What I’d put in an interface design museum

Here are some things from the history of interface design that I think are important or interesting. I have not tried to be comprehensive.

The Mother of All Demos

In 1968 Douglas Engelbart put together a demo based on the ideas they had about the future of interfaces. Many ideas we take for granted were in the demo. A YouTube search will find many videos of the demo.

Introduction of the iPhone’s multi-touch screen

In 2007 at MacWorld Steve Jobs showed how the first iPhone’s touch screen worked. Apple’s approach to touch interfaces set the gold standard for the billions of devices we carry around every day.

Prof. Dr. Style

This refers to the no-styling approach to web design taken by some academics. They usually have the title “Prof. Dr. Something”, hence the name. More details in this thorough article.

The evolution of the Photoshop tool palette

You can see the evolution of the Photoshop tool palette over decades near the top of this article. What I like about this is that the available tools have mostly stayed the same. This helps you to see what's changed over the years, like the visual style.

Web Design Manifesto 2012 by Jeffrey Zeldman

This article was in favour of text-focused visual design when it was a dangerous concept.

The original Apple Human Interface Guidelines

The Apple Human Interface guidelines are still around, but they’ve changed over the years. The original explained many of the decisions Apple had made so that their operating system would feel good. You can read it here.

The 37Better Project

In the early days, 37 Signals redesigned some common interfaces (e.g. online banking) to show how much better they could be. More details, and some screenshots, in this article.