Bill Moggridge 1943-2012

Bill Moggridge passed away last Saturday. Bill was a pioneer in the field of interaction design — the designer of first laptop computer, a founder of IDEO, and, most recently, the director of the Cooper-Hewitt museum.

Bill was a designer who understood that design wasn’t just about the thing. And it wasn’t just about what was on the screen. Instead, it was how people used the technology and what they did with it. He brought a humanity to the way in which we think of design and technology.

Regrettably I only got to know Bill in the past year or so. When I was thinking of moving to New York, he generously took the time to talk with me and give career advice on moving to the city. And in the couple time I saw him since then he was always a pleasure to be with — kind, interested in what I was up to, and excited about his new work.

The New York Times has a great collection of tributes to him. And the Cooper-Hewitt put together a beautiful video highlighting his work and influence in the design world:

His books Designing Interactions and Designing Media are must-haves for any designer, and their websites are full of video interviews. I love this description from John Maeda about Bill’s process:

Most people who are fans of Bill’s book on interaction design would be surprised to learn that all the videos for it were shot by Bill himself. When he interviewed me for the book, I asked him where his video crew was. He said: “It’s me. And I’m also the audio person and the makeup person. So can you please lean forward so I can work on the shine on your forehead with my makeup kit?”

His approach, influence and joy will be missed.

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