Steve Kaneko, FIDSA | Microsoft
Title: User Experience Director at Microsoft - Entertainment and Devices Division
School(s): University of Washington
Design Competencies: Design Management, End to End User Experience, Industrial Design and Product Development, Human Factors and Ergonomics, Hardware and Software Interaction, Innovation Management, Brand Identity and Systems
Why I Design:
"The image and identity of the personal computer haven't changed in 25 years," says Steve Kaneko, the international award-winning Design Director of Windows Hardware Innovation. "Hardware can radically change perceptions and expectations for what a computer is and could be. The PC is due for an image change."
If anyone can realize the vision of a unified hardware and software industry, it's Steve, who has numerous patents, was chosen one of the 40 most influential technology design innovators by ID Magazine in 1997, and whose 1991 design of the Microsoft Mouse 2.0 is in the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Success came through approach, process, and organized collaboration. Early in his career, Steve found himself working on everything from exercise gyms to birthing beds. He learned that a designer couldn't have a design style specific to a product type or form factor and began to solve design problems holistically by taking into account everything from human factors and aesthetics to business, development, and engineering constraints.
In 1991, Steve took that theory a step further while working on Mouse 2.0. He was the first designer to pull together a team whose varied backgrounds would work as checks and balances in the design process. It included a user researcher, an industrial designer, a kinesiologist, and a user assistance professional. This team became the model for design groups across Microsoft and proved that good design practice is good for business.
Next, Steve worked with central marketing and various other teams to unify the Windows branding and logo. "We needed to unify the Windows identity. The goal was simplicity," Steve says. The result was a "gesture" flag that "captured the essence of Windows."
Now, Steve faces the challenge of his career—unifying the hardware and software industry to deliver an integrated, wired home—a prototype called the Microsoft® Windows® Home Concept. It will give people an end-to-end solution that integrates into every aspect of home and work life. As Steve said earlier: "The PC is due for an image change."