Aleks Oniszczak

Aleks Oniszczak is a pioneer in mobile and touch-based interfaces cocreating and publishing papers on the first clickpad (Trackpad with integrated button), the first trackpad with simulated haptic feedback (Force touch and haptic engine) and first on-screen keyboard with tactile feedback and hysteresis (RollPad). Aleks has worked at Microsoft as a (UX) User Researcher on products such as Office for Mac, Office for iOS & the original Microsoft Surface TableTop PC (now known as PixleSense). Aleks also worked on the first touch-based Microsoft apps introduced with Windows 7 (TouchPack). Aleks has worked on mobile apps and sites at a Silicon Valley start-up (Zoosk), taught Interface Design at York University and is currently teaching Experimental Design at the University of Toronto while freelancing iOS development. Aleks has a BSc specializing in Psychology from the University of Toronto and an MSc in Computer Science specializing in HCI from York University.

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First "Force Touch" Trackpad

Co-developed the world's first haptic touchpad. CHI paper published in 1997 describes the hardware, software and functionality - including "Haptic Engine" and pressure sensitivity levels. CHI paper published in 1998 describes my usabilty study demonstrating significant throughput improvements over standard touchpads.


First Phone Prototype with "3D Touch"

Building upon our "Force Touch" touchpad, I built the first cellphone prototype with "3D Touch" and "Taptic Engine". I used the prototype to try out a new text entry method in a study published in 2004. You can see the dual "Tacptic Engines" as large blue boxes stuffed into the cellphone's internals in the paper.


Office for iPad

Involved in early stages of product development. Biggest impact - helped steer product to include editing features instead of being a simple document viewer.


Office for iPhone

Tested early designs and features. Notice there are no social media features beyond file sharing? You're welcome.


Office for Mac

Advocated for usability over marketing; Office redundantly listed "Save as Web Page..." right under "Save As...", now it doesn't. A little less clutter in your life. On the other hand, when the "Share" menu item was going to get the axe, I ran a user study that showed in no uncertain terms what a bad idea that would be. It remains.


Microsoft Surface/Surface Hub/PixelSense

Performed early fundamental usability studies on how to best implement touchscreen multi-touch and multi-user interfaces. Your Surface doesn't have a raised bezel - I had to fight hard for that.


Microsoft Windows 7 Touchpack

A little ahead of its time as there weren't many touchscreens when Windows 7 came out. I joined later in development, but I was able to convince the developers to make the fish in the Lagoon screensaver come to you when you wiggle your finger on the screen, and the Globe spins more than it used to when you flick it. You can still download it here.


Zoosk - Dating Site and Apps

You can now enter your credit card number with spaces without the site scolding you. Although this idea got a surprising amount of pushback, I found the right stakeholders to push this through. Similarly, if you accidentally start entering your login name on the signup page instead of the login screen, or vice versa, the site no longer punishes you by making you type everything in again.


Logan Wealth Management

Director of Technology for an exceptional boutique investment firm. Providing analysis on tech companies is my favourite part of the job.


Instructor at York University in Toronto

Designing User Interfaces [ITEC3230] and Computer Use Fundamentals [EECS1520]


Instructor at the University of Toronto

Experimental Design for Data Science [INFO2178 Graduate]

Just for Fun


Columnist, Writer & Photographer

I wrote a popular weekly tech column for four years


Game Show

I ended up winning on a game show once. It was called "Design to Win" on HGTV.


Macquarium and other Tinkerings

I like making and modding things. My Macquarium turned out well. It features an overhead light that turns on by mouse-click, side lighting activated by keyboard, under-gravel filter, heater and working treasure chest all self-contained in an original Mac 128. I recently upgraded the lighting to LED and added a remote controlled blue LED to show off my GloFish.

I also enjoy using PhotoShop, critiquing design trends, light programming, rooting phones and keeping current in tech.

© 2018 Aleks Oniszczak