Bill Buxton,Principal Researcher, Microsoft Research

“Without informed design, technology is farmore likely to be bad”
That is one of the prevailing philosophies of Bill Buxton, one of the pioneers in thehuman-computer interaction field. To make a product commerically viable technology alone will not be enough; you have to make the right design decisions to ensure a good usability.

For more than 30 years Bill Buxton has been a relentless advocate for innovation, design and - especially - the appropriate consideration of human values, capacity, and culture in the conception, implementation, and use of new products and technologies.

On Bill's CV you find impressive, almost legendary, workplaces such as Xerox Parc, Silicon Graphicsand now Microsoft combined with academic research. He worked as Senior Research Consultant at Xerox Parc where the computer as we know it today with graphical user interface and a mouse as a pointing device was conceived.

The mouse was invented in 1965 and it was 25 to 30 years later that it became ubiquitous and mainstream computing peripheral. This is true for a lot of technology. Bill Buxton worked on multi-touch technology back in the 1980s; a technology that is just now becoming ubiquitous. 

With Windows 7, multi-touch technology is getting into the mainstream, just as iPhone mademultitouch technology commonplace for smartphones. What people tend to forget is that these technologies have a 20 or 30 year long history of research behind them before being implemented in everyday products. ”All of these things we are seeing today, the seeds were planted 20 years ago,” said Bill Buxton in an interview with Channel9 at the beginning of this year.

Bill joined Microsoft in December 2005 as a senior researcher focusing on product design.

"My sense is that Microsoft is in transition from an engineering-led company to...a design-led company," he said at that point. "There are more designers at Microsoft on any single team as there were, not too long ago, in the entirecompany. It's a wonderful change."

His career started as a composer and performer before moving into the field of human-computerinteraction.

Bill Buxton was awarded a CHI Lifetime AchievementAward in 2008.


Bills Website:

BusinessWeek-article ”OnEngineering and Design: An Open Letter”

Multi Touch systems that I Have Known and Loved”

”Microsoft hires userinterface guru”