Leonardo's Laptop

Human Needs and the New Computing Technologies

Shneiderman as Leonardo da Vinci

A public lecture by:

Professor Ben Shneiderman
Department Of Computer Science,
University of Maryland.

The lecture will be held at the Academy for Performing Arts, on Thursday the 27th February at 5:30pm, and is open to the public and free of charge.

If you would like to attend please notify Pauline Wilson on phone +64-7-838-4021 or by email P.Wilson@cs.waikato.ac.nz.

Tours of the Usability Laboratory are also available before and after the lecture: you can arrange these via usability@cs.waikato.ac.nz or at the lecture.


The old computing was about what computers could do; the new computing is about what people can do.

Three goals are shaping the shift from the old computing to the new computing. First, reducing computer user frustration from wasted time is vital. Recent studies with 111 participants show almost 50% of time is lost. Public pressure for change could promote design improvements and increase reliability, thereby dramatically enhancing user experiences.

Second, we can promote universal usability through interfaces that are tailorable to a wide range of hardware, software, and networks, customizable for diverse users, and designed to bridge the gap between what users know and what they need to know. The goals of device, user, and knowledge independence will be hard to achieve, but research breakthroughs could speed the process.

Third, we can envision a future in which human needs more directly shape technology evolution. Four circles of human relationships and four human activities map out the human needs for mobility, ubiquity, creativity, and community. Million-person communities will be accessible through desktop, palmtop and fingertip devices to support e-learning, e-business, e-healthcare, and e-government.

Leonardo da Vinci could help as an inspirational muse for the new computing. His example could push designers to improve quality through scientific study and more elegant visual design. Leonardo's example can guide us to the new computing, which emphasizes empowerment, creativity, and collaboration.

University of Waikato
Crest Academy of Performing Arts


Ben Shneiderman

Leonardo's Laptop

The University of Waikato HCI Group

The University of Waikato Computer Science Department

The University of Waikato

Academy of Performing Arts

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