Shneiderman, Ben

Ben Shneiderman at the inaugural ESP 1986 in Arlington, VA.
Ben Shneiderman at the inaugural ESP 1986 in Arlington, VA.

Ben Shneiderman (1947 – ) has worked in HCI for nearly half a century. While still a doctoral student, Shneiderman and research partner Isaac Nassi devised a practical graphic to represent programming structure (similar to a flowchart). The Nassi-Shneiderman diagram proved so successful, it was adopted as an international standard in 1985.

His most visible work is what we know today as hyperlinks – highlighted, clickable links embedded in text and graphics.  The hyperlinks were a natural application of his theory of direct manipulation, as were the touchscreen keyboards, now widely used in smartphones.  He was an early researcher in the growing field of universal usability, which strives to provide equal representation of information to diverse populations.

His 1986 book: Designing the User Interface: Strategies for Effective Human-Computer Interaction, will appear in 6th edition in 2016. In recent years, Shneiderman has focused on improving information visualization in business, medical, and social media enterprises, leading to the commercial success of Spotfire and other projects such as treemaps, NodeXL (for network data), and EventFlow (for event sequences).

 

Ben Shneiderman speaking at the Collective Intelligence conference in Cambridge, MA, April 2012.
Ben Shneiderman speaking at the Collective Intelligence conference in Cambridge, MA in April 2012.

“I’m a bit uncomfortable to include myself in this collection, but I’d be uncomfortable leaving myself out. The photos of me were often taken by the people who were wondering why I was taking their pictures – in the days before widespread use of cellphone cameras, taking candid photos was often seen with suspicion.  My subjects wanted to take my photo, which I was happy enough to have, especially those that show me interacting with others.  So I thank all those who have contributed to my own history album.” – Ben Shneiderman


Education:

  • Ph.D. in Computer Science, SUNY Stony Brook (1973)
  • M.S. in Computer Science, SUNY Stony Brook (1972)
  • B.S. in Physics, City College of New York (1968)

Affiliations:

  • Professor (1989 – Present), Founding Director of the Human-Computer Interaction Lab (1983 – 2000), Associate Professor (1979 – 1989), Assistant Professor (1976 – 1979), University of Maryland
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science, Indiana University (1973 – 1976)
  • Instructor, Department of Computer Science, SUNY Stony Brook (1972 – 1973)
  • Instructor, Department of Data Processing, SUNY Farmingdale (1968)

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