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New York Times on Loretta Staples, a pioneering UI designer

Back in March, Nika Simovich Fisher interviewed Loretta Staples for the New York Times. Ms. Staples was an influential UI designer from the 80s and 90s and now a therapist:

[…] For seven years, she [Loretta Staples] dreamed up interactive experiences meant to delight and satisfy the end user. That was long before “design thinking” became the talk of Silicon Valley, before her domain was sleekly rebranded as U.I. When she started, the field was so nascent that most of the software didn’t exist.

“It was just so exciting,” Ms. Staples said during a Zoom call in December. “You had to put stuff together and fashion your own tools and ways of making things.”

Now 67, living in Connecticut and working as a therapist (the fifth phase of her professional life), she sees those years as formative, not only for her creativity but her worldview.

Ms. Staples discussed her experiences at Apple, her own agency U dot I working with user interfaces and user experience (UX), and her work on the World Wide Web during its infancy:

Looking back, Ms. Staples said that she used to see herself as a cultural critic disguised as a designer; now she’s a cultural critic disguised as a therapist — one who has spent the last year working exclusively over video conferencing.

“It’s weird to have the option to control a view,” she said. “Not everyone is looking at the same thing.”

For more information on Loretta Staples and her incredible achievements, check out the bio on her website in all its HTML glory and read some of her essays on design and typography.

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