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University of Maryland Human–Computer Interaction Lab

The HCIL logo in cake form

The Human–Computer Interaction Lab (HCIL) at the University of Maryland, College Park is one of the oldest and longest running HCI labs in the world.[citation needed] Founded in 1983 by Ben Shneiderman, HCIL designs, implements, and evaluates new computer interface technologies, and develops user interfaces and design methods. Primary activities include collaborative research, publication and the sponsorship of open houses, workshops and symposia.

The HCIL is an interdisciplinary lab with faculty and students from Information Studies, Computer Science, Education, English, Business, and Psychology. Current[when?] work includes new approaches to information visualization, interfaces for digital libraries, multimedia resources for learning communities, and zooming user interface (ZUIs). HCIL pioneered[citation needed] technology design methods with and for children, mobile and pen-based computing, and instruments for evaluating user interface technologies. Its projects are showcased at the annual Human-Computer Interaction Lab Symposium.[1]

As of 2018, the lab is directed by Niklas Elmqvist.[2] Its previous directors are Ben Shneiderman (1983-2000), Ben Bederson (2000-2006), Allison Druin (2006–2011), Jen Golbeck (2011-2015), Mona Leigh Guha (interim director 2015), and June Ahn[3] (2015-2016).[4]


Early research contributions were on hypertext and hyperlinking. HCIL researchers developed high-precision touchscreen applications, including small keyboards that are now widely used on smartphones. Early information visualization research on dynamic queries led to the commercial Spotfire product and the treemapping strategies.[citation needed]

Later contributions included research on designing technology for children, network analysis and visualization using NodeXL, and event analytics[5] for electronic patient histories.

Collaborators and membersEdit

HCIL collaborates with other departments, centers and labs on campus. It hosts academic and industrial visitors, and works closely with project sponsors.[6]

Notable current and former membersEdit