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This paper describes some of the influences contributing to and issues in dealing with the evolution of user interface guidelines over time. In particular, we focus on the evolution of IBM's user interface architecture, the Common User Access™ (CUA™) interface, over a period of six years. Discussed are the key architectural and design elements of the CUA Workplace Model, the fundamental shifts in computer-human interaction that have occurred since the first publication of the guidelines in 1987, and how user interface design, operating systems, and tools have interacted in the evolution of the guidelines. The information should help designers of user interfaces and developers of useirn terface guidelines to appreciate some of the factors involved in the long-term evolution of a user interface style. The paper provides an introduction to the most recent evolutionary step in the CUA style (the Workplace Model) to help the reader place these factors in perspective relative to the degree of evolutionary change.
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