The Computer History Museum had invited Ivan Sutherland to talk about Research and Fun for an evening in 2005. I was electrified to listen to his words when the recording was first published on research.sun.com – you know, we both worked at Sun those days. I even did a partial transcript of a key section where he offers the essence of what it takes being a good researcher, excerpt of the excerpt:
…if you would be a researcher it seams to me that you’d best search your soul first to find out what it is you like to do. … what ever it is make sure that you pick something to work on that you like, that you think is fun. Because if it isn’t fun you aren’t going to be very good at it. [more]
When Sun went down – this video went away. How odd that a museum depends on the fortune of a single company to preserve its assets. Hence this video was off-line for a couple of years until I offered to upload my backup version earlier this year. The Computer History Museum rejected my idea, but assured me to upload the video to the official CHM channel on YouTube. So thanks a lot to Sara Lott for republishing the talk!
Storytelling is quite en vogue. In fact telling stories is part of the human nature. Things get weird if the story is more convincing than the truth. Word of mouth spreads like wild fire to turn into facts? Is it called urban legends? Viral marketing?
For instance, do you know what happened on Easter Island? Do you know why all the trees are chopped, almost all insular are dead, and many of the famous moai statures are overthrown? These are the ingredients to make up a convincing story of a collapsing culture. Furthermore, it is warning for human kind to be careful with the limited resources on our planet.
For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong. – Henry Louis Mencken
// rebloggedvia interaction-design.org on fb So this morning I was curious about the origin of what is often referred to as the hamburger icon. Spent a few minutes digging around and found this video from the Xerox Star. Turns out that Norm Cox is who designed the interface for this system. I emailed Norm and asked who designed the hamburger icon? Here’s his response:
You’ve done your homework and found the right guy. I designed that symbol many years ago as a "container" for contextual menu choices. It would be somewhat equivalent to the context menu we use today when clicking over objects with the right mouse button. Its graphic design was meant to be very "road sign" simple, functionally memorable, and mimic the look of the resulting displayed menu list. With so few pixels to work with, it had to be very distinct, yet simple. I think we only had 16×16 pixels to render the image. (or possibly 13×13… can’t remember exactly). Interesting inside joke… we used to tell potential users that the image was an "air vent" to keep the window cool. It usually got a chuckle, and made the mark much more memorable. It’s been nice to see that so many of our designs from those early pioneering years have stood the test of time and become ubiquitous symbols in our UI’s. Feel free to share the short story. I have many more design related stories from my days at Xerox PARC during the birth of graphical UI’s, and subsequent 30+ years consulting. I think it’s important to share the past with designers today to help them understand the philosophies, constraints, considerations and inspirations that got us to where we are today. I only ask for proper attribution when you post something from me. (I like people to know that they can get in touch with me for more design tales!) Kind regards Norm