Designing Interactions

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Rob Haitani

Rob Haitani is interviewed in Chapter 3 – From the Desk to the Palm. Jeff Hawkins has relied on Rob for the design of operating systems and application software for Palm and Handspring products. He worked with Dennis Boyle for the physical designs.

Rob Haitani was responsible for designing the user interface of the operating system for Palm, as well as all the original applications. He is modest about his abilities, claiming to be an “applied practitioner,” as he has no formal training in interaction design. Rob insists on putting people first and brings a combination of common sense and ruthless analysis to any problem that he is confronted with, never forgetting the end user. He stayed with the team when they spun out of Palm to start Handspring and went on to lead the interaction design team for all of the Handspring products. He is still working with Jeff Hawkins.

In his 2001 interview, Rob talks about the interaction design priorities that emerged as he led the team to design the Palm OS and original applications. He decides what should be most prominent based on frequency of use, and strives to make the most often used interactions accessible in a single step.

Rob with his PDAs and patents behind him.