User Interface Innovations

In November 1999, MIT’s Technology Review published an article about the ten most important interfaces between man and technology.

  1. Loudspeaker
  2. Touch-Tone Telephone
  3. Steering Wheel
  4. Magnetic-Stripe Card
  5. Traffic Light
  6. Remote Control
  7. Cathode Ray Tube
  8. Liquid Crystal Display
  9. Mouse/Graphical User Interface
  10. Barcode Scanner

This is an interesting collection of some of the most important human-machine interfaces. The interfaces range from input devices, i.e., the steering wheel and the mouse, to output devices, i.e., CRTs and LCDs. There are a number of technologies that are so ubquitious that I was not thinking of them as human-machine interfaces. The Touch-Tone Telephone is an interesting example. The article talks about AT&T’s research into keypad layout and design. It reminded me that telephone numbers are a result of the system, not a human construct. Things change.