I took a leave of absence from NYU/ITP in 1989 (six months after getting tenure) to work with the Apple Advance Technology Human Interface Group. This team was managed by S. Joy Mountford, an exceptional manager and design visionary. Joy was intent on driving her team to develop new interface experiences ranging from a “Finder” what would be like with sonic cues to new forms of media.
Dynamic Documents and QuickTime
Having just published a book and software (The Active Eye) on the academic topic of motion and space perception, I came to Apple sensitive the importance of information-the-flow — a term coined by J.J. Gibson in his famous treatise on The Senses Considered as Perceptual Systems. So I formed the Dynamic Documents project whose original team members included Jonathan Cohen (lead engineer), Yin Yin Wong (interaction and visual design) and Joe Rosen (intern engineer). In the ensuing six months, the team developed a powerful combination of “smoke and mirrors” prototypes as well as actual working applications illustrating the power of time-based media at the level of system software. Here’s a clip from a movie about the Dynamic Documents Project.