Ben Shneiderman's Contributions

Professional Contributions

  • Leader in developing the fields of HCI and Information Visualization, promoting new designs and rigorous evaluation.
  • Ben Shneiderman and Bill Curtis initiated the Conference on Human Factors in Computer Systems. Work began in 1981 within the Software Psychology Society leading to the March 15-17, 1982 conference in Gaithersburg, MD at what was then the National Bureau of Standards.
  • Founded UM Human-Computer Interaction Lab in 1983.
  • General chair for conferences: Computers and Society, ACM Policy98, ACM Conference on Universal Usability 2000 & 2003, ACM Conference on Creativity & Cognition 2007.
  • More than 200 conference keynote talks, 30-50 public talks per year.
  • Editorial board member for 16 journals, and book series with 21 books.

Research contributions

Early work on database reorganization, physical file structures, indexing algorithms, and performance optimization. Subsequent work with graduate students led to many important software tools that influenced future research:

Educational contributions

Design innovations

Commercial impact

  • Developed key ideas with Christopher Ahlberg leading to commercial success, Spotfire.
  • Board of Directors for Spotfire (1997-2002).
  • Treemap concept has hundreds of commercial implementations, web sites and is a feature in Excel since 2014.
  • Technical Advisor for ILOG (acquired by IBM), Smartmoney, Hive Group, Centrifuge Systems.
  • Consultant for IBM, Apple, Microsoft, Intel, GE, etc.
  • Legal expert witness for Apple, Microsoft, Nokia, etc.


  • Ben Shneiderman's Encounters with HCI Pioneers A Personal Photo Journal is a website and a book featuring photos and descriptions of 60 key people in HCI.
  • Larger collection of 12,000 professional photos called MyLifePix.