Professor Ben Shneiderman, a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Maryland and a world leader in the visualisation of big data sets, was this week awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Pretoria’s Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology.
Prof Shneiderman is one of the most influential human-computer interaction researchers in the world. His 1986 list of Eight Golden Rules of Interface Design is still frequently taught in human-computer interaction courses. His book, Designing the User Interface, now in its 6th edition (2016), has been translated into eight languages, and is used worldwide in human-computer interaction courses.
His work contributed to a large degree to graphical user interfaces that we still currently use on our computers and mobile devices. He was instrumental in developing the selectable link of the World Wide Web, and the small touchscreen keyboards that we use on our smartphones and other devices.
Prof Shneiderman was listed among the top 1000 creative people in the USA in the book, 1000: Richard Wurman’s Who’s Really Who (2002). He was elected to the prestigious US National Academy of Engineering in recognition of his pioneering contributions to human-computer interaction and information visualisation. He is also a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a Fellow of the Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers, a Fellow of the Association for Computing, and the National Academy of Inventors.
He has made significant contributions with regard to the analysis and presentation of large health data sets, including the Starfield and Treemaps. His research projects include EventFlow to explore temporal event sequences, such as electronic health records that contain patient histories, in order to discover patterns of treatments or medications that lead to desired outcomes.
Prof Shneiderman recently published The New ABCs of Research: Achieving Breakthrough Collaborations (2016). This book examines how to conduct collaborative research ventures to solve the “wicked” problems of the 21st century.
The book, Rock the Research: Your Guidebook for Accelerating Campus Discovery and Innovation (2018) provides strategies to redirect research to make revolutionary advances in communication, healthcare, transportation, business and government, which will improve the lives of people.
His work is rooted in a deep passion for using computers to improve the quality of our lives.