"Why e-bay is One of the Most Useful Tools for Interaction Design & Why Anyone Who Talks about Touch Interfaces is Unqualified to Speak on the Topic"

Bill Buxton, Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research

Wednesday, October 7, 2009 at 7:00 P.M.

Lubrano Conference Room (CIT 4th Floor)

It may not sound like it, but this is a bit of a talk on the history of technology. More to the point, it is about why and how history is more pertinent now, in this age of experience de-sign, than it even was in the past. However, it is also a talk about cultural literacy and criticism. To make my case, I will dive into the technological and cultural history of one of the trendiest technologies out there today: touch and multi-touch. With concrete examples, I will walk through about 40 years of history, or more. And, if you come to the talk knowing what a touch interface is, if I succeed, you will depart sure that you don't. Which now qualifies you to talk about it! And, in closing: the talk is not as dogmatic as it sounds. To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, these things are too important to take seriously.


Bill Buxton is the author of, Sketching User Experiences: Getting the Design Right and the Right Design, published jointly by Morgan Kaufmann and Focal Press as well as a columnist on design and innovation for He is Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research and has a 30 year involvement in research, design and commentary around human aspects of technology, and digital tools for creative endeavour, including music, film and industrial design. Prior to joining Microsoft, he was a researcher at Xerox PARC, a professor at the University of Toronto, and Chief Scientist of Alias Research and SGI Inc. - where 2003 he was co-recipient of an Academy Award for Scientific and Technical Achievement. In 2007, he was named Doctor of Design, honoris causa, by the Ontario College of Art and Design, in 2008 became the 10th reci-pient of the ACM/SIGCHI Lifetime Achievement Award for fundamental contributions to the field of human-computer interaction. In January 2009 was elected a Fellow of the ACM, and in June was awarded a Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, by his alma mater, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario.

More information on Buxton and his work can be found at:

Host: Andy van Dam