Will Bates

Custom workbooks and real-time visualization frameworks designed to record daily habits.

Will Bates, BFA09

Will Bates is an interaction designer and user experience (UX) lead of infrastructure and data projects for Google’s YouTube team in San Bruno, California. As a member of the global UX team, his design contributions help YouTube reach a growing audience—the world now watches a billion hours of YouTube content every day.

In 2012, Bates joined the UX team as its first communication designer, where he developed new ways to collect, synthesize, and share research and information. In his most impactful project, he crafted a series of custom workbooks that visualize data on YouTube users’ daily activities, which allow participants to record their habits in real time. The workbooks have been used by research teams company-wide, and they have also been featured at the Google I/O conference and in the Think with Google blog. Diagrams from the workbook have been patented with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

In his current role, Bates oversees a team of designers working to ensure that videos play on any device, at any moment, around the world. In addition to his design duties, he manages the summer internship program for design students.

Prior to YouTube, Bates was an art director at FleishmanHillard in Washington, DC, where he worked on communication strategies, brand development, advertising campaigns, interactive infographics, and social media experiences. Clients included the Federal Trade Commission, Gatorade, Lenovo, National Institutes of Health, Novartis, Office of National Drug Control Policy, Project HOPE, P&G, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, USDA, and TRICARE. His work has been exhibited in regional AIGA shows, recognized with Gold and Silver American Advertising Awards (ADDYs), and shortlisted for the Cannes Lions PR award.

Bates earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Communication Design with a minor in Film & Media Studies from Washington University in 2009. Since graduation, he has continued to support the Sam Fox School community by participating in portfolio reviews, hosting office hours, speaking at brown bag lunches, and chaperoning student Road Shows organized by the Career Center.