recognition, etc.) because I have yet to incorporate them (or what little research exists on them) into my daily computer interactions. An application I didn't have in my first computer that Myers does list is collaborative work, such as Google Docs. This is an increasingly important application for me, and it's good to see that it was already in research while I was using my first computer.

Mukul Murthy - 4/17/2013 1:32:21

The first computer I used regularly was a desktop computer running Windows 95. According to the reading, by 1995 all of the main elements listed existed in commercial computers. The main desktop was around back then, and objects such as icons could be manipulated by dragging them. The mouse was developed back then too; even though I don't remember everything, I don't believe the core mouse functionality has changed since then - it is still a pointing device with two buttons that are clicked to manipulate objects on the screen. I remember using Windows applications such as Notepad and Paint; as far as I can remember, the former hasn't changed much in my lifetime, while Paint was completely overhauled in Windows 7. Other than these simple applications, the programs I used most were Internet Explorer and games such as Ecco the Dolphin and the Jump Start games.

One of the areas that has seen the biggest improvement is gesture recognition. As a kid, I don't really remember using gestures for anything. Now, I use them all the time. Windows 8 has menus that are triggered by moving the mouse to certain parts of the screen. I use the Opera web browser, and I use mouse gestures to navigate way more frequently than keyboard shortcuts.

Another drastic improvement since the 90's is in cooperative work. Products like Google Docs (which wasn't around then) allow people to work on documents or presentations together and edit it at the same time - when I would have to do a report with others in elementary or middle school, the only two ways to achieve this collaboration was to all work on one computer or to divide the work up and email pieces back and forth, which is obviously much messier than Google Docs does it today.

In addition, all operating systems and programs are more convenient today than they were in the past. For example, the minimize, restore/fullscreen, and close buttons at the corner of every window are now bigger, which according to Fitt's law means they are easier to click. The Close button in particular is now bigger than the others, and it's hotspot includes the corner of the screen. In Windows 95, the buttons were all the same size, and sometimes not easy to click. Another improvement in Windows is the shut down option. In Windows 95, Shut down was a software shutdown; it would eventually leave you at a screen telling you to power off the computer hardware. This was way less convenient than simply hitting one button and walking away from the computer, like I do today, especially considering the fact that those computers took longer to shut down.

Sihyun Park - 4/17/2013 2:34:17

The first computer I used was back in 1997, a Windows 95 PC. Back then, Internet was just starting to become popular. People instead used a bbs system like AOL, where navigating and finding the content you wanted was drastically different from today. Instead of clicking on the navigation item with a mouse cursor, you would have to type in the symbol that represents the content that you want. (Ex. There would be an item titled [8. News] or [K. Politics] and you would have to type in 8 or K to go to that section.) I think it was the stage just between the command line user interfaces and gui system - where you would use the mouse for most activities, but for some activities you would mostly use keyboard.

A key user interface aspect that was missing was the universal support for point-and-click method using mouse. Also, video support was not very popular due to ridiculously slow Internet speed. The web, in particular, was barren mostly due to: 1. Lack of processing power and technical support (Javascript/CSS3/HTML5) for web applications 2. Slow Internet speed that prevented extensive use of images and videos. Other missing features include: voice recognition, extensive use of webcams, location API, etc.

Surprisingly many of these aspects already existed in research. For example, mouse, hypertext, multimedia, and natural language processing existed in research in 1997. However, they were mostly inadequate for consumer products due to limited processing power (for consumer computing devices) and network speeds at the time.

Kevin Liang - 4/17/2013 2:39:53

The first computer I owned was on the Windows 95 operating system. The user interface is somewhat like what we saw in Windows XP and Windows Vista, except the graphics were much worse. It seemed to have everything I use today. I used Microsoft Works, Internet Explorer, and installed some games because that was mainly the reason why I used a computer back when I was a kid. One big thing it lacked was planning tools such as a decent calendar app or even a decent web browser back then. We used internet explorer or netscape. One UI feature that is very useful now that was not available back then was gesture control. For example, there are many gestures on the apple trackpad that allows for different functionality to make maneuvering a computer much easier. I also believe there wasn't flash support on the Windows 95 either. Javascript was not very popular back then as well. Other than that, all basic functionality that I use now were available on my first computer.

Zeeshan Javed - 4/17/2013 2:59:46

The user interface and the applications on the computer that I used for the first time were very similar to the ones that I use today. Although the computer specs were significantly inferior and the internet was connected through dial up, the mouse and monitor interface was still very much prevalent. Microsoft office is an example of an application of text editing that resembles today’s function. Other applications that I used were interactive story book software games that guided the player through a Disney story. The trackpad found on my macbook pro and the ability to use multi-finger manipulation was an aspect that differs from the first laptop I used which did not have that feature implemented. The camera was not built into the first PC I used as well as speakers. According to Myers history of user interface, these aspects were in fact aspects in research, namely the trackpad function, the built in cameras, and the speakers. Xerox Parc was namely responsible for developing many of these interfaces in the early sixties.


Scott Stewart - 4/17/2013 3:03:19

The first computer that I used regularly was a Macintosh. The interface was very similar to modern computers, such as having windows, text editing, a mouse/keyboard, etc. The applications that I used were games and text editing. The main application that was missing (or possibly present but not used) was the browser. Browsers and hypertext were being used at this time, but they were not very widespread, especially compared to now, when most of my computing time is spent in a browser. The important user interface that was missing was gesture recognition. The mouse and keyboard were used, and that was the only type of input. On my laptop now, I can use the trackpad to make many different gestures, such as multi-finger swipes and clicks, that were not possible on a traditional mouse. Gesture recognition existed at this time in consumer products, but in specific circumstances, such as the CAD systems that were mentioned in the reading. With the popularity of trackpads now, as well as other products like tablets, gesture recognition has now become used much more in consumer products.

Bryan Pine - 4/17/2013 7:57:05

The first computer I used regularly ran Windows 95, which wasn't that different in terms of interface appearance from my computer today. Like my Windows system today, it had navigation through a start menu and desktop icons for quick access to commonly used applications. I don't think it had the little quicklaunch bar on the bottom-right, but that wasn't a big deal. It also ran earlier versions of many of the applications that I use today, like Microsoft Word and an internet browser with hypertext linking, etc. One important difference was the lack of built-in video camera. I am not sure if the computer could have supported video interaction if I attached an external camera; I think it probably could but I never tried. Video interaction software / hardware was definitely invented by that point according to Myers, but I don't think it was widely commercially available on any system. My first computer also did not support any kind of real-time remote editing capabilities, like google docs or a shared excel document. That also seems to have been invented (in 1968!) but just not widely commercially available. Overall though, the main differences between my first computer and my current one are differences of scale (similar classes of features, but my current computers' are faster / better / more usable).

Erika Delk - 4/17/2013 9:44:31

The first computer that I remember using regularly was huge and ran Windows 95. I remember that mice at that time didn't have a scroll wheel, so if you wanted to move a page up or down you had to click and drag the scrollbar at the side of the page. There was nothing "touch screen" about it and web browsers did not have tabs. While mulit-window/tab views were being developed in research at the time, scroll wheel mice were not.

Raymond Lin - 4/17/2013 10:03:07

I think a lot of the problems with the earlier user interfaces is that they catered to the lack of hardware support and were thus less responsive to the kinds of interfaces we deal with today. For example, booting up your PC could take a couple minutes and all the meanwhile, you'd see few logo's and thus bar that was slowly ramping up. However, I'm willing to bet at least 1 in 5 people had no idea what that bar was for but knew it only as progress bar. The lack of feed back especially when your screen turned black and you had to wait however long to see something popped up made the interface unbearable if you compare it to the kind of technologies and interfaces we deal with today.

Matthew Chang - 4/17/2013 10:22:56

The first computer I used regularly ran Windows 2000. By this time, most of the features mentioned in the reader were already in place. This includes overlapping window support, the prevalence of the mouse as an input device, ability to play basic video games and a small level of multimedia support. At the time, my main interaction with the OS was with the text editor and and some basic games that I would play from a floppy disk my family got from my aunt.

Things that were missing from that computer were gesture recognition, computer supported cooperative work and natural language and speech. For the most part, all of these technologies had already surfaced in research, they just were not polished enough to work with the existing hardware.

A particular user interface aspect that I would be interested in learning the history about is the use of tabs. I recall distinctly discovering that Opera and Firefox had a tab based interface and switching to Opera for a bit before settling on Firefox.

Aarthi Ravi - 4/17/2013 10:25:05

The first computer I operated was a Desktop with Windows 98 OS. The User Interface allowed for Direct Manipulation of visible objects on the screen using a mouse as a pointing device. Some features were clearly visible and we could increase visibility by setting shortcuts but a lot of the features were not clearly visible. Some of the applications included basic Paint tool to draw, ms office with limited features as compared to today,Internet Explorer as a browser, NotePad being the only text editor and few video games with poor visual effects.Direct manipulation through touch input, user friendly and easily comprehensible feedback, 3D visualization techniques, gesture recognition, augmented reality, collaborative editing, voice recognition, search based on search are some of the user interface aspects and applications that my first computer did not have.Gesture Recognition,CAD,Augmented Reality, Computer supported Co-operative work and speech recognition were areas of research at many universities at that time as illustrated by Meyers. Apart from touch interfaces, most of the features missing from my first computer were already being implemented as part of research at various universities.

Tananun Songdechakraiwut - 4/17/2013 10:27:25

My first computer was operated on MS-DOS and its user interface involved inputing some pre-defined standard system commands onto the command line. There was no explicit visual feedback, but only text output. Since I was very young at that time, I mainly used game application and thus didn't recall others. In particular, I played the game called 'Warcraft' on it. The game was very famous. Players used mouse to left-click on the unit to focus and right-click to move that unit to a particular 2D dimension. Also, there were shortcut keys related to focused unit and could be triggered by pressing keys on a keyboard. Note that this implied 'Direct Manipulation' of, in this case, graphical game objects already existed. Obviously, Windows were not yet available on my computer but were already in research.

Shujing Zhang - 4/17/2013 10:30:50

The first computer I used was a PC-DOS computer. DOS does not have graphical user interface, and is a line-oriented command or menu-driven operating system. We do not need mouse to control everything. The interface is very simple but not user-friendly.

Today’s computer have GUI (graphical user interface), mouse, and support networking. Today’s operating system can be multitasking. The memory of today’s computer is far more DOS.

In Myers’ list, some already exist such as direct manipulation of graphical object, mouse and windows in research, but computer aided design, HyperText, and video games were invented later.


Ben Dong - 4/17/2013 11:20:25

The first computer I used regularly had either Windows 95 or 98 installed. Many user interface aspects were quite similar to those found on Windows machines today (Windows 7 or earlier), though the graphics weren't as nice. Some core applications such as Microsoft Office were still around back then, and the only browser was Internet Explorer. Video games such as Oregon Trail were available. Floppy disks and CDs were widely used to store data.

Nowadays, we use laptops perhaps more than desktops. Many features available on laptops, such as a trackpad (especially ones with multitouch gestures) were not available back then. Touch screens and their related technologies (such as those supported by Windows 8) didn't exist, which also means that drawing applications were limited to using a mouse instead of a finger or stylus. User interface components such as a quick launch bar hadn't been added to Windows yet. Tabbed browsing didn't exist, which meant that lots of Internet Explorer windows would be open at once.

Some of these aspects may have existed in research (such as trackpads and touchscreens), but they were likely in early prototyping stages and wouldn't be made commercially viable for quite some time. Some user interface components such as tabbed browsing were introduced later by new applications (Firefox).

Yong Hoon Lee - 4/17/2013 11:28:29

The first computer I used regularly was an old Windows 95 or 97 machine (I can't remember quite exactly what it was), probably in early elementary school. This computer was fairly modern, in the sense that most of Myers's list in sections 2 and 3 were part of the system, except for a CAD program. However, it was missing quite a few features related to the interface, including things like Expose or other window management which I use regularly, launcher applications such as Spotlight or Alfred (a similar technology was "Run", but much more difficult to use), and seamless syncing with various web services including Dropbox. In essence, because the only internet connection that was present on the computer was CompuServe through a phone line, many of the standard UI features related to the internet, including the assumption that the user is always connected, as well as well-designed web browsers with integrated search bars (such as the one Chrome possesses). Current computers also have many more accessibility features, including text-to-speech built in (which I don't believe my first computer had), as well as some sort of language processing. Indeed, my first computer had most of Myers's features, as mentioned above, and of the features in section 4, it contained all of them except gesture recognition, VR/AR, and natural language processing.

Nadine Salter - 4/17/2013 11:33:42

Speaking as someone in her early 20's, I've been using computers regularly since before being able to form long-term memories, so I can't respond to this question with any level of precision. I do have fond memories of using an old Macintosh SE in the early '90s, which supported most modern UI aspects but lacked a colour display and relied on less-reliable cooperative (versus pre-emptive) multitasking.

Apple's System 6 supported Myers' basic interactions (direct manipulation of graphical objects; a mouse; multiple overlapping windows) and his core application types (MacPaint and MacWrite, which shipped with the original 1984 Macintosh, are particularly good examples). It was missing a number of applications that are now essential — especially those related to the Internet — but its core user interface aspects were reasonable analogues to every important feature we use today.

Ben Goldberg - 4/17/2013 11:38:40

The first computer I used regularly ran on Windows 95. It was very similar to Windows XP as far as I can remember, except that it was a lot less powerful and the graphics weren't as nice. Still, you had a mouse and keyboard, windows, paint, a text editor, and the like.

The only important user interface aspect that we have today for desktops that weren't around back then are the scroll wheel on mouses. Smart phones have many new UI aspects however, such as touch screens, accelerometers, and voice recognition.

It appears that direct manipulation in screens and voice recognition already existed in research labs before I was even born, so they were definitely around when Windows 95 was created. I don't believe they were in any consumer computers however. Accelerometers weren't mentioned in the reading but I would have to believe they existed well before 1990.

Glenn Sugden - 4/17/2013 12:12:42

My first computer (in the late 70's) was a Sol 20: http://www.vintage-computer.com/sol20.shtml It was a kit built by my father, and was right on the cusp of the "microcomputer revolution" (meaning that it was one of the first "personal computers"). There really was no user interface that we would consider today - it was one of those devices that really only an engineer felt comfortable around. The keyboard was functional, but felt more like an old typewriter than a modern keyboard. The display was a monitor that was fed by an RF signal, so the screen resolution was really, really low. Alphanumerics were the only "font," and "graphics" were presented in an ASCII art style. A modern (commercial) GUI was a decade off, so there were no windows, mice, buttons, menus .. anything. All of the elements discussed in the "Brief History of Human Computer Interaction Technology" were still in the research phase, and it wasn't until the next computer I used, the Apple ][, that GUI elements started showing up in the personal computer space - the joystick/paddles for a mouse, very low-res graphics, "linked text," and fledgling consumer software (word processors, spreadsheets, etc.) However, the Apple ][ then gave way to the Macintosh in 1984, where HCI truly gained prominence for the "average computer user."

kayvan najafzadeh - 4/17/2013 12:17:21

On my first computer I had a Dos OS which was basically a shell. There were no graphics and no use of mouse on the OS level, but there were some applications (mostly games) which I could have ran on that machine and they had some user interface. After a while NC came and it brought some structure to the Dos, I could use mouse and I could navigate in my file system with basic file and folder structure. I have seen the improvements in each update of windows from there on. the first thing that was missing on my Dos OS was multi processing, I couldn't run more than one application at a time, now we all use this technology and take it as granted.

Alexander Javad - 4/17/2013 12:27:41

I remember the first computer I used as a kid. It took in the large, actually "floppy" discs. I played video games on it! I remember being able to use it. I would just pop the disc in, click on an icon, and the program would launch. The visual image display of the monitor along with the use of the keyboard and mouse as inputs was intuitive for me. It was a windows system. I honestly don't know of any "large" user interface differences from then til now. There was a desktop, and icons that represented programs. I didn't have to deal with any command line interfaces... so it was fairly "direct manipulation" for that time. Nowadays though... we have touch-screens and with that comes a lot of other features such as "swiping" or "pinch-zoom". Apparently though, according to the reading, "The now ubiquitous direct manipulation interface, where visible objects on the screen are directly manipulated with a pointing device, was first demonstrated by Ivan Sutherland in Sketchpad [44], which was his 1963 MIT PhD thesis." This technology did exist when I was but a mere lad in 1994-1995! However, this kind of technology was not readily available on the market... at least for people trying to not break their wallets. It was only till later that "palm pilots" became popular.

Lishan Zhang - 4/17/2013 12:44:03

The first computer I use is MS-DOS operating system which use command line as input rather than the GUI. The user interface is so simple and we can only use keyboard to type the path of the application. There are not many interactions between human and computer. And there are only some basic applications and user can do single task at one time.

The most important user interfaces aspect is that we use Graphical user interface to allow user click the icon rather than typing the entire path in the command line. And we also have far more applications than before because the computer becomes faster and it also allows users to do multiply tasks at one time.

From Myers’ history of user interfaces, I believe we already have devices or computers for gesture recognition, multimedia, 3D and computer supported cooperated work in the market. And virtual reality and nature language and speech understanding have already existed in research but not in consumer computer.


Arvind Ramesh - 4/17/2013 12:49:59

The first computer I ever used was a Sony Vaio desktop. I probably started using it when I was around 7 or 8, and I used to mostly use it to play games on the internet. Since I really only used the internet back then, I didn't really explore the other applications on the computer. I used Internet Explorer, and sometimes Microsoft Office, when it was required for school. One thing I do remember is when we got a webcam. It was a awkward looking circular camera that we had to clip on top of the monitor. Since I only used a few aspects of my first computer, it is hard to say what aspects were missing. That said, I used a lot of things today that I highly doubt were available back then. Cloud storage is a huge one (Dropbox, Google Docs, etc.). I used the cloud all the time for group projects, something I could never have done 12 years ago. Another thing is the webcam. Since it is actually easy to use and high-quality, I use applications like Skype quite often. Yet another feature I use today that was probably not available back then is high-quality graphics software (videogames). Most of the games I played when I was a kid were 2-D and did not look very realistic. Now, with the advances in hardware and software, videogames look very close to reality.

Looking at Myers' history of user interfaces, all three of these features were either being researched, or commercially available in very poor products.

Eric Xiao - 4/17/2013 12:57:23

Windows 98 and MS-DOS were the first PC's I used. MS-DOS didn't even have a mouse, so everything had to be done by keyboard commands. There was no sense of direct manipulation or GUI or using your mouse pointer to do tasks. Windows 98 had a sense of direct manipulation with the icons, but buttons were tiny, there were lots of nested menus, and mouseover tooltips were a big thing back in the day (which are terrible because they require a lot of user interactivity and attention in your application in most cases). There were windows however, so you could switch between different applications and tasks. There were also video games and word processors.

All of these things were in research long before I got my first computer. Something that was missing is the fact that computer status was always unavailable. You never knew what was happening when it comes to what your computer was doing, and trying to recover was a huge hassle (ctrl+alt+del). There was also little to no natural language processing (besides spell check), which also existed in the lab.

Cory Chen - 4/17/2013 13:08:31

The first computer I used regularly was a Dell desktop that had Windows XP installed. The interface was quite similar to th Windows 8 machine I use now; both have a taskbar at the bottom, the same organizational method of using windows, and the menubar at the top of each window. I used applications like Microsoft Word, internet explorer, and certain video games. Many of the same applications are relevant even now. There isn't a huge difference between the UI back then and the UI I use now, almost all of the important elements are the same.

Brett Johnson - 4/17/2013 13:12:12

   The first computer that I used regularly was a Windows XP machine that I got around 2003. I mainly only used the computer to browse the internet and write school papers. Sometimes I would open up "Paint" and draw pictures, which was my first introduction to computer graphics. 
   This system had many of the features that Myers talks about (direct manipulation, multi-media, etc) because it was '03 when I started using it, but there are a few features that were missing. There was no speech recognition available on the machine (at least to my knowledge, it appears as if there may be a way to ge this on XP: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/306537). I never used the computer to do any gesture recognition (maybe a tablet would have allowed this), but I do have an Apple Newton that Myers talks about that allows gesture recognition. While my consumer PC did not perform these functions, Myers paper shows that all of the technology existed in research long before I even started using my computer. 

Zhaochen "JJ" Liu - 4/17/2013 13:19:58

'Think back to the first computer you used regularly. Describe the user interface and the applications available on the computer at that time.

When I first used Microsoft Windows 95, I always use the Paint application. The user interfaces include a drawing sheet and a tool box containing some painting tools.

What important user interfaces aspects and applications that we use today were missing in your first computer?

In fact, the user interface does not change much. Only the style of the UI has been improved to conform to nowadays aesthetics standard.

However, the user interaction has been evolved a lot. Previously the input type was basically mouse (gesture recognition) and keyboard (for entering text on the drawing shapes).

Currently, a lot of the drawing are happening directly on the ‘drawing sheet’ itself. For example, users can just use their fingers to draw a shape directly on their mobile devices such as iPad or Surface Tablet. The interaction experience was totally directly compared to using a mouse. Also, some people use a physical sketch pen for on an electronic pad.

Compare your list to Myers' history of user interfaces: did these aspects already exist in research (but not in consumer computers), or were they invented later?

Yes, the sketch pen and sketch pad was described in Myer’s paper. It was called the RAND tablet. However, the touch input method was invented later, after the paper was written.

dennis li - 4/17/2013 13:21:25

The earliest recollection of computer use as a child was with a fairly modern dell desktop. The computer already had Windows 98 so almost all the features that we would expect from a computer today, were on it. According to Myers' history of user interfaces, all of the features were commercially available long before I was even born. The first cellphone I remember using, however, is completely different, in terms of UI, and functionality as well, than the cell phones of today. My first phone was a motorola Razer. Equipped with 4 arrow keys and the number pad, the razer was a flip phone with very limited shortcut capabilities. I remember when texting was first getting popular, I didnt see how it could be an efficient means of communication. Additionally, the screen space of the Razer phone was very small and the resolution was terrible. "App"s were unheard of at the time.

Ryan Rho - 4/17/2013 13:23:28

Think back to the first computer you used regularly. Describe the user interface and the applications available on the computer at that time. What important user interfaces aspects and applications that we use today were missing in your first computer? Compare your list to Myers' history of user interfaces: did these aspects already exist in research (but not in consumer computers), or were they invented later?

The first computer I used was a desktop computer with Windows 3.1 and Windows 95. First user interface issue I remember is that lots of technical texts were displayed when the computer boots. Although that information may be useful for computer. Simplifying information seems to be invented later. To my understanding, previous applications rather tried to display information as much as possible so that the users understand what's going on.

In addition, whenever you move a window, rather than animating the window from one location to another, it displays a gray rectangle while the window is moved. I believe this is an effort not to use much resource on redrawing the window. This is not discussed in the paper.

By default, there was 'My Computer' icon that shows the hard drives or servers connected to this computer. However, it confused me because my computer is the desktop computer I'm using now. I could not understand 'my computer' as software. This is not discussed in the paper as well. My impression of the paper is that it mostly deals with graphical user interfaces rather than conceptual aspects.

Haotian Wang - 4/17/2013 13:28:04

The first computer I regularly used was a Windows 95 desktop computer. Thinking back, Windows 95 is actually very similar to the current windows version, Windows 7. However, it's very different from Windows 8, which is aimed at tablet computers. Windows 95 does not have any gesture recognition, something that is very prevalent in user interfaces of tablets today. This has revolutionized the way in which navigation is done and made some methods of navigation more obsolete (non-clicked mouse-tracking, for example). Furthermore, websites were mainly static during the time of windows 95, so navigation was significantly simpler but less aesthetically pleasing. The creation of advanced and interactive widgets (javascript, flash) made websites look much nicer and made a bunch of new navigation options possible. From Myer's history of user interfaces, both of these new user interface uses (advanced widgets, interactivity, touch gesture recognition) have been in active development since at least the 70's through university research. These systems were even sometimes deployed in industry, but apparently never widely used (since they didn't become so widely used until recently).

Avneesh Kohli - 4/17/2013 13:29:48

I first started regularly using computers a couple of years after the introduction of Windows XP. Windowing and point-and-click were of course the primary components to the user interface in those days, and they remain the extremely important today as well. The difference between my use of computers now and then is that direct manipulation has dramatically increased, particularly when it comes to input and navigation of smartphones and tablets. Direct manipulation was simply not an interface that was well-implemented and widely adopted at the time I started using computers regularly. I primarily used the computer for word processing, and on occasion a mini-flash game, and not much more than that. Over time, I rapidly increased the kinds of software I used on computers, so that now I would say I use all primary categories of software. At the time, I believe that gesture recognition was in heavy research, and was just starting to role out through palm pilots. Additionally, augmented research was likely in the beginning of its research phase, as it's only made it to the market in the last couple of years through smartphone apps.

Oulun Zhao - 4/17/2013 13:31:15

The first computer I used regularly was a windows 98. I interact with it mostly using mouse and keyboard. Another important interface was the windows. The applications I ran were mainly online 2D video games. Important user interfaces that it missed was voice recognition (voice control), gesture recognition (eg. for wii), and 3D graphics in video games.

They all existed in research and were predicted to be came into use.


yunrui zhang - 4/17/2013 13:37:41

The first computer that I used regularly is a first-generation Lenovo desktop back in the 1998's. The user interface is the windows 98's wallpaper, startup menu and internet explorer as the web-browser. There is a program called "Lenovo Home" that I regular used, which is a virtual house where you can click on things in it and start a functionality. For example, when you click on the TV in the living room, you can play DVD, and when you click the bookshelf, you can read some built-in books. There is no direct manipulation interface aspects such as drag-and-drop file transfer, recognition over recall interfaces as recently closed webpages thumbnail pages in google chrome, or virtual stickers that you can easily write and delete remainders. There aspects already exist in research, but not in consumer computers.

Linda Cai - 4/17/2013 13:42:44

The first computer I used was Windows 98, which had a start menu to find programs, as well as a desktop with icons. In general there was a graphical user interface, with mouse and keyboard input. The main applications were simple games and word processing, but there were plenty of other programs as well.

Today, we have previews of folder contents, touch input, better screen resolution, and a nicer user interface with plenty of previews and transparency. It seems like touch input (gesture recognition) was already in research, while the other aspects seem like they were not extensively at the time. Also my computer did not have speech recognition or speaking, but it turns out that it was already in research.

Thomas Yun - 4/17/2013 13:43:44

The first computer I remember using had Windows 95 or 98 I think. I don't remember much about the applications that it had but it had a similar interface to the more present OS with only graphical changes(such as start menu). Of course there was the Start->Run option in the older menus which was eventually replaced by the Search menu. Compared to Myer's list, there was a direct graphical interaction, there was mouse support (although it used trackballs back then), and there were tiled windows. I believe for application types, there was everything in the list except for Hypertext. Most of the things listed under up-and-coming weren't implemented back then. 3D was certainly there in terms of graphical use (not 3D vision) and I think there was multimedia use. For the rest, it seems like they were all under research by that time.

Kate Gorman - 4/17/2013 13:45:10

When I was a child, I remember using an old Macintosh with a graphical interface and a mouse. The applications I used most were KidPix, AOL, and Myst. On my oldest machine, I remember inserting floppy disks in order to start a program, like Kidpix.

Some items that comptuer was missing was the ability to easily resize windows, especially with the keyboard or drag interface that I uitlize now. The display was much grainier with worse resolution.

Something that I use everyday today that my computer was lacking was gesture based controls, like the trackpad on my computer. Gesture based inputs like pen input were in development but were not available in the consumer market. However, I believe the mac-like gesture based controls were invented later.

Computer supported co-op work is certainly something I use everyday, that did not exist on my computer back then. However, a google-docs like editing system was in development, but was not available in the consumer market.


Andrew Gealy - 4/17/2013 13:49:04

The first computer I used regularly was an Apple Macintosh running (I believe) OS 7.xx. I started using it around the time the article was published, so all the major technologies mentioned (aside from perhaps gesture recognition) were past the research stage and present in the product already.

The operating system was a typical visual window-based system. The applications I used most were probably CD or floppy disk based games. There was a paint application and I remember the Encarta encyclopedia being a big deal.

There were no touchscreens at the time, which is probably the biggest difference between then and now, although I still do not use a touchscreen on my current desktop computer.

Claire Tuna - 4/17/2013 13:53:09

The first computer I used regularly was a Windows Millennium Edition. The main interface tools were the mouse and keyboard. The applications I remember using most vividly are MS Paint, AOL Instant Messenger, Internet Explorer and the Oregon Trail. That computer did not have a touch screen like many devices today (smartphone, ipad, etc.) so manipulation of objects was mediated through the mouse. There was no gesture recognition beyond clicking and scrolling. You could not swipe or pinch and zoom. Voice recognition was also not a feature on this computer. Gesture recognition had did already exist in research at this time. It also existed in commercial products, according to Myers, but not the computer we owned. As far as Myers list goes, the computer did have direct manipulation (through a pointing device), the mouse, windows, hypertext, video games and text editing. I don't know if it had Computer Aided Design because I was in elementary school, so that wasn't really up my alley. One important interface aspect of editing documents today is low risk for losing them. Editors like gmail/google docs save your work every few minutes. I recall on that old computer, if you exited on accident or the computer restarted in a power outage or something, files would be lost forever. Sometimes Microsoft Word could recover them, but because the burden of saving and remembering where things were saved was placed on the user, I think much more was lost in those days. Similarly, when the computer was powered down, all applications exited without saving their state. On the laptop I use today, the machine allocates a certain amount of battery life to saving these states before shutting down so that the data is not lost.


Moshe Leon - 4/17/2013 13:58:56

In 1984 my first computer was called Spectrum (ZX) Sinclair, and it was a light powered machine, consisting of a keyboard with a built in 8-bit system, a z-80 3.5 MHz processor, and I think it had like 16kb memory. A cassette tape was used as the non-volatile storage mechanism, as well as the media player (today cd-player). I had a small 10’ 16 colors CRT monitor, which used gray over black when in command line. In other words, I had color possibility, but now real use for it. GUI, mouse, and even a proper non-volatile storage mechanism- I used a cassette tape. To load readymade programs over the cassette tape it took forever, and was slow all throughout. The mouse was already sold commercially; however, I did not have one until the late 80’s, when I got a commodore-64 computer. The programming environment was in the command line, I was using Basic. There wasn’t any Emacs, or any other visual representation of the code as a bulk. No printers either. When I compare this to Myers' list, most of the things were available by the 80’s, but were too expensive to be purchased until the early 90’s. Even the GUI as we know it was in its early stages, and only in the next computer I had the early equivalent of today’s Windows. While today most people would not even consider using this machine as a door stop, I like this machine, and I had fun using it- back then it was pretty amazing. I find it to be quite interesting that most of the technological advances start off with governmental entities financial assistance, and other big corporations which later distribute it in the market.

Harry Zhu - 4/17/2013 14:03:36

The first computer I used regularly was a desktop computer that ran Windows XP. It had most of the basic desktop features computers had today, such as keyboard/mouse interaction, direct graphic manipulation, applications for word processing and drawing programs. It did lack most of the newer features that are more prevalent today, such as touch screen interaction, 3D display, augmented reality, and voice/hearing support. Most of the unsupported features mentioned are also in Myers' list of user interfaces. All of the unsupported features (gesture recognition, 3-D, AR, and natural language) were being researched at the time, and had began decades before (1960s and 1970s).

Weishu Xu - 4/17/2013 14:05:08

The first computer I used ran Windows 95 and was primarily used for using Microsoft Office and the Internet browser, which ran on Netscape through an Earthlink dial-up connection. I used primarily a mouse and a keyboard to interact with the computer, and the mouse did not even have a scrolling tool, so I had to drag the scroll bar up and down with my cursor. There also was no webcam or microphone built in, so it would not have been possible to use any video or voice input for communication at the time. There was also no wireless connection chip, so it was impossible to compute on-the-go. Based on Myers' history of user interfaces, it seems like a lot of the multimedia functionality had existed in research at the time but was not present on consumer computers.

Christine Loh - 4/17/2013 14:12:48

I used a Livestrong HP laptop and primarily used Windows XP on it. The applications were similar to those available for Windows today, except with a more classic interface (Start button, etc). Certain user interface aspects like touch screens and windows within windows (think Gmail's new compose message system) were missing in my first computer. Also, things like Photoshop were not as complex and did not have as many varied tools. Most of these aspects had already existed in research according to Myers' history of user interfaces. However, windows within screens (Gmail's new compose message system) was not listed on Myers' history so it may have been invented later.

John Sloan - 4/17/2013 14:14:09

The first two computers I remember using as a child were the Macintosh Classic and later, the first shell shaped MacBooks. First of all, the Macintosh Classic was not even a color display yet, which limited a lot of the user interfaces. Making things look 3-D was either avoided or very challenging. Using 3-D was however already being developed in research all the way back in the 60's and 70's. Today, 3-D is used in all sorts of ways, especially within video games. For the early MacBooks, one thing that was missing was multi-touch gestures on the track pad. This is by far the most convenient part about the newer MacBooks (at least for me). I could not find much about multi-touch in the Myer reading, so this is more just an observation. I am fairly sure, the idea was invented later. A final difference is that the Macintosh Classic lacked direct manipulation of graphical objects. This wasn't really seen commercially very much until the early palm pilots and now with touch-screen phones and iPads. However, it was being developed as a light-pen-based system in research dating back to the 60's with Sketchpad. To make up for this lack of direct manipulation, the mouse was used as a substitute for the light-pen.

André Crabb - 4/17/2013 14:15:25

The first computer I can remember using was my dad's work laptop. It was this white, super think and clunky thing with an attachable trackball with mouse buttons. I don't remember if it had trackpad or not, but I know if it did, I never used it. (It also didn't have a Trackpoint nub.) The attachable trackball + buttons was the main thing I used for interacting with the computer. The interface was old Windows, way back in the day. I mainly used it for games, so I don't remember the other applications it had. Compared to Myers' list, most of her Basic Interactions and Application Types existed (as far as I can remember). Her list of Up-and-Coming areas, according to the dates listed, were invented before my time. (I was born in 1991.) However, these areas were still not as big as they are today, as these technologies can be found in many, many product today.

Minhaj khan - 4/17/2013 14:17:37

The first computer I used was a windows 98 before the year 2000. I vaguely remember the interface but remember that it was very boxy, unlike the smooth curves that were implemented in windows xp. I remember the control panel settings being very clunky, where you had to configure networks and printers manually, unlike the auto wizards implemented in win xp and after. The applications were similar to the applications present in windows 7, minus a few. They had windows media player for music and videos, Mspaint which windows 7 still has. Some applications present in win 7 but not 98 include the windows search function and the desktop widgets.

It's uncertain which aspects of UI were already present in research or were implemented later. Things such as the desktop aero search were invented later on as a feature to view the desktop. Other things such as the new search functionality was already present in research in other ways but not yet implemented as a file search feature in windows computers. There is a spectrum of apps and features on both sides of research and invention.

Sangyoon Park - 4/17/2013 14:24:17

The first computer I used was the early version of MS-DOS. At that time, I didn't even have a mouse as a input device, and of course I didn't have a windows system. Everything I could use was command input and shortcuts using keyboards. There were number of applications that allows me to have some sort of graphical user interface using blocks of lines moving around using arrow keys on the keyboard. In the article, Myers mentions about networks and hyperlinks. Even though those terms were not presented on my first computer (consumer computers), a few years later, I could buy something called 14.4kbps modem that supports internet connection through phone lines and windows 3.1 came out with those functions supported. I strongly believe that the aspects Myers mentions were already in research even before I used my first computer.

Jin Ryu - 4/17/2013 14:29:33

User interfaces and applications on the first computer: - Desktop and graphical user interface/Windows 98: The first computer was visual and graphically-oriented although limited. There was drag and drop, scrolling, and applications were displayed in icons. Personalizing options were a bit limited however (could only change background color or image). - Mouse and keyboard: A mouse with a trackball and a mouse pad was used to move a pointer on the screen. A separate keyboard from the monitor was also used to input letters. - Microsoft Office/Microsoft Word: A word processor with many useful functions from coloring text, changing size and style, alignment, some basic spell-checking, word wrap, marking page numbers and headers, etc. - MS Paint: A simple drawing program on the computer that allowed a variety of colors and tracked where to draw using the mouse. It also allowed several options such as eraser, fill paint, drawing shapes and lines, etc. - Internet Explorer: A window with an address bar that allowed user to access the internet at that time. It had options to mark websites as favorites/bookmarks and saved history. - Command Prompt (MS-DOS): If something went wrong, and there wasn't a graphical interface to fix it or allow easier access to the files, there was a prompt for basic system commands that could show files on the computer that could also manipulate them to some extent.

Some user interfaces available now that were missing on my first computer: - Trackpad and touchpad: Instead of needing a mouse, a touchpad allows the pointer to move through a motion of a single finger instead of the entire hand. It also allows a wider variety of hand movements as well that are more intuitive such as zooming in and out by pinching in and out or flipping the image by rotating two fingers on the trackpad whereas with a mouse the user would have to click and drag or use a vertical scrollbar that moves up and down to zoom in/out. This aspect was already in research with gesture recognition. - Physically lightweight and portable devices (mobile phones and laptops): The user can take a laptop or their phone anywhere, which makes the device so much more useful and convenient. The first computer was very bulky, did not have battery, and must be connected to a power outlet at all times for it to work which limited access. Laptops were already in research while mobile phones and tablets could've been invented later. - Wireless/Bluetooth: People can now use the internet without having to be connected to a wall or link data from their phones, camera, or other devices without using wires. This also increases portability and ease-of-use to connect with several devices (and other people with these devices) with the same wireless capability. Wireless capability was already in research.

Lemuel Daniel Wu - 4/17/2013 14:29:39

The first computer that I used regularly was a Windows 3.1. Because I was young, I am not acquainted with all of the technology that it had. However, I do know that it was not common in our home to use a lot of the software that we see today.

My mouse also had no scroll wheel, something that is included in almost all such hardware pieces today. It was probably being researched at the time, since I remember using a scroll wheel soon after the Windows 95 came out.

Though we had basic word editing, it lacked a lot of the features that we have in Microsoft Word, like line-wrapping for text, hyperlinks, and the abilities to copy and delete whole portions of text. We used a very simple text editor that could only manipulate and replace one letter at a time. This had to have been in research at the time, and came out with Microsoft Word for Windows 95.

I also do not remember changing windows with a taskbar, one of the things that almost all OSs use today. It was probably being researched already at the time, but did not come out until the Windows 95.


Jin Ryu - 4/17/2013 14:30:49

User interfaces and applications on the first computer: - Desktop and graphical user interface/Windows 98: The first computer was visual and graphically-oriented although limited. There was drag and drop, scrolling, and applications were displayed in icons. Personalizing options were a bit limited however (could only change background color or image). - Mouse and keyboard: A mouse with a trackball and a mouse pad was used to move a pointer on the screen. A separate keyboard from the monitor was also used to input letters. - Microsoft Office/Microsoft Word: A word processor with many useful functions from coloring text, changing size and style, alignment, some basic spell-checking, word wrap, marking page numbers and headers, etc. - MS Paint: A simple drawing program on the computer that allowed a variety of colors and tracked where to draw using the mouse. It also allowed several options such as eraser, fill paint, drawing shapes and lines, etc. - Internet Explorer: A window with an address bar that allowed user to access the internet at that time. It had options to mark websites as favorites/bookmarks and saved history. - Command Prompt (MS-DOS): If something went wrong, and there wasn't a graphical interface to fix it or allow easier access to the files, there was a prompt for basic system commands that could show files on the computer that could also manipulate them to some extent.

Some user interfaces available now that were missing on my first computer: - Trackpad and touchpad: Instead of needing a mouse, a touchpad allows the pointer to move through a motion of a single finger instead of the entire hand. It also allows a wider variety of hand movements as well that are more intuitive such as zooming in and out by pinching in and out or flipping the image by rotating two fingers on the trackpad whereas with a mouse the user would have to click and drag or use a vertical scrollbar that moves up and down to zoom in/out. This aspect was already in research with gesture recognition. - Physically lightweight and portable devices (mobile phones and laptops): The user can take a laptop or their phone anywhere, which makes the device so much more useful and convenient. The first computer was very bulky, did not have battery, and must be connected to a power outlet at all times for it to work which limited access. Laptops were already in research while smart mobile phones and tablets could've been invented later. - Wireless/Bluetooth: People can now use the internet without having to be connected to a wall or link data from their phones, camera, or other devices without using wires. This also increases portability and ease-of-use to connect with several devices (and other people with these devices) with the same wireless capability. Wireless capability was already in research.

Eric Leung - 4/17/2013 14:31:35

The first computer I used regularly was probably a Windows 98/2000 machine. One of the most commonly used UI aspect I use today is Windows 7's window snapping, where I can push a window to a side and it will automatically fill up half the screen. Having not really used a laptop until late high school, I never really noticed not having gesture movements. Though this was invented earlier, I did not have exposure to it until it had already became commonplace.

Achal Dave - 4/17/2013 14:31:36

If I remember correctly, some of the first computers I used were at my dad's office in India, back in the late 1990s. I was rather young, and these were generally DOS boxes without mice on them, so "using" them for me meant asking someone to run Prince of Persia or Aladdin on them. There were no mice, no internet(!), no webcams; many other such integral aspects were missing as well. Later computers that I actually *used* had mice and internet, but generally no video cameras, no "middle mouse scroll", and, looking back, most annoyingly, the search functionality throughout the OS was very lacking. I couldn't simply press the Windows key and start typing "Minesweeper"--I'd have to go to start, accessories (which was always filled with random folders that I had no idea about), games, and open the game.

Many of these aspects had already been developed-- for example, the mouse was definitely developed and in consumer products by the time I was alive; it had simply not been popularized and was not easily available in the country. On the other hand, gesture recognition (which was not in any of the computers I had) was under research and development. The internet existed but was not popular in the country, and many aspects were still developing in corporations/universities; commercial use in the US was yet to blow up, and it had barely started taking hold in India.

Brian Wong - 4/17/2013 14:32:04

When I was just a small kid, my parents bought a Macintosh color classic (I think it may have been "II"), the tiny boxy grey Mac. I used it fairly constantly, but the only program I really remember using is this kid's program where you can create your own "desktop". There was a display of different desktops you could choose from, and you could click one to use it as a starting point. Then you had another menu where you could customize that desktop with items such as clocks, calendars, notepads, etc. So you would see a picture of a desk with all these items on it, a few of which you could interact with. This program covers Myer's basic interactions of direct manipulation utilizing the mous within windows, and also covers drawing programs and text editing. Some user interface aspects that were missing include feedback (clicking on many areas of the desktop gave no feedback that you had pressed) and dragging and dropping from within a menu.

Derek Lau - 4/17/2013 14:33:33

The first computer that I used ran Windows 95 and most of the programs installed on it came from shrink-wrapped CD packages. One of the biggest interfaces in use today that was missing back then was the use of a touchpad and gesture recognition. Most of the interface was controlled by a mouse and keyboard, although my dad also had a pen input device as well that could take in strokes for writing Chinese characters. Another interface in use today that was missing back then is the touch screen interface, again with the control coming from mouse and keyboard, rather than direct manipulation of objects. These aspects already existed in research (and were even available in some consumer computers, but not mine) under direct manipulation of graphical objects and gesture recognition.

Alysha Jivani - 4/17/2013 14:34:02

One of the first computers that I used regularly when I was younger was my dad’s PC and it was running (I think) Windows ‘95. All of the essential features discussed at the beginning of the article (such as direct manipulation, GUIs, the mouse, and windows) were all present on the computer. I remember that MS Paint (a drawing program) and Microsoft Word (WYSIWYG text-editing) were also available on the computer, along with simple games like Minesweeper, Solitaire, and Asteroid (which was saved on a floppy disk at the time!).

Some important UI aspects and applications that we use today that were missing include webcam capabilities (such as Google Hangouts or Skype), good search engines (though I think there were early versions of search engines available), trackpads (allowing multi-touch gestures), window-viewers like “Mission Control” on MacBooks (the upward gesture that allows you to see all your windows at once), etc. It seems that a good number of these features were present in the research/development stage and just weren’t available in commercial form yet. For example, video chat was demonstrated in the Engelbart demo video that we watched on 4/15, but it just wasn’t popularized or commercialized yet. Also, touch screens and multi-touch had been in the development stage between the late 60’s and the 80s’s (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multi-touch), so most of the basic technology existed and just was not on consumer computers/devices yet.

Soo Hyoung Cheong - 4/17/2013 14:42:18

The very first computer I regularly used was from early/mid 90's in South Korea. Therefore, the cross reference to Myers' history was not fully applicable, since the computer product advancements were much slower than in America. I remember that the computer I had did not support Direct Manipulation of graphical objects, mouse, or windows. From my memory, the initial page once computer is turned on was a blue screen with file/folder list and we had to search by name of file, or use keyboard buttons to scroll through the list. According to Myers' history, these features were already available since like the 1980s, however, I think Korea was not exposed to such advanced technology yet during the early 1990s. However, I do remember that there were video games, text editing, and drawing programs available on the computer, while I do not have any memory of the rest of the application types. I specifically remember the videogames with graphics that were available on the computer. Since there was no mouse, everything was keyboard command based. Therefore, it was very difficult for me to follow and properly play those games. Also I remember that there was some capability of supporting Multi-Media.