John M. Carroll on the History of HCI

John M. Carroll discusses the history of Human Computer Interaction on

Human-computer interaction (HCI) is an area of research and practice that emerged in the early 1980s, initially as a specialty area in computer science. HCI has expanded rapidly and steadily for three decades, attracting professionals from many other disciplines and incorporating diverse concepts and approaches. To a considerable extent, HCI now aggregates a collection of semi-distinct fields of research and practice in human-centered informatics. However, the continuing synthesis of disparate conceptions and approaches to science and practice in HCI has produced a dramatic example of how different epistemologies and paradigms can be reconciled and integrated.


Justinmind Prototyper

Justinmind Prototyper is a tool to design wireframes and run simulations for web, desktop and mobile applications. The product looks similar to Axure, and lets you define user interface elements using a drag and drop environment with component libraries, and attach actions to components. The prototypes allow you to map interactive behaviors to elements, define process logic and flow, and add functional specifications and annotations.

Looks very full featured and offers the possibility of running a web server to deploy multiple prototypes that are viewable in a browser and allow users to comment on designs. The product is priced for Enterprises, and cost is prohibitive for individuals, but may be of interest to larger companies. Trial versions are available for Windows or Mac OS.

iPhone Mockup

iPhone Mockup looks like a cool proof of concept for a sketchy mockup app for iPhone. It’s a bit like Balsamiq in spirit, but is done completely with JQuery. Firefox and Safari are the target browsers, and there is no option for doing secure mockups. Whatever you do will be visible to the world, so don’t plan on using it for anything other than playing. Nice concept though.

Thanks, Andrew.

Sideline Twitter Search App from Yahoo!

Sideline is an Adobe AIR desktop application built with the Yahoo! User Interface Library (YUI) that allows users to create and group custom queries by topics of interest, as well as view topic trends. Very nicely done. Am looking at at how the advanced search works at the moment. Looks very easy to build up an seems like it might be the perfect app for a lurker or follower who doesn’t post much.

Wireframe Sketch Book Now Available

The sketch book is finally available in the store. It’s a small 8.25 x 5.5 inch wirebound book that lays flat, has a 24 x 24 grid with note block on the front (landscape orientation) and 48 x 24 grid on the back (landscape or portrait). Includes 50 perforated sheets (100 pages) printed in non-photo blue ink, and an interior flap on the back cover. For the first set sold, I’m also including a Zebra 0.7mm mechanical pencil. Yay, you!

As you may know, I’ve been looking for a notebook with a grid that works well for a UI designer’s workflow, similar to the larger letter sized graphpaper, but made to be small and portable. I’m accustomed to doing initial sketches small and rough. The smaller sized paper lets you work more freely and loosely I find, so you can generate many ideas before selecting and refining. This sketch book is the one I’ve been using for this work.

It helps with my workflow because I now have the small format for sketches, the larger format for refinement of ideas, and the OmniGraffle templates for deliverables. Each of these has the same number of grid columns and I’m continually working to improve the consistency between them so the flow makes the translation of ideas smooth from one format to another.

I hope you enjoy using these as much as I do. They go on sale for $16 and I’ll be selling them in limited quantities for the time being. More info about the book in the store.

Litmus Browser Testing Software

Litmus is a web browser testing service that lets you test your web pages against 23 browser versions on 3 platforms as well as testing email on 16 different mail clients. The service offers a very intuitive experience for running tests, viewing the full page screenshots, and verifying compatibility.

They also just released Alkaline, a Mac app that lets you view your tests of Windows clients without going to the web site, which is shown in the screenshot above. This looks like it will be a great service for small teams or individuals. Doing my test with 2 browsers brought back screenshots within a minute or 2.

They offer flexible plans, e.g. a 1 day pass, and subscription plans that are downgraded retain screenshots of previous tests. If your pressed for time, or don’t want to fire up that VM, this looks like the service to beat.