- Principal Researcher
- Microsoft Research
Bill Buxton is a relentless advocate for innovation, design, and especially, the appropriate consideration of human values, capacity, and culture in the conception, implementation, and use of new products and technologies. This is reflected in his research, teaching, talks, and writing, including his column on design and innovation for BusinessWeek.com, and his 2007 book, Sketching User Experiences.
In December 2005, he was appointed Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research. Prior to that, he was Principal of his own Toronto-based boutique design and consulting firm, Buxton Design.
Bill began his career as a composer and performer, having done a Bachelor of Music degree at Queen's University. He then studied and taught for two years at the Institute of Sonology, Utrecht, Holland.
Bill started designing his own digital musical instruments in 1975, which led him to the University of Toronto, where he completed an MSc in Computer Science, joined the faculty, and is still an adjunct professor. It is also the path that brought him into the field of human-computer interaction, which is his technical area of specialty.
Bill has spent his time innovating across the globe. From 1987-89, Bill was in Cambridge England, helping establish a new satellite of Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center (EuroPARC). From 1989-94 he split his time between Toronto, where he was Scientific Director of the Ontario Telepresence Project, and Palo Alto, California, where he was a consulting researcher at Xerox PARC. He was the Chief Scientist of Alias|Wavefront, (now part of Autodesk) from 1994-2002.
Bill has been awarded three doctorates Honoris Causa: Doctor of Design from the Ontario College of Art and Design, Toronto, Ontario (June, 2007), Doctor of Laws from hi his alma mater, Queen's University, Kingston Ontario (June, 2009), and Doctor of Industrial Design, from the Technical University of Eindhoven The Netherlands (April, 2010). In October of 2010 the university also bestowed upon him the title Distinguished Professor.
Outside of work, Bill loves the outdoors. He is especially passionate about mountains, including skiing, climbing, and touring. This interest extends to the written word. He has contributed to the literature on mountain history and exploration, is an avid bibliophile, and was on the jury of the 2005 Banff Mountain Book Festival. He is an accomplished equestrian, and in 1996 was awarded the Veteran Rider of the Year award from the Ontario Horse Trials Association, and in 2000 was named to the Talent Squad of the National Eventing Team. In addition, he is an avid cyclist, and active in kayaking, canoeing, SCUBA diving and windsurfing. Finally, he has a life-long fascination with both art and his wife, the artist Elizabeth Russ, who from 2000 - 2010 owned and operated a contemporary art gallery, Gallery 888, in Toronto, Canada.