Designing Interactions

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Chapter 2 – My PC

Interviews with Bill Atkinson, Paul Bradley, Bill Verplank, and Cordell Ratzlaff

Larry Tesler moved to Apple and worked with Bill Atkinson to design the software for Lisa. For an intense period of creativity they worked round-the-clock, with Bill designing prototypes of user interface concepts at night, and Larry running user tests during the day. Bill was responsible for all of the early software at Apple, including Quickdraw graphics, Hypercard and programs for the Mac. Larry had a passion for simplicity, and proposed a single button for the mouse, a feature that became an Apple signature.

Paul Bradley designed the first Microsoft mouse, creating a form to fit the human hand, expressing the intimacy of contact and control. Bill Verplank, who devised a series of tests to evaluate the prototypes, guided ergonomic advances. Bill has an amazing ability to draw as he talks, and he draws as he answers questions about interaction design paradigms and process.

Cordell Ratzlaff managed the Human Interface Group for the design of Macintosh System Software at Apple for five years. He led
the team that designed the versions of Mac OS from Mac OS 8 all the way through Mac OS X, creating the dock and making ingenious use of animations.

Apple Mac, from 1984 brochure. <em>Photo</em> courtesy of Apple

Apple Mac, from 1984 brochure. Photo courtesy of Apple