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The Distro Interview: Microsoft Principal Researcher Bill Buxton

By Engadget

May 3, 2012

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Microsoft Research human-computer interaction researcher Bill Buxton says "the pursuit of ever more 'natural' ways of interacting with systems" is a key focus at Microsoft. Buxton envisions an era in which computers are so seamlessly and transparently embedded within everyday tools that people become effectively unconscious of their presence. "What is happening with the emergence of new and varied form factors and classes of device is an augmentation of the overall ecosystem, not one class of device rendering another obsolete," he says.

Buxton sees a trend in which surface-like interfaces will soon penetrate households, given the performance upgrades and increasing affordability of large-format displays and advancements in touch-, stylus-, voice-, and gesture-interaction tools. He foresees a technological shift over the next three to five years to a time when the exceptional design and performance of products is taken for granted by customers, and where the concentration is on "the complexity that is emerging in terms of how all of these [individually] easy to use devices work together."

Buxton also stresses the need for the value and quality of experience to be augmented by every other product and service that the user already has, "and each of them enhance that which [the user] just acquired."

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