Visualizations and Ambient Interfaces

Joy Mountford   S. Joy Mountford, Yahoo!

Seminar on People, Computers, and Design
Stanford University February 15, 2008

Big companies with access to immense amounts of data can offer some insights into how big the information world around us really is. Joy will show a series of compelling visualizations that her Design Innovation Groups at Yahoo, in SF, has produced. Her YHaus team has created dozens of innovative, interactive feeds of real Yahoo! data. These show flight segments from Y!Trip Planner turned into dynamic parabolic trails of light, Yahoo Answers feeds showing key words as animated word clouds, the extent of mail traffic reach and topical search query bursts around the world. Some people have described these applications as 'useful' art, but Joy thinks they may be a start towards a different type of interface, an ambient one.

S. Joy Mountford has been designing interfaces for over 25 years for applications from aircraft to personal computers to consumer devices. She has become an internationally recognized leader in user-centered interaction design. She has led design efforts creating interfaces to audio and visual devices, interfaces between the electronic world and the physical world of printed materials, and for toys, as well as for interactive music creation and generation. In 1990 she pioneered forming the Interface Design Project which sponsors interdisciplinary design at universities around the world, and continues to lead this effort for various sponsor companies. She headed the Human Interface Group at Apple Computer for 8 years and then moved to Interval Research for 6 years to lead a series of consumer music product teams. She then led her own interaction design company, idbias, consulting on creating interaction designs for a range of client companies.

In 2005, Joy joined Yahoo Inc. Her initial focus was on leading a team for re-designing for the most trafficked Web page, Yahoo's Front Page. Currently she is leading the user experience and design efforts for Yahoo's Communications and Community products. In addition she leads a Design Innovation Group in San Francisco focusing on data visualizations that are useful, as well as beautiful. Her project interests center around building more extensive creative spaces to position technology in an appealing way.

View this talk on line at CS547 on Stanford OnLine or using this video link.

Titles and abstracts for previous years are available by year and by speaker.