UX may seem new, but it’s not.
For over 120 years. the field has evolved and has had many names:
- human performance (HP)
- human factors engineering (HFE)
- human-computer interactions (HCI)
- user-centered design (UCD)
- human-centered design (HCD)
Fredrick W. Taylor, a mechanical engineer, designed custom tools to improve usability and increase steel workers’ productivity.
Frank and Lillian Gilbreth, industrial engineers, observed workers’ repetitive motions to design techniques to do things in fewer steps.
Lillian Gilbreth improve the design of kitchen appliances with woman in mind.
Alphonse Chapanis, PhD, a psychologist evaluated airplane cockpits, after several runway crashes were blamed on “pilot error.”
Controls were easily confused because of their proximity and similar shape, so he redesigned them to be distinguishable by touch alone.
John E. Karlin, an industrial psychologist, conducted user research on people’s ability to memorize 7 digits, which led to the US’s telephone numbering system changing from exchange names to all-numeric (ANC).
Paul Fitts, a psychologist, developed the predictive model, “Fitts Law.“
George Miller, a cognitive psychologist, proposed the cognitive law, “The magical number 7, plus or minus two.”
Michael Scriven documented formative and summative evaluation methods, which are now used in UX research.
Ericson and Simon published a paper about Think Aloud Method which is used in usability testing.
Alphonse Chapanis, et al suggested that observing 5-6 users will reveal most problems in a usability test.
The first HCI conference was sponsored by Human Factors Society and the Assoc, for Computing Machinery (ACM).
Carnegie Mellon and Xerox PARC published the seminal book, “The Psychology of Human Computer Interaction.”
Ben Shneiderman, a computer scientist, published the design principles, “8 Golden Rules of Interface Design.”
Psychologist Don Norman, PhD, who coined the term User Experience (UX) in 1993, published the book, “The Design of Everyday Things.”
Jacob Nielsen, PhD, published “10 Usability Heuristics for User Interface Design.”
A Group of architects, product designers, engineers and environmental design researchers compiled the “Principles of Universal Design.”
Usability become an international standard (ISO 9241 pt 11) defined as the degree of a system’s “efficiency, effectiveness & satisfaction.”
Section 508 standards were published in the US, requiring public-facing government websites to have accessible content. It now now references WCAG standards.
UK’s Commissions for Architecture and Built Environment create a set of inclusive design principles.
There are many other people and achievements that have contributed to what we now call UX.