CN23 - HCI History: Trajectories into the Future

Jonathan Grudin, Microsoft Research

Learn about the history of human-computer interaction as it has been addressed by psychologists, computer scientists, human factors engineers, information systems researchers, designers, and others. By understanding the dynamics that have brought us here, we can better understand how to position our efforts effectively. HCI has changed dramatically and will continue to change. Accurate detailed predictions aren't possible, but understanding past patterns will help us anticipate and recognize broad new developments.

This course was well-received when offered at CHI 2007. It draws on journal articles, handbook chapters, and the Timelines column I have written and edited for Interactions magazine, all of which build on the work of many others within and outside the CHI community.


  • How are different HCI fields similar and different? Why?
  • What is the relationship between technology innovation and behavior?
  • What is involved in bridging between HCI-related disciplines?
  • What major shifts of direction have occurred in human-computer interaction, and why?
  • What do the trajectories of change from past to present tell us may lie ahead?
  • The course is not primarily an engineering history, focused on who did what when, or a conceptual history, focused on what ideas emerged when. I focus on widespread shifts over time and the forces that act on large groups to produce them.

Anyone who thinks that the best preparation for where we are headed is to understand the road we have traveled.

Presentation Style:
This lecture course relies on graphics and quotations much more than bullet point slides. It will include some time for discussion, which last year proved very useful.

Instructor’s Background:
Jonathan Grudin is a Principal Researcher in the Adaptive Systems and Interaction Group at Microsoft Research where his research has for several years focused on the adoption of emerging technologies.