Thesis Info

Thesis Title
Aesthetics & Art in the Early Development of Human-Computer Interfaces
Nader Salha
2nd Author
3rd Author
PhD (Dr. -Ing.)
Number of Pages
University of Bremen
Thesis Supervisor
Prof. Dr. Frieder Nake
Supervisor e-mail
nake AT
Other Supervisor(s)
Dr. David Canfield Smith
Language(s) of Thesis
Department / Discipline
Computer Science
Languages Familiar to Author
English, German, Arabic
URL where full thesis can be found
Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), Aesthetics, Art, user interface, GUI, Interaction design, post-usability
Abstract: 200-500 words
Today, our culture seems to be running on software and revolves around user interfaces. Aesthetics pushed computing into the realm of human perception, cognition and pleasure. The pendulum has now swung in favor of giving aesthetics priority in the Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) field. The aesthetic aspects of graphical user interfaces (GUIs) are essential for their success, efficiency, intuitiveness and appeal. GUI design has become to a large extent a matter of aesthetics because GUIs transformed our view of computer programs into a matter of visual perception. This thesis conducts a hermeneutic approach to trace the influence of art and aesthetics within the genesis of early GUIs. Such an historical study has been neglected in the field. As art is commonly understood to be an expressive aesthetic artifact produced by skill, we have found both art and aesthetics to be influential in HCI, and they are gaining more importance as computers become pervasive in our daily life. However, a good interface like a good piece of art is hard to achieve. This research is undertaken at a time when the field of HCI is being reshaped by necessity to be an aesthetics discipline. Familiar computer concepts such as the Desktop Metaphor can no longer be taken for granted. The past might have developed differently, just as the future might develop differently. Examining the classic ground-breaking designs is one way of guarding against that. It can only result in better future interaction designs (IxD).