Inventing Software Design

Mitch Kapor, ON Technologies and Electronic Frontier Foundation

Seminar on People, Computers, and Design
Stanford University January 22, 1992


Software Design, as distinct from software engineering, computer programming, engineering design, or any other computing profession, is now emerging as a profession in its own right, concerned with mediating between the subjective world of human needs and values and the objective world of computing substrates. What are the theoretical and practical concerns giving rise to this new field? What justifies its stance as the newest member of the family of design disciplines? What are the implications for the training and education of software designers?


Mitch Kapor founded Lotus Development Corporation and served as its Chief Executive Officer, President, and Chairman. He is the designer of Lotus 1-2-3, Agenda, and many other software applications. Currently, he serves as Chairman of ON Technology, Inc. of Cambridge, Massachusetts, a developer of local-area network applications for collaborative computing. He is the co-founder and President of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an organization which works to develop and implement public policies to promote openness, diversity, and innovation in emerging electronic social environments. He is Chairman of the Commercial Internet Exchange (CIX), a not-for-profit association involved in the development of arrangements and facilities which connect independent networking carriers into a global information infrastructure and serves on the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board of the National Research Council. He is an Adjunct Research Fellow at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government in the area of information technology policy. He has also been active in the creation of the Association for Software Design, a professional organization for software designers.


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

For more information about HCI at Stanford see

Overview Degrees Courses Research Faculty FAQ