In Memoriam: Bill Moggridge

If you’re reading this post on a laptop, you have Bill Moggridge to thank for it. In fact, if you work in the field of design, you also owe a lot to him. Bill Moggridge, the designer of the first laptop computer, co-founder of the innovative firm IDEO and director of the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, died on Saturday in San Francisco. The cause was cancer. From The New York Times obituary:

In his book “Designing Interactions” (2006), Mr. Moggridge wrote: “I had the experience of a lifetime developing a design that was innovative in so many ways. I developed the way that the screen was hinged to fold down over the keyboard for carrying. This geometry accounted for only one of the 43 innovative features in the utility patent that we were awarded.

“Most of these innovations are taken for granted today, but they were new at the time …”

Mr. Moggridge would later say that when he tested the prototype in 1981 it was the first time he had used a computer, and that it was the software, not the box, that captivated him. It opened his mind to the idea that for the rising digital era, design could be more than merely creating beautiful, utilitarian objects but could also be about the user’s experience. “I realized,” he said in an interview recorded to accompany “Design Interactions,” “I would have to learn to design the interactive technology instead of just the physical object.”

 

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