I first meet Bill at a conference in Chicago in 1993. He gave an inspiring talk during which he spoke about how difficult it was to set his new digital wristwatch. In fact, he confessed that he had to rely on his young son to do it for him. Bill then challenged the audience to start paying the same kind of attention to the way people interact with products that was being given to shaping the objects themselves. In a time where technology-centered terms like “hypermedia” were being use to describe interactive systems, Bill characteristically shared the term “interaction design” to describe a fledgling new discipline…one which focused on shaping how we interact with products, services, systems and environments in new ways. I feel so fortunate to have come upon this new discipline at a time where Bill was leading the way forward in such a special way. His positive outlook on design, gentle demeanor, approachability and his passion for people is something I will always draw inspiration from. Thank you so much Bill for all the wonderful interactions.
I never met Bill but so enjoyed his segment within the Objectified documentary DVD. It was so obvious the delight he found on a daily basis with the world around him. Especially items like his Ettore Sottsass spoon, Japanese plastic fish and his ancient pickup truck. It seemed obvious he and David Kelly would follow a similar design path. I love to turn on my fellow design colleagues to Bill’s work, especially when opening their laptop.
submitted by Dudley Fisher
I had the pleasure of meeting Bill while I was a design student at Virginia Tech in 2006. We had the best time while he was visiting. That was special. What a guy.
submitted by Tina
Was fortunate to meet Bill in LA in 2004 while interviewing him for a part of my Fulbright thesis on the role of education in design, the d-school, the ‘new’ and much needed design education. We talked a lot about designers being built as a ‘T’ – vertical skills and horizontal communication. A bridge between disciplines. He was a gentle giant, never boasting and always on the point. Was a privilege to see him more times after he moved to the East Coast, and lastly through his ‘Design Talks’ series. Mentor, leader – thank you for your openness, and for making an impact in my life and career.
submitted by Emilian Dan Cartis
I wish I had met Bill, but it’s more than enough consolation to have come across his contribution to the world, and be changed by his ideas. I took my cue from his idea of multi-disciplinary collaboration, and brought it with me as inspiration the first time I gave a pitch at Startup Weekend. I have Bill to thank for affirming the uniqueness I share with the world.
submitted by Mai
Tonight Dad was honored at the AIGA Centennial Gala. I was honored to be there with my Mum and sing a silly song at his memory. Silly songs: one of Dad’s many hidden talents.
submitted by Alex Moggridge
He was an idealistic fighter, each section of his dramatic life requires a lifetime effort for others to achieve, but he never met, always wanted to do something for the future and this world. We have been invited to talk at the same conference at least for three times. Although what he said was always similar, you can always be inspired by his insights and super nice personality. I still remember he was so proud to say that he made the graphic design of (the interior of) Designing Interactions by himself.
He said the reason he took the job of the museum is to communicate design to the mass, and enable design to enter people’s daily life. I went to the museum to see him in 2012, he was so excited to show me every details of the museum, introduce how they move a TATA car into the old museum. He was so proud to say that he had raised so many funds for the museum. He said my DESIGN Harvests project should been shown in his museum when the renovation is completed. At that time, Jobs was just passed away, in order to see the apple flagship store on Fifth Avenue, I declined the invitation to his apartment for lunch. I did not expect it became our last meeting, as he health condition seems great at that time. Later, I heard he had some problems and had already returned to California, after that came the bad news.
“Design for a meaningful life and a better world”, this is his life. We all know that he is now in paradise.
submitted by LOU Yongqi
I knew about Bill when I was deciding to become an Industrial Designer 35 years ago. There was an exhibition about british design in México City, I saw his work and decided to became an ID. I lost his track during years, the I knew he co-founded IDEO. I established contact with him to invite him to come to Universidad Panamericana campus Bonaterra in México, he came to give 4 conferences. Then we created a postgraduate program called Biointeractive Innovation. Now I have an investigation line about interaction in the virtual world. And you ask me how he changed my life…
submitted by Luis Arturo Méndez Alba
I was lucky enough to spend an evening meal sitting opposite Bill and share stories about Denmark, design and our opinions on user experience and usability. His way of insight driven problem-solving has inspired me and I look back at that chance encounter as a defining moment in my professional life. We lost a great man in so many ways and much too soon. But the legacy and memories he has left I am truly grateful for.
submitted by James Kelway
i miss you! i think of you almost every day. you lived in an exemplary way. ”WWBD?”
submitted by katie shelly
“If there is a simple, easy principle that binds together everything I’ve done, it’s my interest in people and their relationship to things. … I’m interested in why people like things, and what gives them a feeling of long-term reward, what gives them pleasure, and what excites them. Ultimately, my interest centers on the effect that design has on someone.”
Lovely piece from Maria Popova today, Bill’s birthday, on Brain Pickings.
submitted by Katie Clark