Ben Shneiderman

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Ben Shneiderman
Ben Shneiderman at UNCC.jpg
Born (1947-08-21) August 21, 1947 (age 67)
New York, NY
Residence Bethesda, MD
Nationality American
Fields Computer science, human–computer interaction, information visualization social media
Institutions University of Maryland, College Park
Alma mater State University of New York at Stony Brook
Doctoral advisor Jack Heller
Doctoral students Chris North, Andrew Sears, Eser Kandogan, Adam Perer, Harry Hochheiser, Jinwook Seo, Haixia Zhao, Aleks Aris, Taowei David Wang, Krist Wongsuphasawat, John Alexis Guerra Gómez, Sureyya Tarkan, Cody Dunne
Known for Nassi–Shneiderman diagram, treemap, Information Visualization
Notable awards Member National Academy of Engineering, ACM Fellow, AAAS Fellow, IEEE Fellow, IEEE Visualization Career Award, SIGCHI LifeTime Achievement, Miles Conrad Award

Ben Shneiderman (born August 21, 1947) is an American computer scientist, and professor of computer science at the University of Maryland Human-Computer Interaction Lab at the University of Maryland, College Park. He conducted fundamental research in the field of human–computer interaction, developing new ideas, methods, and tools such as the direct manipulation interface, and his eight rules of design.[1]


He is a graduate of the Bronx High School of Science, and received a BS in Mathematics and Physics from the City College of New York in 1968, and then went on to study at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, where he received an MS in Computer Science in 1972 and graduated with a PhD in 1973.

He was inducted as a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery in 1997, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2001, a Member of the National Academy of Engineering in 2010, and an IEEE Fellow in 2012.[2]

In 2002 his book Leonardo's Laptop: Human Needs and the New Computing Technologies was Winner of an IEEE-USA Award for Distinguished Contributions Furthering Public Understanding of the Profession. He received the IEEE Visualization Career Award in 2012.

He also received Honorary Doctorates by the University of Guelph (Canada) and by the University of Castile-La Mancha (Spain). [3]


In his earlier work on studying programmers, he conducted experiments which suggested that flowcharts were not helpful for writing, understanding, or modifying computer programs. He developed the prinicples of Direct manipulation interface design in 1982, and applied this to develop the user interface for highlighted phrases in text, that became the hot link of the Web. In 1986, he published the first edition (now on its fifth edition) of his book "Designing the User Interface: Strategies for Effective Human-Computer Interaction." Included in this book is his most popular list of "Eight Golden Rules of Interface Design". It is frequently taught in courses on Human-Computer Interaction.

His major work in recent years has been on information visualization, originating the treemap concept for hierarchical data. He also developed dynamic queries sliders with multiple coordinated displays that are a key component of Spotfire, which was acquired by TIBCO in 2007. His work continued on visual analysis tools for time series data, TimeSearcher, high dimensional data, Hierarchical Clustering Explorer, and social network data, SocialAction[4] plus NodeXL. Current work deals with visualization of temporal event sequences, such as found in Electronic Health Records, in systems such as LifeLines2.[5]

In addition to his influential work in user interface design, he is known for the co-invention (together with Isaac Nassi) of the Nassi–Shneiderman diagrams, a graphical representation of the design of structured software.

He also defined the research area of universal usability to encourage greater attention to diverse users, languages, cultures, screen sizes, network speeds, and technology platforms.


Shneiderman has been criticized by others for over-promoting technology beyond its effective use, including by David F. Noble.[6] Shneiderman said of Noble's criticisms, "His fear-filled rhetoric and whipping of the boogie-monster of entrepreneurial corruption of education is misleading, shallow and even counterproductive"[7]


A selection:

  • 1980. Software Psychology: Human Factors in Computer and Information Systems; Little, Brown and Co. ISBN 0-87626-816-5
  • 1987. Designing the User Interface: Strategies for Effective Human-Computer Interaction, 1st edition. Addison-Wesley. ISBN 0-321-26978-0.'
  • 1999. Readings in Information Visualization: Using Vision to Think. With Stuart K. Card and Jock D. Mackinlay. Morgan Kaufmann. ISBN 1-55860-533-9.
  • 2002. Leonardo's Laptop: Human Needs and the New Computing Technologies; MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-69299-6.
  • 2010. Designing the User Interface: Strategies for Effective Human-Computer Interaction, 5th edition. With C. Plaisant. Addison-Wesley. ISBN 0-321-26978-0.'
  • 2011. Analyzing Social Media Networks with NodeXL: Insights from a Connected World. With D. Hansen and M. Smith. Morgan Kaufmann. ISBN 978-0-12-382229-1.


  1. ^ "Shneiderman's Eight Golden Rules of Interface Design". Retrieved 2011-09-20. 
  2. ^ 2012 Newly Elevated Fellows, IEEE, accessed 2011-12-10.
  3. ^ Doctorado Honoris Causa de Ben Shneiderman (in Spanish)
  4. ^ "SocialAction". University of Maryland. December 30, 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-30. 
  5. ^ "Lifelines2". Retrieved 2011-09-23. 
  6. ^ "David Noble's Battle to Defend the 'Sacred Space' of the Classroom". The Chronicle of Higher Education. March 31, 2000. 
  7. ^ "Technology in Education: The Fight for the Future". Educom Review. 

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