Please note: This site's design is only visible in a graphical browser that supports Web standards, but its content is accessible to any browser or Internet device. To see this site as it was designed please upgrade to a Web standards compliant browser.
Signal vs. Noise

Our book:
Defensive Design for the Web: How To Improve Error Messages, Help, Forms, and Other Crisis Points
Available Now ($16.99)

Most Popular (last 15 days)
Looking for old posts?
37signals Mailing List

Subscribe to our free newsletter and receive updates on 37signals' latest projects, research, announcements, and more (about one email per month).

37signals Services
XML version (full posts)
Get Firefox!

Unsung Heroes of Interface Design

03 Jun 2003 by LukeW

Though you’ll find Amazon’s UI praised in nearly every Web design book, it’s quite rare that you hear about the designers behind the scenes making it happen. Who’s behind exemplary interface design?

Here’s one: Colleen Bushell. Colleen designed the original interface for the Mosaic browser. Home, back, and forward: key components of the browsing metaphor. Navigator, Explorer and the rest of today’s browsers are just bloated versions of that elegant solution to moving through information. She also came up with the spinning globe you know see in the upper right hand corner of your browser- letting users know something was happening as they waited for pages to download.

Colleen worked with Edward Tufte on the redesign on the severe storm modeling visualization that graces the cover of his book, Visual Explanations. She wrote Design Requirements for Hypermedia in 1995, a seminal piece which presented new media design guidelines based on principles from scientific visualization, cartography, and book design. These include: provide an overview that communicates both qualitative and quantitative information, provide a sense of context, show several representations of the information space, provide a method to directly interact with the representations in order to move through the space.

Colleen is still active and I have had the pleasure of working with her on many interesting projects.

So how bout it: anyone out there doing great stuff on the “down-low”?

15 comments so far (Post a Comment)

03 Jun 2003 | Scrivs said...

I don't know about anyone doing stuff on the down low, but I do know that if Luke keeps on posting at the rate he is, he will run out of ideas by mid-June ;)

03 Jun 2003 | fajalar said...

I'd say Bob Bailey and Sanjay Koyani with their work at for contributing to the research on usability issues.

As well as continuously pushing people to show their supporting research, do supporting research, and question supporting research.

03 Jun 2003 | Scorched said...

mostly offtopic rant: Amazon may have a splendid gui for searching and finding books, but what they did to CDNOW is a tragic crime. They discarded one of the most elegant and usable store designs of all time, and replaced it with their Amazon style, and it's become an unusable mess. It became hard to find artists, other works by them, compilation albums, and has caused me to take all of my shopping elsewhere.

06 Jun 2003 | alisha said...

I enjoyed the link - thanks Luke. Don´t have any unsung heros of the top of my head tho.

08 Jun 2003 | Brian Cho said...

ditto about CDNOW

07 Jan 2004 | klingeltoene handylogos said...

Very useful comments - good to read

08 Jan 2004 | logos said...

Many knowledges I have found here I would come back

08 Jan 2004 | mortgages said...

I am surprised - interesting comments

09 Jan 2004 | gambling said...

You know, being yourself needs strong person.

10 Jan 2004 | diet pills said...

Hi, I wrote to many themes, but this is realy interresting.

12 Jan 2004 | handylogos said...

Honour on your head for this work

12 Jan 2004 | loans said...

Veni vidi vici that is your way

12 Jan 2004 | spiele said...

Nice blog I am glad to see

27 Nov 2004 | lindsay lohan nude said...

lindsay lohan nude

10 Jan 2005 | slot car what said...

slot car what

Comments on this post are closed

Back to Top ^