Thursday, March 30

Revealed: evolution of the graphical user interface that changed the world

This week is the 30th anniversary of the founding of Apple Computer. It's appropriate to recognise that if it weren't for the operating system revolution brought about by Bill Atkinson and Andy Hertzfield for the Apple Lisa and later, the Apple Macintosh, we'd probably be typing function-key combinations on a keyboard, looking at one document at a time, and generally be headed towards a repetitive-stress-injury-induced extinction event right about now.

C:Net has some great scans from Hertzfield's polaroids of early development versions of the Apple Lisa operating system as they gradually nailed so many of the UI conventions we use today.

Why is it important? I believe without it, we'd all still be using a text interface much like DOS today. Microsoft cared so little about interface design that it took them years to realise it was important to develop a windowed, mouse-driven interface, and even then, even with Apple to copy from, it took them three attempts to get even close to usability.

C:Net's got a lot of fluffy coverage today about the anniversary, but the photos are stunning. Bill and Andy changed the world as much - or more than - Jobs and Woz did. You see their UI conventions in everything from mobile phones to TVs to air traffic control systems today.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,

Buy content through ScooptWords