Welcome, teletext fanatics! I'll just leave this here...

Monday, 15 October 2007

Bill Atkinson

Bill Atkinson is a prominent designer and computer programmer, best known for his work on early Mac computers (original Mac system shown left). These are best known for being the first to use Graphical User Interfaces rather than code input interfaces (CLI).

Amongst his creations were MacPaint and the 'marching ants' selection tool. He was also the designer and implementer of HyperCard, a hypertext style system structured like a database of index cards for the Mac. It was used as a presentation method as well as an archiving system, and used a unique coding language that was more or less in readable English.

When Atkinson first started at Apple, he, along with his design team, were charged with creating applications for the Macintosh. Working on limited and restricted specifications (up to what computing power could handle at the time), it was suggested that these ought to be miniature metaphors, such as a calculator or a notepad, on the desktop (as with the control panel, right).

These work with restrictions a bit different to teletext. To start with, screen resolution is much larger, giving the opportunity to work with more intricate graphics. However the colour was limited to greyscale as opposed to teletext's 8-colour palette.
Above are some examples of the kind of icon he would create. The GUI layouts Atkinson would help to develop would become the industry standard, setting the benchmark for future developments, eventually used by other systems including the Windows OS.