University of Maryland Human–Computer Interaction Lab

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The HCIL logo in cake form

The Human–Computer Interaction Lab (HCIL) at the University of Maryland, College Park is one of the oldest and longest running HCI labs in the world. Founded in 1983 by Ben Shneiderman, HCIL members design, implement, and evaluate new interface technologies that are universally usable, useful, efficient and appealing to a broad cross-section of people. To this end, the HCIL develops advanced user interfaces and design methods. Primary activities include collaborative research, publication and the sponsorship of open houses, workshops and symposia.

The HCIL is an interdisciplinary lab with faculty and students from Information Studies, Computer Science, Education, English, Business, and Psychology. Current work includes new approaches to information visualization, interfaces for digital libraries, multimedia resources for learning communities, and zooming user interface (ZUIs). HCIL pioneered technology design methods with and for children, mobile and pen-based computing, and instruments for evaluating user interface technologies. Its many projects are showcased at the annual Human-Computer Interaction Lab Symposium.[1]

The lab is currently directed by June Ahn (2015-); its previous directors are Ben Shneiderman (1983-2000), Ben Bederson (2000-2006), Allison Druin (2006-2011), Jen Golbeck (2011-2015), and Mona Leigh Guha (interim director 2015).[2]


Early research contributions were on hypertext and hyperlinking, which helped make the World Wide Web so popular. HCIL researchers developed high-precision touchscreen applications, including small keyboards that are now widely used on smartphones. Early information visualization research on dynamic queries led to the commercial Spotfire product and the treemapping strategies.

Later contributions included research on designing technology for children, network analysis and visualization using NodeXL, and event analytics for electronic patient histories.

Collaborators and members[edit]

The HCIL is a fundamentally interdisciplinary place. In addition to members from around campus, it actively collaborates with other departments, centers and labs on campus. It regularly hosts academic and industrial visitors, and of course works closely with project sponsors.[3]

Notable current and former members[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ HCIL Symposium
  2. ^ HCIL Overview, accessed 2012-03-03.
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ [2]