Maureen Stone:
Color Research for Digital Practices

Written by Erin Malone

Maureen Stone spent the first part of her career at Xerox PARC inventing and experimenting with transparent interface elements, snap-to-grid, interactive walls and color research for video displays and visual information. She received her BS in Computer Engineering and an MS in Electrical Engineering in 1976 from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where she began working with computer graphics and was a part of the PLATO project. PLATO (Programmed Logic for Automatic Teaching Operations) was an early computer-assisted instructional system and ran across a series of networked mainframe computers. The system was built at the university and ran through the 1980s.

Researchers from Xerox PARC came to the university in 1972 and toured the system, experiencing the painting and communications programs. Many of the technologies from PLATO were adopted into the Xerox Star system when they returned and later into the Apple systems. Stone began working with PARC as a programmer before she finished her master’s and then once she graduated, moved to PARC where she was a Principal Scientist for the next twenty years. While at PARC, she worked with teams exploring transparent user interface elements, general concepts around elements snapping to nearby objects—a technique we take for granted now in almost every drawing program, as well as conducting research into digital color and high-resolution video displays.

Stone is most well-known for color research and her work defining processes and best practices for monitor calibration in relation to final printed images. She has written extensively about color research specific to digital displays and given workshops to help designers and engineers understand principles of color in displays, models for color blindness, how to work with color (color management) across systems and how to use computational models to manipulate color and its use in user-interfaces. In 2003 she published A Field Guide to Digital Color—a comprehensive overview of color topics related to computer graphics solidifying her place as an early leader in the field of color management for digital printing.

She moved to the data visualization company, Tableau, in 2005 and she spent 17 years at the company, helping people see and understand data through the strategic use of color and gestalt principles. Her work has involved color coding data for enhanced meaning and teaching the company’s User Experience Design teams about strategic use of color for aiding in the understanding of data. She retired in 2022.

Maureen Stone Bibliography

  • Albers Szafir, Danielle, Maureen Stone, and Michael Gleicher. “Adapting Color Difference for Design.” In Color and Imaging Conference, Vol. 2014, 2014.

  • Bartram, Lyn. “The Evolution of the User Experience: Computer Graphics and Interactivity.” Association for Computing Machinery, 2022. https://doi.org/10.1145/3532718.3546978.

  • Bartram, Lyn, Abhisekh Patra, and Maureen Stone. “Affective Color in Visualization,” 1364–74. Association for Computing Machinery, 2017. https://doi.org/10.1145/3025453.3026041.

  • Baudelaire, Patrick, and Maureen Stone. “Techniques for Interactive Raster Graphics,” 314–20. Association for Computing Machinery, 1980. https://doi.org/10.1145/800250.807510.

  • Beach, Richard, and Maureen Stone. “Graphical Style towards High Quality Illustrations,” 127–35. Association for Computing Machinery, 1983. https://doi.org/10.1145/800059.801141.

  • ———. “Graphical Style towards High Quality Illustrations.” SIGGRAPH Comput. Graph. 17 (1983): 127–35. https://doi.org/10.1145/964967.801141.

  • Bier, Eric A, and Maureen C Stone. “Snap-Dragging,” 233–40. Association for Computing Machinery, 1986. https://doi.org/10.1145/15922.15912.

  • Bier, Eric A, Maureen C Stone, Ken Fishkin, William Buxton, and Thomas Baudel. “A Taxonomy of See-through Tools,” 358–64. Association for Computing Machinery, 1994. https://doi.org/10.1145/191666.191786.

  • Bier, Eric A, Maureen C Stone, Ken Pier, William Buxton, and Tony D DeRose. “Toolglass and Magic Lenses: The See-through Interface,” 73–80. Association for Computing Machinery, 1993. https://doi.org/10.1145/166117.166126.

  • C, Stone M, and L Bartram. “Whisper, Don’t Scream: Grids and Transparency.” IEEE Transactions on Visualization & Computer Graphics 17 (2011): 1444–58. https://doi.org/10.1109/TVCG.2010.237.

  • Guimbretière, François, Maureen Stone, and Terry Winograd. “Fluid Interaction with High-Resolution Wall-Size Displays,” 21–30. Association for Computing Machinery, 2001. https://doi.org/10.1145/502348.502353.

  • Johanson, Brad, Greg Hutchins, Terry Winograd, and Maureen Stone. “PointRight: Experience with Flexible Input Redirection in Interactive Workspaces,” 227–34. Association for Computing Machinery, 2002. https://doi.org/10.1145/571985.572019.

  • research.tableau.com. “Maureen Stone.” Tableau Research. Accessed September 2022. https://research.tableau.com/user/maureen-stone.

  • Plaisant, Catherine, and Nat DeMenthon. “Historical CHI Video Project - List of Videos.” www.cs.umd.edu, 2020. http://www.cs.umd.edu/hcil/chivideoslist/index.shtml.

  • Stone, M. “In Color Perception, Size Matters.” IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications 32 (2012): 8–13. https://doi.org/10.1109/MCG.2012.37.

  • Stone, Maureen C. “Color in Information Display Principles, Perception, and Models,” 21. Association for Computing Machinery, 2004. https://doi.org/10.1145/1103900.1103921.

  • Stone, Maureen C, William B Cowan, and John C Beatty. “Color Gamut Mapping and the Printing of Digital Color Images.” ACM Trans. Graph. 7 (1988): 249–92. https://doi.org/10.1145/46165.48045.

  • Stone, Maureen C, Ken Fishkin, and Eric A Bier. “The Movable Filter as a User Interface Tool,” 306–12. Association for Computing Machinery, 1994. https://doi.org/10.1145/191666.191774.

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Cover to A Field Guide to Digital Color by Maureen Stone

Selected Stories

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