A Brief History of Digital Technology’s User Interface

Apr 6, 2017 | Web Development

To know your present, you must know the past.

User Interface History

When computer systems were originally built, it was necessary to memorize codes and commands (What is UI/UX), but a system is only as good an individual’s ability to operate it. For widespread adoption of digital technology into everyday lives, a change was needed.

The tide changed in 1981 with a group of computer scientists at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center and two inventions that the computing world had not seen before: a graphical user interface (GUI) and a mouse. The group worked with a trained psychologist and engineer to build the system that grabbed the attention of Apple Computer. With this innovation, Apple was able to create the first commercially successful desktop computer with point and ‘point-and-click’ usability with the 1984 release of the Macintosh. (Apple History).

In the 1990’s and early 2000’s both computers and the increasing ability to access the internet led to a number of advances to improve the way that we interact with our technology including:

  • Integration of Drop-Down Menus
  • Introduction of Widgets
  • Use of Pen Based Interfaces
  • Inclusion of Unique Icons Used for Navigation
  • Introduction of Touch Screen Interfaces

In 2007 at MacWorld, it was Apple again that was behind the next huge leap in UI adoption with the unveiling of the iPhone and thus began the app revolution. Since then, the way that we interact with our phones has changed our daily lives. Today users spend 90% of their time in apps and have changed their behaviors based on the technology in the palm of their hands. For example, 69% of people now choose to research products online before going into the store for a final evaluation and purchase. (Webrooming Blog).

The only limit now is our imagination. At Informatics, we pride ourselves in our ability to create websites with cutting edge User Interface and User Experience. To learn more visit our portfolio and contact us today to get your next project started.