Remembering Bill Moggridge 1943-2012

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This week the world lost one of its true design pioneers and most sincere human beings.

Bill Moggridge was the true embodiment of design and contributed to its advancement more than almost any other designer of his time.

Bill not only invented the term “Interaction Design”, but he was also the inventor of the GRiD Compass, the first laptop computer. He was the co-founder of IDEO, which today is still the most influential design firm in the world.

Now let’s forget for a moment that Bill invented the laptop, (which most of you are probably reading this on) or that he invented Interaction Design (which most of you are using your laptops for). The real reason the readers of this blog should remember Bill is that he saw everything through the lens of design.

Bill was able to solve real problems no matter what field, product, website, country, or culture. He saw opportunity, injustices, unnecessary hardship, beauty, and he saw solutions and designs for them all because he thought like a designer.

I remember seeing Bill in one of my favorite films, Objectified. He smiled nearly the entire time he was being filmed. He was giddy as he described a simple scoop in the Compass that he designed to keep a pencil from falling into the back of the laptop when you closed it, something no one would ever see. You could see the admiration of design in his face when he fired up a fifty year old truck in his front yard.

He appreciated everything that was designed well, but most importantly, he always felt like it could be better.

Bill was playful, child-like, intuitive, a professional, and a true innovator. His greatest asset was his true sense of empathy. He could think and act as if he was the person he was designing for and he had a sense of other people that made him seem like a mind reader.

Bill Moggridge

Bill Moggridge invented the term “Interaction Design” and created the first laptop, but his greatest contribution was teaching us to think like designers.

I think it’s very important not to see this as another passing memoir but as an opportunity to take a lesson from one of the best all around designers we’ve ever had. We shouldn’t remember Bill today and forget him tomorrow. We should understand what made him a great designer (and great person) and internalize it. We should see this as an admiration and an opportunity for a turning point in our lives.

Remembering Bill can be a moment in time where we dedicate ourselves to a life of design and honor him with our work as one of the greatest design influences of our time.

Thank you Bill.

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