Oscar is a Creative Director on Microsoft’s Inclusive Design team, specializing in natural user interfaces and mixed reality. Born in New York City, and raised in Bogota, Colombia, Oscar’s passion is to amplify the societal impact of technology by placing the human experience at the forefront. During his tenure at Microsoft, Oscar has helped reinvent the way people interact with technology, contributing to innovations across HoloLens, XBOX, communal PCs, smart home technologies, wearables, connected vehicles, and mobile devices. Prior to joining Microsoft, Oscar was an Art Director at AT&T, InfoSpace, and Clique.com, where he created digital experiences for T-Mobile, Orange, Sprint, Cingular, Forbes, Renault, People, Cosmo Magazine, Wallpaper, and the Wall Street Journal. Oscar is a member of numerous design organizations and has served as Design Director for the Computer Human Interaction conference (CHI). He’s also taught at the University of Washington, NYU ITP, and at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Oscar has been awarded 15 patents with close to 50 still pending.
Q: Power in Design is…
A: Discovering a new human need and solving it in a way that exceeds human expectation.
Q: What are three implications of design you have encountered?
—A designer’s primary mission is to make people’s lives better.
—A designer’s work is never finished. We have a life-long commitment to learning.
—Good design is often invisible.
Q: When have you had the most impact through design?
A: When I first arrived at Microsoft, I worked on Windows Speech Recognition. It ranks among the most important and influential work I’ve done at the company. I collaborated wholeheartedly with designers, engineers, speech trainers, and real-world users to deliver an experience that would allow millions of people around the world with varying degrees of abilities to learn, work, communicate, and play on their computers with a low access barrier. Speech recognition has evolved rapidly, and my dedication to the space continues to inform our inclusive approach to the technology.
Q: Who inspires you?
A: Professionally, Jan Chipchase, Oscar Niemeyer, and Sebastiao Salgado for their ability to transcend the global boundaries of art and design and embrace the human experience of those in the world’s developing regions. Professionally and personally, children inspire me. Aldous Huxley once said, “Children are remarkable for their intelligence and ardor, for their curiosity, their intolerance of shams, the clarity and ruthlessness of their vision.” If I ever want an honest, unfiltered opinion about anything, I ask my three kids.
Q: If you could sum up your outlook in life in a bumper sticker what would it say?
On good days: For every question answered, a hundred more questions emerge.
On bad days: Buy the ticket, take the ride.
Don’t miss Oscar on the Inclusion by Design panel at the SDF2017 Technology Design Discussions Presented by Microsoft!