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"Therefore, let me argue that the actual dawn of user interface design first happened when computer designers finally noticed, not just that end users had functioning minds, but that a better understanding of how those minds worked would completely shift the paradigm of interaction. "
Researchers at Xerox PARC  

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Click to play video  Alan Kay discussing user interface

Alan Kay | Interface <1972>

In 1972, after forming the Learning Research Group at the newly founded Xerox PARC (Palo Alto Research Center), Alan Kay led what is considered the most crucial advancement of human-computer interactivity, the graphical user interface (GUI). Kay introduced the idea of iconic, graphical representations of computing functions – the folders, menus, and overlapping windows found on the desktop – based on his research into the intuitive processes of learning and creativity. Kay came to understand, as he put it, that, "doing with images makes symbols." This was the premise behind the GUI, which enabled viewers to formulate ideas in real-time by manipulating icons on the computer screen.

Computers, Kay recognized, might one day replace books. This led him to design the prototype of the first personal computer, the Dynabook. The Dynabook, was conceived as a "dynamic medium for creative thought," capable of synthesizing all media – pictures, animation, sound, and text – through the intimacy and responsiveness of the personal computer.

Kay's research took root in the conviction that hypermedia, or "dynamic media" as he called it, represented a profound departure from static media such as painting, television, photography, print publishing, and film. He saw in hypermedia the radical interactivity that would characterize communications in the future.