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 small touchscreen keyboards, now used in billions of smartphones. Shneiderman’s information visualization research served as the basis for Spotfire, a highly successful commercial product. He was an early researcher in the growing field of universal usability, which strives to provide equal access to technology for diverse populations.
His 1986 book, Designing the User Interface: Strategies for Effective Human-Computer Interaction, appeared in 6th edition in 2016. In recent years, Shneiderman has focused on improving information visualization in business, medical, and social media enterprises with projects such as treemaps, NodeXL (for network data), and EventFlow (for event sequences).
Shneiderman is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of the AAAS, ACM, IEEE, National Academy of Inventors, and SIGCHI Academy. He has received six honorary doctorates in recognition for his research.
“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
- 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)
- 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 – 1971)