The New Science of Universal Usability
Professor, Computer Science
Founding Director, Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory
Member, Institute for Advanced Computer Studies
University of Maryland at College Park
There is a growing awareness that new kinds of science are needed to cope with many contemporary problems. The idea of Science 2.0 shifts attention from the natural to the made world, where richly interdisciplinary problems are resistant to reductionist solutions. Science 2.0 includes topics such as environmental preservation, energy sustainability, conflict resolution, community building, and universal usability. The problems of universal usability have technical foundations, but its intensely human dimensions means that innovative solutions are needed to promote broad usage of the web, mobile technologies, and new media. The goals are to enable broad access to learning, democratic processes, health information, community services, etc. Challenging research problems emerge from addressing the needs of diverse users (novice/experts, young/old, abled/disabled, multiple languages, cross cultural) who use a wide range technologies (small/large displays, slow/fast networks, voice/text/video). In some cases, traditional controlled studies are successful (Science 1.0), but often novel case study ethnographic methods are more effective (Science 2.0).
- Shneiderman, B. Foreword. Access by Design: A Guide to Universal Usability for Web Designers. By Sarah Horton. Berkeley, CA: New Riders, 2006.
- Shneiderman, B. Universal Usability. Communications of the ACM 43, no. 5 (2000), pp. 84–91.
About Ben Shneiderman
Ben Shneiderman is a Professor in the Department of Computer Science, Founding Director (1983-2000) of the Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory, and Member of the Institute for Advanced Computer Studies at the University of Maryland at College Park. He was elected as a Fellow of the Association for Computing (ACM) in 1997 and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in 2001. He received the ACM SIGCHI Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001. Ben is the author of Software Psychology: Human Factors in Computer and Information Systems (1980) and Designing the User Interface: Strategies for Effective Human-Computer Interaction (4th ed. 2004). His recent books include Leonardo's Laptop: Human Needs and the New Computing Technologies (MIT Press) which won the IEEE book award in 2004.