Designing Interactions

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Dennis Boyle

Dennis Boyle is interviewed in Chapter 3 – From the Desk to the Palm. He was engaged by Jeff Hawkins to develop the physical design for Palm V, followed by several products from Handspring, while Rob Haitani designed the operating systems and application software.

Dennis is famous for taking a new prototype of a design with him whenever he goes to a meeting. He has perfected the art of iterative prototyping as a way of accelerating the development process. He has always been curious about ingenious ways of making things, as well as clever or amusing designs. Over the years he has collected interesting examples of objects from wherever his travels have taken him. His collection became a magnet for the engineers and designers at IDEO, as inspiration for innovation could often be found by browsing among his objects. In 1990 the value of the collection was institutionalized as the Tech Box, a combination of parts and materials library, database and Web site, which is duplicated in all the major offices of the company.

The interaction design for the original Palm appealed to Dennis as soon as he tried it, and he immediately offered his services to Jeff Hawkins. He describes how he was given the chance with the Palm V, and discusses the merits of Graffiti when compared to miniature keyboards.

Dennis at his desk, with his collection of memorabilia behind him.