Bill Moggridge Would’ve Been 70 Today: The Designer of the First Laptop on Human-Centered Design | Brain Pickings
Today is Bill Moggridge’s birthday. He would have been 70. Don’t know who he is? He’s the inventor of the first laptop, championed interaction design and co-founded IDEO among other things. In short, he’s a complete bad ass!!!
Maria Popova wrote a great article on him today which is basically a summary of an interview Bill gave for Debbie Millmans latest book, Brand Thinking and Other Noble Pursuits. I highly recommend this book to everyone!
The article takes the best of the interview and strings it together to paint a very clear picture of Bill’s philosophy and wisdom.
I’ve pulled this quote specifically because I feel it’s important to remember that we live and breath design and creativity everyday and our clients don’t. Helping them learn and understand design better will benefit everyone in the relationship and it’s something we all can do.
“I don’t think that anyone has really told them what design is. It doesn’t occur to most people that everything is designed — that every building and everything they touch in the world is designed. Even foods are designed now.
[…]… So in the process of helping people understand this, making them more aware of the fact that the world around us is something that somebody has control of, perhaps they can feel some sense of control too. That’s a nice ambition.”
Here is the audio of the interview if you don’t have the time to read the article.
John Maeda’s perspective on the debate being had around skeuomorphism (the design style used on the iPhone) versus flat design (the design style revealed for iOS 7 yesterday). Definitely worth the read. Here are two parts that stood out to me. (I added the emphasis)
“Design, like many disciplines, is about a diversity of approaches as soft solutions rather than hard truths. It’s a spectrum, not an either-or decision about whether to skeu or not to skeu.”
“For my part, I have always believed that simplicity is about doing both: subtracting the obvious, and adding the meaningful. The question, of course, is what is meaningful? — and the answer indeed depends on the cultural context and constraints of the decision being made or product being rendered.”
Finally, even though Google Glass is being received poorly, technology and specifically the hard ware is going to change radically and soon. Some day we’ll all be wondering why we lugged the laptops and phones around with us as we access the internet through our contact lens.
Here’s what Maeda has to say on the implications of future technology like a contact lens computer.
“In a hands-free, “eyes-free” interface world, this doesn’t mean removing a shadow or flattening a button. It means thinking way beyond the pattern of intensity rendered by pixels on a screen, to stop worrying about the dots-per-inch as if we cared to count the individual dots if we tried. Apple and other leaders in the design space should be thinking like the designers who are imagining a complete gesture-based operating system across an array of small and large display systems (like at Oblong). They should be playing with bytes, paper, and optics with a refined yet playful spirit of craftsmanship (like the folks at Berg).”
We all know the golden rule, treat others they way you would like to be treated and it’s variations, give back to others that have given to you. But, perhaps what we don’t know or at least keep in conscious thought is the key to the rule, be the one to make the first move.
How does this apply to creativity? Innovations and break through ideas rarely come from one mind. They are the result of the idea being pushed and pulled, questioned and reframed. It’s the result of good collaboration. And good collaboration won’t come to you if you aren’t taking the responsibility of first offering to others.