Post-Modern Software Design

Session Title

Post-Modern Software Design


Paula Guntaur, Microsoft

Session Type: Presentation

Over the last century, we have seen dramatic changes in architecture and design. Various philosophies have emerged each reflecting something unique about a particular timeframe. Artists and architects were inspired by material developments, political discussions, socio-cultural changes and budding technologies. In turn, their inspired designs would inspire the next decade of short-lived ideologies. This cyclic process has created a rich context for us to understand why things look like they do today and possibly what they might look like tomorrow.

Interaction design is no exception as it has similarly evolved through a brigade of opposing ideas and beliefs. Of course, this evolution has occurred over a much shorter timeline as computers have only been mainstream for about twenty years. Interaction design has had to play “catch up” with the rest of the design fields to look good fast. This presentation will talk about how software has evolved through the same steps that architecture and industrial design have giving interaction designers a hint as to what to expect in the future. We’ve been living in beautiful modern buildings and using smartly designed products for years. We’re only beginning to interacting with great software.


I’m originally from Montreal where I grew up with a traditional Italian background and a modern sprinkling of French-Canadian culture. In university, I studied industrial design (1997-2000) and architecture (2000-2003). I was fascinated with the tangible, form aspects of objects and buildings until I made my first website. In 2003, anxious for a change of scenery, I moved to the north of Sweden to pursue a Master’s Degree (2003-2005) in Interaction Design. I suffered through 2 exceptionally long, cold & dark winters in exchange for a great education in software design with a specialty in hardware/software integration.

In January 2006, I moved to Seattle and started my design career at Microsoft. I worked for 2 years in the Office Design group as a User Experience Designer rethinking the user interface platform for saving, sharing and collaborating on files. In February 2008, I moved to the Entertainment and Devices group where I continue to work on various consumer experiences.

One Comment

  1. Posted October 1, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    Would like to get more of an idea of what the purpose of the talk is–what I can expect to get out of it beyond satisfying curiosity.