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Wendy Abbott, Xerox engineer, with an icon of the ConnectKey user interface she designed
Agents of Change

Wendy Abbott: Problem-solving with Software

“There are people out there every day using this and it’s making their jobs more productive.”

Tap, Swipe, Drag: Behind the Latest ConnectKey® Printer InterfaceS

Software Development Manager Wendy Abbott has devoted the past six years of her career to ConnectKey interface technology. As she herself has grown professionally, Wendy has played an integral role in evolving how users can make the most of their ConnectKey-enabled devices, including the new Xerox® AltaLink® high-volume MFPs.

Early Beginnings

From an early age, Wendy was drawn to the solutions created by assembling the puzzle pieces of mathematic formulas and figures. In high school, she was introduced to the basics of computer coding by attending a summer day camp sponsored by IBM. Every day, she practiced threading together different sequences that caused a computer to complete an intended action. Wendy quickly learned that her interest in math could be combined with the creativity of designing algorithms to produce a tangible solution.

As Wendy entered college, her father — a community college professor — suggested computer science as an area of study. Given her interests and future career pathways, it seemed to be a good fit. After completing her first semester, she never looked back. The aspects of what she enjoyed most about mathematics, problem solving and exploring computer interfaces cemented her future career in software engineering.

“I have always gravitated to working on the user interface portion of the software, mainly because I enjoyed thinking about how the customer would interact with the device in addition to how to write the software itself,“ said Wendy. “Computer intelligence is in everything these days – even beyond the most obvious places like the apps on your smart phone. Software is in your copier, in your car, maybe even your refrigerator!”

ConnectKey user interface

A Career at Xerox: The Journey to Touch Screen

Wendy began her career at Xerox as a software engineer and has worked on several different families of products for over the years. In her current role, the broad scope of the job requires the ability to dig into and understand technical details one minute, and then to step back, look at the big picture and make strategic decisions the next minute. “It can be quite challenging, but I really enjoy the variety this role provides,” says Wendy.

Ever since Wendy began working on ConnectKey interface technology as a software developer, the main objective has been to create a thriving productivity ecosystem. Imagine an office environment where all print devices have the same core features and functionality. “Our printers do more than simply scan, fax and copy. They’re productivity powerhouses that help you get more done, faster,” said Wendy.

In the late 2000’s, as button-less smartphones and tablets became the standard platform on which to navigate functions of electronic devices, Wendy’s team began working on an interface that resonate with users.

“Tapping, dragging and swiping seem to be second nature for manipulating virtual content,” said Wendy. “By designing a look and feel that is familiar (like a smartphone), users are less intimidated to learn how to use the device itself. Then users can focus on using the technology to their advantage and feel rewarded by surges of productivity.”

To learn more about Xerox innovations at work and read more employee spotlights like this one, please visit: Xerox Innovation at Work

Photo of a street with an arrow on it, overlaid with the words "Agents of Change"

We’ve all changed the world. Every one of us. With every breath we take, our presence endlessly ripples outwards.

But few of us have the opportunity to change many lives for the better. And even fewer are challenged to do so every day. That’s the gauntlet thrown daily at Xerox research scientists — to try and effect change.

In return, we give them time and space to dream. And then the resources to turn dreams into reality — whether they’re inventing new materials with incredible functions, or using augmented reality to bolster the memory of Alzheimer’s patients.

We’re proud of our Agents of Change in Xerox research centers across the world. Here are some of their stories.

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