Essential Interaction Design Essays and Articles 1943–2018

Dan Saffer
4 min readMar 27, 2019

[This is an ongoing work in progress. Please tell me what I’m missing, particularly in the years 2000–2019 and especially more contributions from women and people of color, who are woefully underrepresented on this list currently.]

In chronological order

Abraham Maslow, A Theory of Human Motivation (1943)

Vannevar Bush, As We May Think (1945)

Claude Shannon, A Mathematical Theory of Communication (1948)

William Hick, On the rate of gain of information (1952)

Ray Hyman, Stimulus information as a determinant of reaction time (1953)

Norbert Wiener, The Machine as Threat and Promise (1953)

Paul Fitts, The information capacity of the human motor system in controlling the amplitude of movement (1954)

Erving Goffman, On Face-work: An Analysis of Ritual Elements of Social Interaction (1955)

George Miller, The magical number seven, plus or minus two: Some limits on our capacity for processing information (1956)

Brian Shackle, Ergonomics for a Computer (1959)

J.C.R. Licklider, Man-Computer Symbiosis (1960)

Doug Engelbart, Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework (1962)

Ivan Sutherland, SketchPad: A Man-Machine Graphical Communication System (1963)

J.C. Shaw, JOSS: A Designer’s View of an Experimental On-line Computing System (1964)

Donald F. Walker, How The Computer Can Help The Designer (1964)

Buckminster Fuller, City of the Future (1968)

J.C.R. Licklider and Robert Taylor, The Computer as Communication Device (1968)

Robert Miller, Response time in man-computer conversational transactions (1968)

Masahiro Mori, The Uncanny Valley (1970)

Stuart Brand, SPACEWAR: Fanatic Life and Symbolic Death Among the Computer Bums (1972)

Horst Rittel and Melvin Webber, Dilemmas in a General Theory of Planning (1973)

J.J. Gibson, Affordances and Behavior (1975)

Alan Kay, Personal Computing (1975)

Allen Newell and Herbert Simon, Computer Science as Empirical Inquiry: Symbols and Search (1976)

Alan Kay, Microelectronics and the Personal Computer (1977)

John M. Carroll and John C. Thomas, Metaphor and the Cognitive Representation of Computing Systems (1980)

Bill Verplank, Designing the Star User Interface (1982)

Ben Shneiderman, Direct Manipulation: A Step Beyond Programming Languages (1983)

John D. Gould and Clayton Lewis, Designing for Usability: Key Principles and What Designers Think (1985)

Lucy Suchman, Plans and Situated Actions (1985)

Alan Kay, Predicting the Future (1989)

Thomas Erickson, Working with Interface Metaphors (1990)

Mitch Kapor, A Software Design Manifesto (1990)

Mark Weiser, The Computer for the 21st Century (1991)

Richard Buchanan, Wicked Problems in Design Thinking (1992)

Rich Gold, How smart does your bed have to be, before you are afraid to go to sleep at night? (1994)

Jef Raskin, Intuitive Equals Familiar (1994)

Alan Cooper, The Myth of Metaphor (1995)

Masaaki Kurosu and Kaori Kashimura, Apparent Usability vs. Inherent Usability: Experimental analysis on the determinants of the apparent usability (1995)

Eugene Volokh, Cheap Speech and What It Will Do (1995)

Mark Weiser and John Seely Brown, Designing Calm Technology (1995)

Lauralee Alben, At the Heart of Interaction Design (1996)

Don Gentner and Jakob Nielsen, The Anti-Mac User Interface (1996)

Bonnie Nardi, Activity Theory and Human-Computer Interaction (1996)

Jared Spool, Bridging Conceptual Gaps (1996)

Stephanie Houde and Charles Hill, What Do Prototypes Prototype? (1997)

Donella H. Meadows, Leverage Points: Places to Intervene in a System (1997)

Paul Dourish, Embodied Interaction (1999)

Brian Eno, The Revenge of the Intuitive (1999)

Mary Jo Davidson, Laura Dove, and Julie Weltz, Mental Models and Usability (1999)

Chris Pacione, Making Meaning (2000)

Richard Buchanan, Good Design in the Digital Age (2000)

Scott Berkun, Strategies of Influence for Interaction Designers (2001)

Robert Reimann, So You Want to Be an Interaction Designer (2001)

Victoria Bellotti, Maribeth Back, W. Keith Edwards, Rebecca E. Grinter, Austin Henderson, and Cristina Lopes, Making Sense of Sensing Systems (2002)

Don Norman, Emotion and Design: Attractive Things Work Better (2002)

Stephan Wensveen, Kees Overbeeke, and Tom Djajadiningrat, But How, Donald, Tell Us How?: On the creation of meaning in interaction design through feedforward and inherent feedback (2002)

Cynthia Breazeal, Emotion and Sociable Humanoid Robots (2003)

Bill Buxton, Performance by Design: The Role of Design in Software Product Development (2003)

Michael Nielsen, Moritz Störring, Thomas B. Moeslund, and Erik Granum, A Procedure For Developing Intuitive And Ergonomic Gesture Interfaces For Man-Machine Interaction (2003)

Scott Berkun, The Myth of Discoverability (2003)

Daniel Fallman, Design-oriented Human-Computer Interaction (2003)

Andrei Herasimchuk, Please Make Me Think!: Are high-tech usability priorities backwards? (2004)

Gary Rivlin, The Tug of the Newfangled Slot Machines (2004)

Barry Schwartz, The Tyranny of Choice (2004)

Dan Hill, Insanely Great, Or Just Good Enough? (2004)

Jodi Forlizzi and Katja Battarbee, Understanding Experience in Interactive Systems (2004)

Paul Dourish, What We Talk About When We Talk About Context (2004)

Sherry Turkle, How Computers Change The Way We Think (2004)

Jared Spool, What Makes a Design Seem Intuitive? (2005)

Julian Bleecker, Why Things Matter (2006)

Batya Friedman, Peter H. Kahn, Jr., and Alan Borning, Value Sensitive Design and Information Systems (2006)

Scott Klemmer, Björn Hartmann, and Leila Takayama, How Bodies Matter: Five Themes for Interaction Design (2006)

Paul Atkinson, The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men: The Computer Mouse in the History of Computing (2007)

Eli Blevis, Sustainable Interaction Design: invention & disposal, renewal & reuse (2007)

Anne Galloway, Seams and scars, Or Where to look when assessing collaborative work (2007)

Don Norman, Simplicity is Highly Overrated (2007)

Bill Buxton, The Long Nose of Innovation (2008)

Aaron Powers, What Robotics Can Learn from HCI (2008)

Don Norman, Technology First, Needs Last (2009)

Jon Kolko, Our Misguided Focus on Brand and User Experience (2009)

Jonas Löwgren, Toward an Articulation of Interaction Esthetics (2009)

Cennydd Bowles, The Perils of Persuasion (2010)

Matt Jones, BASAAP (2010)

Bret Victor, A Brief Rant on The Future of Interaction Design (2011)

Matt Jones, Gardens and Zoos, (2012)

Golden Krishna, The best interface is no interface (2012)

Aaron Walter, Emotional Interface Design (2012)

Timo Arnall, No to NoUI (2013)

Nick Foster, The Future Mundane (2013)

Scott Jensen, Home Automation is an EasyHard Problem (2013)

Bruce Tognazzini, First Principles of Interaction Design (Revised and Expanded) (2014)

Jonathan Libov, Futures of Text (2015)

Dan Saffer, The Myth of Invisible Design (2015)

Ian Bogost, Why a Toaster is a Design Triumph (2017)

Regina Rini, Creating robots capable of moral reasoning is like parenting (2017)

Josh Lovejoy, The UX of AI (2018)