Designing Interactions

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Joy Mountford

Joy Mountford is interviewed in Chapter 8 – Multisensory and Multimedia.Her development of QuickTime has led to the inclusion of video for the iPod, as described by Paul Mercer. It built on the early work at Apple by Bill Atkinson and Larry Tesler, and relates to the more recent OS X designed by Cordell Ratzlaff.

While At Honeywell Joy designed displays and controls for military aircraft and the space shuttle. It had been flight that had brought her to America in the first place, as she had won a scholarship in aviation psychology and learned how to use some flight simulators with horribly complicated control systems that pilots had to cope with. Her undergraduate degree was from University College London, and her graduate study was in engineering psychology at the University of Illinois. “We did a lot of what is now called ‘task analysis’ of man-machine systems. My professor was very methodical; I think it took us a whole semester to do a task analysis of just being able to get into your car and put the key in the ignition.” This rigorous training helped her as she gained experience in high-tech industries. She found her niche as the creator and manager of the Human Interface Group at Apple Computer, the team that invented the initial use of QuickTime. From Apple she went on to join Interval Research, leading a series of musical development projects. Joy has been designing and managing interface design efforts for over twenty years. She frequently teaches, lectures, and presents at conferences, always delivering an inspiring performance.

Joy describes her collaboration with Mike Mills as they developed designs to include images and videos in graphical user interfaces, integrating QuickTime and moving the personal computer towards multimedia.

Joy Mountford in 2004. Photo Tom Gruber