• Canadian UX Blog

    Announcing Expression Studio 4!

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    I remember the days when Microsoft had announced they were introducing a set of design tools to help customers and partners build .NET-based solutions that were both visually appealing and focused on user experience.  In those early days, we introduced the tools with enigmatic yet interesting codenames like Sparkle (which became Expression Blend), Acrylic (Expression Design) and Quartz (Expression Web).  The journey that these early beta tools took has been an interesting one and I have enjoyed watching the product evolve into a very focused set of products that allow both designers and developers build truly awesome software experiences.

    Since Expression Studio’s big launch at our MIX conference in May of 2007, we’ve seen a lot of amazing software experiences built with these tools.  Examples include large businesses using Expression Studio like the Online Video Player for CTVOlympics.ca, Hard Rock Café’s Memorabilia and The Weather Network’s WeatherEye, to small businesses like Pink and Yellow Media building sites like Design Schooled Kids.

    That journey continues today; we are excited to launch Expression Studio 4.  This version launch represents some significant additions to the tools in our design suite and some great enhancements to features that have become not only popular with designers and developers, but in many ways essential to their work. 

    What’s in Expression Studio 4?

    If you have never used Expression Studio before but you are interested in creating innovative user experiences via software (web, desktop, smartphone or otherwise), then this product is one that you’ll likely want to know more about.  In a nutshell, these tools were built to provide you with professional-grade design capabilities in intuitive user interfaces.  In other words, if you can think up an amazing software experience in your head, these tools can help you make it a reality.

    Expression Studio is a suite of four design tools meant to provide designers and developers a platform to build great software experiences 

    XStudio4-ToolList[1]

    You can find more information about Expression Studio 4 on our product website.  You can also check out our Expression Studio Community Site for tips and tricks from the pros!

    What’s New in Expression Studio 4?

    Well, in a nutshell, we’ve added and refined a lot of things in the suite, but some of the more popular changes and additions are detailed below:

    SketchFlow[1]

    SketchFlow – a more streamlined workflow with your clients

    Publish to SharePoint provides an easy way to share your prototypes and also enhances their feedback mechanism, as before you can view client’s feedback in context on the design surface within Expression Blend and in addition clients can now view shared feedback when they review prototypes via the SketchFlow player.

    Behaviors – accelerate your UI designs

    Expression Blend 4 includes new Behaviors designed to enhance your application design process; multi-touch, the ability to preserve screen state from screen to screen, easily drag-able items between listboxes plus many more designed to keep you focused on the art of creating compelling UI designs.

    Visual State Manager – bring you application to life one transition at a time

    Bring your application to life with effective transitions. Add subtlety and texture to your UIs by taking advantage of the new pixel shader effects. Whether you want to manipulate color, add a drop shadow or animate a ripple transition or swirls, the extensible range of pixel effects gives you total control so you can create the transition you want through the Visual State Manager.

    Team Foundation Server Integration

    Share your Expression Studio project files with those of your colleagues by using check in and check out functionality with Microsoft Team Foundation Server integration. The feedback you receive via SketchFlow can now be converted into Team Foundation Server work items.

    SEO Diagnostics

    Expression Web uses the IIS Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Toolkit to improve your Web site’s relevance in search results by recommending how to make the site content more search engine-friendly.

    Create Expression Web add-ins

    Now you can extend Expression Web’s functionality with HTML and JavaScript. Add panels, menu commands, and tools to the toolbox. And share your add-ins with the Expression Community.

    SuperPreview for Macintosh Safari

    Expression Web now supports Macintosh Safari for browser compatibility testing with SuperPreview.  Having personally talked to web designers both on Windows and other platforms, the overwhelming consensus is that this tool is a game changer for them in ensuring browser rendering problems are caught well ahead of going live with a site.  (A quick hint:  if you just want to test your site for rendering issues between IE6, IE8 and IE8 Compatibility Mode – aka:  IE7, then there is a free version of Superview that you can download here.  You’re welcome.  :)   )

    Support for Windows Phone 7

    Build great mobile applications for the Windows Phone 7 platform using Expression Blend and Silverlight.

    Are you building great experiences with Expression Studio today?

    If you are building a great software experience with Expression Studio today and would like to share with us what you’ve built, drop us a line!  We would love to hear from you!

     

    -Paul

  • Canadian UX Blog

    The “Ignite Your Venture” Webcast Series

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    Ignite Your Venture - Register Today!

    Your Host, Angie Lim

    Do you have a great business idea but don’t know where to start?  Do you have questions about the process of creating a start-up business but never knew who to ask/  Just curious what the big deal is with the start-up side of technology??  We are proud to introduce a free, new webcast series called Ignite Your Venture that aims to help you understand the in’s and out’s of the start-up process and give you a forum to ask people with expertise in the start-up ecosystem.

    Hosted by Microsoft’s very own Angie Lim, Channel Audience Manager for the Microsoft Canada Partner Network  and featuring the experts at Intrepid Equity and others, the intent is to bring discuss topics that entrepreneurs often ask and to help provide insight into all things start-up. 

    The webcasts will run every Wednesday of April 2010 (see the list of webcasts below for details) and registration is free.  We look forward to seeing you on these webcasts!

     

    Webcast #1 – Wednesday, April 7th, 2010 from 2:00PM ET to 3:00PM ET:  Bring Your Ideas to Life with a Venture Capitalist

    Venture capital plays a key part in enabling entrepreneurs to help accelerate their businesses. At the same time, raising funds can be a laborious and intimidating task. In this session, you will gain insight into the capabilities and approaches that venture capitalists value the most. You will learn how to prepare a comprehensive growth plan, and how to approach and engage diverse sources of finance. You will hear a variety of views from key business leaders on how to best help you get the outcome you deserve – the funding you need and an ecosystem of support to help you make the most of it.

    Featured Presenters:

    • Angie Lim, Channel Audience Manager, Microsoft Canada Partner Network
    • Alkarim Jivraj, Founder, Intrepid Equity Finance
    • Ian Gilbert, Venture Partner, Intrepid Business Acceleration Fund LP

    Register for this Webcast Here

     

    Webcast #2 – Wednesday, April 14th, 2010 from 2:00PM ET to 3:00PM ET:  Finding the Right People to Make the Right Team with Randy Street

    In business, you are who you hire. Randy Street, co-author of "Who: The A Method for Hiring", a New York Times, Wall Street Journal and BusinessWeek best seller, offers a ground-breaking solution to your #1 business problem - hiring mistakes. In this webinar you will discover a simple 4-step method for hiring the right people that has helped its practitioners to achieve a 90% success rate, gain insights from exclusive interviews with more than 20 billionaires, 60 CEOs, numerous investors, and other thought leaders on the subject of hiring, and also learn the secrets of success for over 300 CEOs who participated in a University of Chicago study.

    Featured Presenters:

    • Angie Lim, Channel Audience Manager, Microsoft Canada Partner Network
    • Randy Street, President, ghSmart
    • Alkarim Jivraj, Founder, Intrepid Equity Finance
    • Ian Gilbert, Venture Partner, Intrepid Business Acceleration Fund LP

    Register for this Webcast Here

     

    Webcast #3 – Wednesday, April 21st, 2010 from 2:00PM ET to 3:00PM ET:  Helping to Increase Profits with Focus on Channel Engagement & Helping to Accelerate Your Sales

    Channel selection, deployment and execution represent a strategic minefield for many companies. This session will focus attention on the critical components of an effective channel engagement strategy. You will learn approaches that help you make the most of every dollar you spend in accessing and engaging customers. You will gain insight into effective methods for assessing which channels to use, and how best to use them. You will hear views from experienced entrepreneurs and channel builders about the most effective ways to drive deal velocity and scale – helping to contribute to the accelerated growth of your business.

    Featured Presenters:

    • Angie Lim, Channel Audience Manager, Microsoft Canada Partner Network
    • Shane Davies, ISV Partner Manager, Microsoft Canada
    • Alkarim Jivraj, Founder, Intrepid Equity Finance
    • Ian Gilbert, Venture Partner, Intrepid Business Acceleration Fund LP

    Register for this Webcast Here

     

    Webcast #4 – Wednesday, April 28th, 2010 from 2:00PM ET to 3:00PM ET:  Business Lead Generation that Really Delivers

    Generating and effectively managing leads, especially when resources are scarce, can be a real business roadblock. In this session, you will learn how to establish a strategic lead generation and management process that accelerates performance and that utilizes resources effectively, particularly in an entrepreneurial environment. You will also discover how to measure the real effectiveness of your lead generation efforts – so that you can ensure every dollar you spend contributes to revenue creation.

    Featured Presenters:

    • Angie Lim, Channel Audience Manager, Microsoft Canada Partner Network
    • Cadman Chui, Marketing Executive and Entrepreneur
    • Alkarim Jivraj, Founder, Intrepid Equity Finance
    • Ian Gilbert, Venture Partner, Intrepid Business Acceleration Fund LP

    Register for this Webcast Here

     

    -Paul

  • Canadian UX Blog

    Oh yeah, it’s on: welcome to the party, Windows Phone 7 Series.

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    wp7[1]

     

    Today marks a sea change in Microsoft’s mobile device strategy and how we are going to market in the smartphone space.  This change is fundamental rather than incremental; we have completely re-written the book on how a Windows Phone looks, behaves and interacts with a user.  With the MIX10 opening keynote (you can watch the on-demand video here), we introduced the details on how designers and developers can create incredible and immersive solutions for Windows Phone 7 Series. 

    I don’t think I can stress how different this new offering is to not only our previous smartphone offerings, but also how different Windows Phone 7 Series is compared to the most popular smartphone competitors on the market today.  In making the user central to the experience, the Windows Phone 7 Series product team has created a product that is productive, focused and fun to use.

    Some of the things we have announced are:

    • A consistent experience across devices
      • All Windows Phone 7 Series devices will share a common screen resolution and hardware specifications
    • An intuitive, delightful and fresh User Interface
      • Adoption of the code name “Metro” user interface which was derived from the highly acclaimed UI in the Zune HD media player
      • Tiles:  launch points for phone functionality on the home screen that also share contextual and relevant information important to the user
    • 4-point capacitive multi-touch screens
    • An application programming model that uses Silverlight and XNA to deliver outstanding application and mobile gaming user experiences
    • Free tools to build Windows Phone 7 Series applications, including a very powerful phone emulator
    • Harmonized user experiences by leveraging Silverlight, Zune media playback, social networking and XBox Live integration
    • A push notification engine allowing simulated multitasking while removing the overhead of multitasking resources (such as memory, disk space, etc.)

    The fact that the application model leverages Silverlight and XNA is significant in that you can reuse your skillsets that you have acquired building regular Silverlight apps and XNA-enabled games.  This means that if you have built Silverlight applications or XNA games in the past, you’ll find the application creation process very familiar and will allow you to hit the ground running.

    WP7-2[1]

    Below are some helpful resource links that you can use to learn more about Windows Phone 7 Series application development and actually start building your apps right now:

     

    Happy Windows Phone 7 Series app building!

     

    -Paul

  • Canadian UX Blog

    Have you heard of Expression Web?

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    ExpressionWeb3[1] 

    Are you a website designer or developer either as a profession or even as a hobby?  If you are, then you may want to attend a free webcast coming up on Wednesday, March 3, 2010 at 2PM ET (11AM PT) where we overview the features of Expression Web 3, Microsoft’s latest website design tool.

    To sign up for this free webcast, click here and use the following sign-up code:  10BC45

    This overview session will highlight some of the great features of Expression Web.  By the end of this session, you will:

    • Understand how Expression Web 3 fits into the Designer/Developer workflow for building web experiences
    • See a tour of some of the most important features of Expression Web 3, including
      • The Web Editor
      • CSS Management tools
      • Web Standards Management
      • Language Support (including native support for PHP!)
      • SuperPreview

     

    FrontPage[1] If you’ve never heard of Expression Web, then this webcast will likely surprise you as this a fully professional tool to help you build visually appealing, dynamic and standards-adhering websites.  And to answer your question, no, this is not FrontPage vNext.  FrontPage (thankfully!) is dead, never to come back. 

    To give you an example of what is possible with the tool, Morten Rand-Hendriksen has built some great sites built using Expression Web 3 which warrant highlighting:

     

     

     

     

    -Paul

  • Canadian UX Blog

    Wait, that’s a Windows Phone?!?

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    windowsphone7[1] logo[1] Yesterday was a pretty big day for Microsoft and one that I had been anticipating for a long while.  At the Mobile World Conference in Barcelona, we finally unveiled to the world what our next generation of Windows Phones will look and act like – we introduced the Windows Phone 7 Series mobile operating system (watch the announcement here).  This introduction represents a truly radical change in Microsoft’s mobile strategy and already it has been garnering very positive feedback from the public (read Engadget’s review here; my initial search on the Twitter tag #wp7s is extremely positive as well).  You can expect smart devices featuring Windows Phone 7 Series in time for the 2010 Holiday season.

    Background

    Over the past months (and even years!), Microsoft’s mobile strategy has been questioned and blasted as being yesterday’s news, with very little to bring to the table in today’s highly competitive mobility market.  In complete honesty, I really can’t disagree with a lot of the criticism.  While I am enjoying Windows Mobile 6.5 on my Samsung Omnia Pro II (the device is the best I’ve had in all the smart phones I’ve owned), the experience simply does not rival other mobile OS competitors in the space (notably the iPhone and Android, but also RIM’s Blackberry OS which has very strong traction in North America).

    The mobility space is undeniably the “new battleground” in computing.  True, the desktop and laptop computer space continually has iterations of improvement both in software and hardware but the industry has largely become commoditized.  The truth of the matter is that consumers, businesses, software vendors, developers and designers are all looking to the smart device market as the new frontier of computing and a focus for building useful, new and innovative software experiences.  Without a doubt, the market for smart device software has become white-hot.

    Microsoft’s Strategy with Windows Phone 7 Series:  The User Experience Comes First

    Microsoft believes that a user’s affinity with a given mobile platform is with the experience it provides.  That is to say, the platform allows the user to be the most productive and delighted when using the device.  While the hardware devices themselves are a large part of this experience (nobody wants a clunky-looking smart device), I would argue it isn’t the main reason people are intrigued and itching to get into the industry.  It’s the ability to create powerful user experiences through software that are driving this fervor in the mobile space.  The hardware in of itself can shift the paradigm (see:  iPhone) if the features of the handset have compelling functionality (such as the accelerometer and multi-touch), it’s the software that ultimately drives the experience and differentiates one mobility platform from another.  With this in mind, the Windows Phone 7 Series product team spent much of their time and focus making the experience as user-centric as possible, thereby making the user the most important part of the experience (see a video on this here – please note that you may be required to sign in to view it; the sign-up is free, however).

    To get a feel for what the Windows Phone 7 Series experience is like, check out the following video:

    Building Compelling User Experiences for Windows Phone 7 Series:  Designers and Developers are First-Class Citizens in this Process

    One thing Microsoft understands is its partner community.  You hear it coming from almost anyone who works at Microsoft:  we are successful only when our partners are successful.  As such, we are working hard to make sure that you, as a designer or developer, can build the best smart device experiences on our platform with minimal effort and minimum barrier to entry.

    Microsoft will be providing several compelling technologies to build great applications for Windows Phone 7 Series, many of which will use or build on skillsets designers and developers may already have. While as of right now, details on how to develop applications for Windows Phone 7 Series are a little light,  more application development details will be forthcoming at our MIX10 event March15th through 17th (if you register before February 21st you can save $200 off of the registration fee).  You can expect many more details throughout the coming months and in particular at MIX10 where several breakout sessions have been dedicated to the design and development of applications for Windows Phone 7 Series.

    As a Windows Phone 7 Series specialist from Microsoft Canada, I will be at this event, so if you have questions or want to book some time with me at the event, let me know!  I can be reached at paul<dot>laberge<at>microsoft<dot>com or via my Twitter handle, @plaberge.

    While I don’t have much information to share with you on the application design and development process yet, rest assured it is coming and once we have publicized that information I will be very happy to go through it with you in more detail.

    So, What’s in the Box?

    I’ve listed some of the most interesting features that will be included in Windows Phone 7 Series below.  While this is obviously not an exhaustive list, this should be enough to get you thinking about what the platform can do (for a more complete list of features, please check out Joey deVilla’s Windows Phone 7 Series blog post on the Developer Connection blog):

    • Capacitive Multi-Touch Screen:  The screen for Windows Phone 7 Series will feature 4-point multi-touch. 
    • Task-Centric UI:  The UI focuses around what is most important to the user rather than having to navigate through several apps to get to what you want.  This is accomplished through the use of…
    • Tiles: At first glance, tiles are just a fancy name for icons, but it’s much more than that.  A tile might take the form of an application’s icon, or, more intersesting, bits of user-centric information.  These tiles can be customised by the user to help get access to the information most important to him/her (example:  a tile linking to the user’s Facebook or Twitter profile).
    • Accelerometer and automatic screen rotation:  The ability to sense and capture motion from the hardware.
    • Games:  Yes, Windows Phone 7 Series will allow you to run/build games which can also include linkage to XBox Live
    • Consistency across hardware buttons:  Each Windows 7 Phone Series-enabled smart device will have 3 buttons – a Windows (aka:  “Start”) button, a Back button, and a dedicated Search button linking to…
    • Context-Sensitive Search:  Search allows you to find info locally to your smart device and also web search.  The search results are context-sensitive, meaning, for example, if you are looking for an address, it will launch Bing Maps.  If you’re looking for a email it will look for that email locally or on your email server.
    • Social capabilities:  You have the ability to manage and track your friends through your Windows Phone 7 Series smart device across multiple email clients and social networking applications.
    • A new version of IE:  Microsoft has stated that the browser included with Windows Phone 7 Series will be the most advanced browser we have produced.
    • Media:  The ability to store and play media (music, photos and video) is native to Windows Phone 7 Series.  If you are familiar with the Zune HD interface, this will look very familiar to you.
    • Mail and Calendar:  Very rich functionality associated with email and calendar functionality is included in the platform (which you would expect, of course!)

    Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list but it does provide a list of features that might be compelling to software developers and designers. 

    -Paul

  • Canadian UX Blog

    Heralding in the Immersive Online Olympic Experience in Canada

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    Today represents a very important day for our country – the start of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games.  Over the next 2 weeks, we are going to be witness to some incredible athleticism and stories with the world united through sport.

    I can remember vividly watching previous Olympic Games in front of the television, marveling at the sheer talent and determination of the Olympic athletes in their quest for not only Olympic medals, but also personal bests and the pride of representing their country.  The television networks did a very good job at covering all of the activity in a way that allowed you to maximize the Olympic experience from your living room.

    That being said, there are limitations associated with watching such a grand event on the television.  The sheer number of concurrent events means that you can’t always watch an event that you wish to see; the television network will carry events that give them the “best bang for the buck” (hey, they paid big money for the rights to broadcast the content so it only makes sense that high priority events take precedence over other events).  While, for the most part, this isn’t a huge issue, it does limit how you experience the Games in general.

    With the advent of rich media on the internet, we have an opportunity to truly shape how large events such as the Olympics will be viewed moving forward.  The fact that the internet is, by nature, interactive means that we have the ability to cater the viewing experience for an event to almost whatever you want it to be. 

    In 2008, Microsoft partnered with NBC in the United States to stream the Beijing Olympics via Silverlight, our rich online experience platform.  The results of this endeavour were beyond successful.  For example, in the 2 weeks of the 2008 Olympics, the Silverlight-powered NBCOlympics.com site experienced:

    • An average online viewing time per session of 27 minutes (the average viewing session time for internet video is around 3 minutes)
    • 1.3 billion page views
    • 50+ million unique visitors
    • 70 million video streams
    • 10 million hours of video watched 
    • An average of 5,000 on-demand video clips every day
    • Hundreds of highlights produced every day, delivered to all the major computer platforms (Windows, Mac OS X and Linux)
    CTVO_400x400[1] RDSo_400x400[1]
     Silverlight_h_rgb[1]

    With the success from this event, Microsoft has partnered with CTV and its affiliates to provide the same immersive experience for the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver that US-based visitors to NBCOlympics.com had for the Beijing Olympics (and, for the record, NBC has also renewed the partnership with Microsoft for these Olympic Games as well).

    When the games officially open on the evening of Friday, February 12, 2010, Canadians will be able to watch the Olympics from their computer through Silverlight.  This experience will allow Canadians full access to every event, both live and on-demand in High Definition with interactive features that will allow the user to select info on the athletes competing, multiple camera angles and the like. 

    To access this interactive multimedia portal, simply go to CTVOlympics.ca (for English content) or RDSOlympiques.ca (for French content). 

    In addition to the online video and immersive experience through these two portals, Microsoft has also partnered with CTV on a number of other 2010 Vancouver Olympic fronts.  For example:

    ie8_h2_rgb[1] Internet Explorer 8
    Download the customized IE8 browser (English, Français) for the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games.  Install and enjoy web slices for IE8 specific to the 2010 Vancouver Olympics experience, including Headline News (English, Français), Photos (English, Français) and Video (English, Français).  If you have IE8 but are unsure of how to install a webslice, check out this link to learn how.

    bing_rgb[1]

    Bing Visual Search and Instant Answers
    With Bing, you can search athlete profiles and Olympic events in a visual manner, making it fun and easy to find information pertaining to the Vancouver Games.

    Torch Relay with Bing Maps
    See where the Olympic torch has been and the route it has taken across our country to arrive at the Olympic stadium in an interactive way with Bing Maps.

    XBL[1]

    See On-Demand Content through XBox Live
    If you have an XBox Live Gold account, you can view on-demand content from the 2010 Olympics directly from your XBox 360 console.

    With the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, Microsoft, along with CTV, has provided a new world of interactivity for a truly immersive multimedia experience.  I think it’s fair to say that as we see more of these types of opportunities, we will be seeing a change in how we experience multimedia events both at home and abroad.

    - Paul

  • Canadian UX Blog

    A New Year and A New Beginning

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    "This is a hope for better year 2010." Designed by FahadQue from PakistanHappy 2010 everyone! I wish all of you a healthy, joyful, and successful new year.

    2009 has been a year of pursuing my dreams both personally and professionally. On the personal side, I had a fairytale wedding in my hometown in China. The wedding was a true mix of Eastern and Western cultures. On the professional side, I was searching for my next career step at Microsoft. It was not an easy year for a career move considering the economy. However, the hard work paid off in the end. I got a dream job to go with my dream wedding. :)

    I’ll be joining the Windows UX Team as a UX Program Manager. The Windows 95 GUI is what inspired me to get into computer science and design in the first place, so it’s always been my dream to work on the product. It’s also a great transition from my role as a UX Evangelist because I can bring the customer and partner feedback we received in the field to the engineering team and make a direct impact to our products. In my new role, I’m part of the team that’s building the User Experience for next version of Windows. I’m really looking forward to have the chance to improve billions of users’ PC experience.

    A new year is a new beginning and in my case I have a new family and job to start. It has been my pleasure to share stories from the community, new technologies, and UX design thoughts with you on this blog. I intend to continue blogging about design and technology and will let you know once I decide the location. In the meantime, feel free to follow me on Twitter: hundredflavour.

    Wish everyone the best for a prosperous 2010!

    image

    p.s. Check out the cool wallpapers for the new year from Smashing Magazine.

  • Canadian UX Blog

    Design Student of the Month - Dominika Ruszkowski

    • 1 Comments

    There are a lot of creative students in Canada who are doing innovative work to improve people's life through interactive, visual, informational, and other aspects of User Experience Design. I invited them to introduce who they are and share their work with you. To nominate a Design Student of the Month, email us. The Design Student of the Month for December 2009 is Dominika Ruszkowski . Congratulations!! Let's hear from Dominika.

    Design Student of the Month logopicture of Dominika Ruszkowski

    Who’s Dominika?

    Hello! :) My name is Dominika Ruszkowski and I am master's student at the University of Toronto in Toronto, Ontario. I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from the University of Waterloo.

    My favourite aspect of computer science is human-computer interaction, because of my passion for design and problem solving. The greatest satisfaction of human-computer interaction is to see that the user is happy with the end result.

    Apart from school, I am an avid figure skating fan and a member of the University of Toronto Blues Varsity Figure Skating team.

    What cool stuff is Dominika doing?

    a picture showcases performing zooming in PowerPoint on a HP TouchSmart running Windows 7

    My research area is human-computer interaction, with a focus on interactive techniques for the typical computer user in emerging computing environments such as multi-touch enabled display surfaces. My inspiration for this line of work steamed from one of my co-op terms where I interned with Microsoft on the Windows 7 Touch team. Being able to analyze and fine-tune the interaction techniques for the touch platform for Windows 7 was both exciting and very fun. Thus when I started my Masters I was very excited about researching interaction techniques in more depth, specifically utilizing mouse and touch together on a desktop computer (the picture showcases performing zooming in PowerPoint on a HP TouchSmart running Windows 7). The impact of my work will be beneficial for future designers as a baseline of understanding which interaction techniques are best used for specific environments.

    What are Dominika’s plans after graduation?

    After graduation I plan on going into industry and pursuing a user-experience related position. I am not your typical computer science student, as I really enjoy talking with users, fine-tuning requirements, and designing interfaces, then handing it off to development. Therefore user-experience is a very nice fit for me.

    Want to learn more about Dominika?

    My online portfolio can be found at http://www.cs.toronto.edu/~druszkow/ . You can drop me an email at dominikar@gmail.com

     

  • Canadian UX Blog

    MIX10 and Call for Content

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    Mix10 poster

    It’s not too early to think about MIX and MIX10 has a great theme – A Designer/Developer Love Fest for the Web. I’m expecting great sessions around the best practices of how designers and developers can work together creating innovative web solutions. With returning keynote speakers like Bill Buxton and Scott Guthrie, ready to be inspired by the future of web user experience design and the roles designer and developers play together in it. It’s the fifth year of the conference, and I’m happy to see the increasing number of UX sessions over the years. For example, here are some MIX10 UX sessions:

    The registration for MIX10 is live and you can get the early bird price and benefits till Jan. 15, 2010. More importantly, now is the time to submit your session proposals for the next MIX. The top 10 session proposals that are voted on by the community will be selected to present at this year’s event. Get your MIX ticket now!

    Technorati Tags: ,
  • Canadian UX Blog

    Visual Design for the Windows 7 Default Background

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    Ever wonder how we came up with the visual design for Windows 7 login and default background screens? My first impressions of seeing the visuals are energetic, fun, and different from previous Windows. Since then, I’ve been wanting to hear the design story behind the creation. Luckily, on the latest post of Windows 7 Team Blog , Denise Trabona, the Senior UX Lead from the Windows Design and Research team shared the story.

    screenshot of the Windows 7 background design video

    If you are interested in hearing about the design thoughts behind other backgrounds in Windows 7, you can check out this video. Especially, Denise talked about the design evolution of one of my favorite backgrounds below.

    image image

  • Canadian UX Blog

    Why are we happy?

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    A weekend treat for you… If you haven’t seen this profound talk from TED conference couple of years back, you should definitely check out. Although it’s not directly related to UX Design, it inspired me to think about why users are less satisfied with a UI when there are too many ways for them to accomplish certain tasks. Also, Dan Gilbert is great at connecting with audience by constantly anticipating their thoughts and reactions. Enjoy!

  • Canadian UX Blog

    50 Interactive Web Applications in Silverlight

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    There are many ways to embrace Silverlight’s rich interactive features on the web such as in online advertising, interactive e-learning, data visualization, gaming, etc. Recently, blog “Noupe” listed 50 Interactive Silverlight Applications to showcase the interactive experience can be accomplished by Silverlight. Here are some of my favorite ones.

    Online Classroom
    This application is a tutor.com sample online classroom having a better, faster and interactive way to communicate with online tutors.

    Online classroom in 50 Interactive Silverlight Applications

    WorldNews
    WorldNews is a free service webpage that can tell you what is happening in the world real-time using Silverlight.

    Worldnews in 50 Interactive Silverlight Applications

    Inkable Search Tip
    Write your search query in the Silverlight panel and then have your handwriting recognized and the query sent off to a search engine. If you have a stylus, this may be the most natural way to search the web.

    Searchtip in 50 Interactive Silverlight Applications

    And just in time for the holidays…

    Ecardoo
    This site is placed for you to create customized video ecard. You can search images on Flickr, and compose them in many ways you want.

    Ecardoo in 50 Interactive Silverlight Applications

    Check out the full list here

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  • Canadian UX Blog

    Silverlight 4 Beta Overview

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    Silverlight 4 logo

    It was just 5 months ago we shipped Silverlight 3. Last week at PDC, Silverlight 4 Beta was introduced. The rapid release cycle allows the team to act quickly based on developers feedback and to keep pushing Silverlight to be the best platform for delivering rich interactive and media content on the web. In Silverlight 4 Beta, I see more end-user features that were only available to client applications before. For example, Silverlight 4 supports right-click context menu, drag-drop from desktop to Silverlight app, and multi-level redo and undo. This allows users to transfer their knowledge of using client applications to the web. Device access support such as WebCam support will bring more richness to web applications. For instance, instead of sharing something with your friends on the web through a text email, you can send a video clip. The possibilities are endless.

    My colleague Joey DeVilla has a nice post on the Developer’s blog on Silverlight 4 features and resources. The best way to get an overview of Silverlight 4 is to watch Karen Corby’s PDC talk “Microsoft Silverlight 4 Overview.” Karen has many interesting demos in her talk to showcase Silverlight 4 features that you can download and play with from her blog. To get more details of a specific area of Silverlight 4, you can watch one of these PDC Silverlight sessions.

    Silverlight sessions at PDC

  • Canadian UX Blog

    Experience Office 2010 Beta

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    Office 2010 logo

    At PDC’s keynote yesterday, the general availability of Office 2010 Beta was announced. Everyone can try out this Beta for free. This is a comprehensive Beta set which not only includes Office the software but also Office Web Apps and Office Mobile. Even the companion Office website had a brand new design. Let me take you on a little tour to experience Office 2010 Beta.

    A Clean Design for Office Online Website

    I’m quite impressed by the visual design of this version of Office products. It’s lightweight, organic, and full of energy. The brand identity connects well among the Office online website, Office web apps and Office software. For example, below is the new design for the Office online site. It integrates Bing search throughout the site, there’s much less information presented on each page, and a clearer and more consistent layout. The old Office online site has a more corporate and product centric feel, so users may miss all the great resources presented on the site such as images and templates. The new design brings out these resources and makes a directly connection to Office Labs, which allows Office users to try additional innovative tools to increase their productivity.

    New Office Online website screenshot New Office Online website screenshot

    More Friendly Splash Screen 

    Excel 2010 splash screen

    Although splash screen is just a small component of any software design, it’s the first impression the software gives to user. I like how a user can close any Office 2010 software during splash screen rather than waiting for a complete start. The animation used in the splash screen is quite attractive which gives the perception of fast movement and energy. Perception is reality, so it’s important to make users feel the software is not idling but rather actively working. On Office 2010 splash screens, there are text indications to show users what the software is doing to start up. 

     

     

     

     

    More Usage of Ribbon UI

    Ribbon UI is widely used in Office 2010 to provide a consistent UI structure for users. My favorite Ribbon addition is in Outlook. There’s a feature called “Quick Steps.” I can add my own quick step according to my email behaviors. For example, I like to archive important Inbox mails to a local mail folder. Before I had to manually drag one or more mails to the archive folder, which takes time especially if have lots of folders in the folder hierarchy. In Outlook 2010, I set couple of quick steps so that after reading Inbox mails, I just need to click on a quick step, the mail(s) will go to the folder I want. It’s a big time saver.

    Outlook Ribbon screenshot

    Another feature that was nicely designed in Outlook was called “Social Connector.” Check out a demo on it here.

    Move Seamlessly Between Online and Offline

    This is something a lot of people have been waiting for – Office on the web. You want to edit your document anytime, anywhere, and be able to share with whoever you what. In Office 2010, it’s very easy to create a document on your computer and then save it to a shared location on the web. Here’s an example.

    I created a PowerPoint presentation called “Experience Office 2010 Beta.” I can save a local copy but I really want to share it with the public. So, I click on “File” button which takes me to the backstage of this file. I can save the file directly to my SkyDrive from PowerPoint 2010 (below left) rather than going online and uploading the file. Later on, I can access the file on my SkyDrive anywhere with internet access (below right). I can easily share the file as a link in an email or embed it on a webpage.

     PPT 2010 save to Skydrive screenshot skydrive screenshot

    If I click to view the file in browser, I can see my file as a slideshow (below left) or edit in the browser directly (below right). Notice in the Office Web App, the familiar Ribbon UI is still there. The “Open in PowerPoint” button is very obvious which allows me to edit the file back in PowerPoint if I want to access the full features in the client software.

    PPT 2010 web app preview ppt screenshot PPT 2010 web app edit ppt screenshot

    The office team has embraced the Software + Service model and aim to provide the best productivity experience across the PC, phone, and browser. So, what are you still waiting for? Experience Office 2010 Beta Today!

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  • Canadian UX Blog

    Research in Action at UofT

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    image of Research in Action event Yesterday I went to the research showcase at the UofT Computer Science department called “Research in Action (RIA).” It’s always an idea feast going to research open house, and there were lots of “delicious” projects served yesterday.

    Professor Steve Easterbrook showcased a number of projects his undergraduate students worked on to explore how computer can support collaborative science. One of them is called “Breadcrumbs” which allows scientists to save and share graphs of related web pages when browsing for related work. Steve also spoke at last week’s World Usability Day event in Toronto where he talked about the role of software in understanding and responding to the threat of climate change. You can follow his group’s ongoing research on his blog.

    image of a person using RearTypeI also got to try RearType during the tour (see the image on the right). It’s a text input system that allows you to type on the back of the device. “The aim is to ‘free up’ the front of the device, maximizing the use of a physical display, minimizing the need for an onscreen keyboard and resulting pixel occlusion, and providing a tactile and multi-finger method for text entry – with the potential for knowledge transfer from QWERTY.” I’ve been using my thumbs most of time now typing on a mobile keyboard. This design will allow me to use my all my fingers especially the non-thumb fingers. When using it, it actually feels like I’m playing an instrument like flute. :) This is a collaboration project between Microsoft and the university. 

    You can check out all the projects showcased yesterday at their website. Also, this is an annual event which you can go in-person next time.

  • Canadian UX Blog

    UX Research in Plain English

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    image of a dog teaching an owl speaking

    Picture taken from A List Apart

    I came across a great article last week on A List Apart about explaining UX Research in plain English. For UX professionals, we are so used to speak terms like “Contextual Inquiry,” “Task Analysis,” “Paper Prototyping,” etc. They are terminologies that are not intuitive to our clients or people in other disciplines. Sometimes they may have an idea of what we mean but not really. The article gives a handy cheat sheet that we can explain these terms in plain English and establish a clear understanding between us and our clients. Moreover, it highlights the business value of the activity. For example:

    Task analysis

    What it is in plain English: Observing how people take part in an activity, and then examining what they are thinking and what they are doing as they complete each task, step by step.

    Real-world example: A health-care company wants you to improve their claims-processing system. You observe their employees as they use the software to process claims. Then, you go through the process yourself, documenting each step required to fulfill every task. From that analysis, you make recommendations to streamline or improve the process.

    Business value: By conducting a task analysis to break down how customers use the website or application, and then using that information for process improvement, you can increase the number of site transactions and create operational efficiencies that save money.

    Task analysis provides input into: Personas, user flows, wireframes, navigation schema, the use case / requirements document, the content map, and the site map.

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  • Canadian UX Blog

    Happy World Usability Day 2009!

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    image

    Happy World Usability Day, everyone! May all your design projects have the best usability! :-)

    This year’s theme is “Designing a Sustainable World.” As the world is celebrating today, here are the events from Canada. I’ll be going to the Toronto chapter event and hope to see you there.

      • Ottawa World Usability Day, Ottawa,17:30 Canada/Eastern (Thursday 12th of November 2009 05:30:00 PM)

        CapCHI, Akendi and Macadamian Usability present an Ottawa World Usability event featuring local experts in the area of designing for a sustainable world. Keynote presentation by David Berman. Snacks and drinks will be provided. A trip to a local pub will follow the event.

      • Design@IBM: Usability Challenges of Building Smarter Cities, Toronto, 12:00 Etc/GMT-5 (Thursday 12th of November 2009 12:00:00 PM)

        Join us for a webcast, hosted by Karel Vredenburg (IBM User Experience Design Program Director), in celebration of World Usability Day's theme of "Designing for Sustainability".  John C. Thomas (IBM Research Scientist) will present "The Usability Challenges of Building Smarter Cities". 

      • Sunup to Sundown Design Slam, Vancouver, 08:00 US/Pacific (Thursday 12th of November 2009 11:00:00 AM) Sunup to sundown design slam where a group of Vancouver UX professionals will team up with an urban community garden to help them do more of the good work they do.

      • World Usability Day in Kelowna - Website Usability 101, Kelowna, BC, 11:00 Canada/Pacific (Thursday 12th of November 2009 02:00:00 PM)

        Is your website realizing its potential? How do you know? Enquiro is hosting a website usability clinic for local Kelowna businesses.

      • Halifax Ergonomics Interest Group WUD Meeting, Halifax, NS, 17:00 Canada/Atlantic (Thursday 12th of November 2009 04:00:00 PM)

        The Halifax Ergonomics Interest Group - special WUD meeting. Presentations, from ~5:10 pm - 6:10 pm to be followed by a networking / social session will follow with drinks and snack provided.

      • Free Expert Reviews of Customer Experience!, Ottawa, 09:00 Canada/Eastern (Thursday 12th of November 2009 09:00:00 AM)

        Neo Insight offer FREE, confidential 1-hour expert Customer Experience reviews on World Usability Day - Nov 12th

      • Usable Climate Science , Toronto, 19:00 US/Eastern (Thursday 12th of November 2009 07:00:00 PM)

        Presentation by Steve Easterbrook. How do we make climate science usable? Unless we do this, journalists, politicians and the public will be unable to judge whether proposed policy solutions are viable, and unable to distinguish sound science from misinformation. I will illustrate the talk with some suggestions of how we might meet this goal.

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    • Canadian UX Blog

      Cool Natural User Interface Demo from MSR

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      During this year’s college tour, our chief Research and Strategy Office, Craig Mundie, demonstrated how technology can help solve the world’s toughest problems. One of the demos is on Natural User Interface (NUI) in a search scenario (see the video below). I was very excited to see the demo because it combined a number of NUI elements such as gesture, speech, and even eye-tracking. If the future allows users to interact with technology in a number of ways (i.e. various input methods), then it’s really interesting to find out how users will accomplish their tasks at hands with a combination of these inputs. For example, as I’m writing this blog post with keyboard, I can say “Computer, search ‘Craig Mundie.” Or, if I want to send this demo link to a friend, I can say “Computer, create an email with XX link embedded to Joe.” I don’t need to stop writing and go to a search browser or an email client to do another task then come back. This speech interaction is independent of my writing flow and and allows me to multi-task. I would really like that!

    • Canadian UX Blog

      Digital Brand Experience Matters

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      a screenshot from FEED

      I came across FEED this morning, which is the annual report of the study Razorfish conducts on customer behaviors. The report this year focuses on understanding how digital is changing the way that consumers interact with brands. This is what they found out:

      [Digital] Experience matters. A lot. So much so that experiences are becoming the new advertising or marketing. And these experiences are having an inordinate amount of impact on how consumers perceive a brand and ultimately purchase products. Moreover, we also found that consumers are actively engaged with brands across the entire digital spectrum. Consumers may be in control but so are brands which are so deeply embedded in the culture that consumers can’t imagine not making them a part of their world — on Facebook, Twitter or even their own blogs.

      Although this is a marketing report, it’s an interesting read, a good example of a report design, and valuable information for UX professionals to know as well. I was impressed by how connected consumers are online and how much they are willing to follow a product/brand in their own social networking spaces (e.g. follow a product on Twitter and friend a product on Facebook). As UX Designers, we know the product experience matters. As the definition of “product experience” gets broader, part of the experience is how the product is perceived. It starts long before users use your products. For example, users want to interact with your brand through rich media and listen to what others are saying about your products especially from the people they trust. It’s a great opportunity where we can work with marketers to understand consumers’ behaviors (i.e. patterns, motivations, etc.), create digital experiences that engage them and get the best Return on Experience (ROE).

    • Canadian UX Blog

      Berlin Wall Photo Mosaic in Silverlight

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      As the World is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall today, a digital project is also underway to remember the historical moment. Thousands of pictures are posted by people in the community to create their impression of the fall of the wall. Check out the photo mosaic in Silverlight Deepzoom.

      screenshot of the Berlin Wall Photo Mosaic screenshot of the Berlin Wall Photo Mosaic

    • Canadian UX Blog

      A New Look for MSDN

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      With the announcement of Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2 availability couple of weeks ago, you probably notice the different look on MSDN (Microsoft Developer Network). Although the site’s main audience has been developers, recently I’ve found more designers are visiting the site to get knowledge on Silverlight, WPF, Windows 7, and other UX platform and technologies.

      First, we have a new logo for MSDN, which is called the Network Wave. I like the new logo design because it captures the movement of different pieces of developer knowledge coming together. :) It’s also an organic design that works well with the .NET 4, VS 2010, and Silverlight logos. It’s a cohesive branding for our development family.

        NET_h_rgb

      Besides the new logo and color theme of the site, the re-design is trying to address the following top use scenarios and improve the overall user experience:

      • Help users quickly solve their technical questions or find reference documentations
      • Connect and engage users on the site who have similar technical interests and connect MSDN users with product teams
      • Get users to the downloads they need fast
      • Connect users to the product so that they can easily provide feedback, get deep technical information about the product, and so on
      • Keep users updated with new technology information and enhance their learning experience

      For example, to help users quickly find technical reference, the new design improved discoverability by providing guidance for new developers and MSDN first-time visitors. See the diagram below.

      screenshot of a MSDN page 

      As the weeks to come, more improvements will be visible on the Canadian localized version of MSDN. Make sure you check out the new MSDN site and tell us what you think!

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    • Canadian UX Blog

      What’s in Store for Sharepoint 2010?

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      image

      Many details surrounding Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 were announced at the Microsoft SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas this week. One of Sharepoint2010’s top investment is on User Experience. It utilizes the Ribbiob UI which allows users to easily add, modify and interact with content on the site. In addition, it ships with a true multi-lingual user interface. Once you have the language packs installed and you set the appropriate languages on the sites, end users will be able to interact with SharePoint in the language of their choice. Also, there’s exciting investments in mobile devices. Check out Steve Ballmer’s keynote at the Sharepoint conference.

      This Monday, at the Microsoft Mississauga office you can learn about SharePoint 2010 at the inaugural meeting of the Mississauga SharePoint User GroupRob Windsor from ObjectSharp will take you through what’s new in SharePoint 2010.  The session will provide an overview of the product with a particular focus on what’s new for developers. You will learn about the new designers, explorers and templates and overall developer experience for SharePoint 2010. Along the way you’ll see several of the enhancements to the end-user experience including the ribbon, in-place editing, and the new page and dialog interface model.

      To register for the event, please go to https://www.clicktoattend.com/invitation.aspx?code=142514

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      Windows 7 is Here!

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      image

      Today is the day! As I’m waking up on the west cost this morning, the celebration of the worldwide availability of Windows 7 has long started from Tokyo, Munich, London, Beijing, Paris, Dubai, New York, and our own Toronto office. I thought to gather some Windows 7 launch related facts and resources below for you on this post.

      • In celebration of Windows 7, more than 800,000 people will join in the celebration by gathering at house parties to share their enthusiasm for Windows 7 with family and friends.
      • Starting today, Windows 7 and Windows 7 PCs are available in more than 45,000 retail stores around the globe, including our first-ever Microsoft-branded retail store in Scottsdale, Arizona. This Microsoft Store and the corresponding online store at http://microsoftstore.com will offer PCs, accessories, and third-party software directly to consumers
      • Windows 7 breaks Amazon UK pre-order volume record, ousts Harry Potter
      • You can follow the Canadian Windows 7 conversation on twitter by searching for hashtag #cdnwin7.
      • Today, the Channel 9 Team launched a new Online Windows 7  learning course.
      • If you are developing for Windows 7, you may want to check out the Windows 7 Training Kit for Developers. It includes 14 different modules, with a total of 32 different labs.
      • Don’t forget that the official Windows UX Interaction Guidelines is your friend of building high quality and consist user experience for Windows-based applications.

      Go Windows 7!

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    • Canadian UX Blog

      Steve Ballmer on “The Hour” Tonight!

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      steve_ballmer_snoop_dogg

      What a great way to come back from my vacation other than celebrating Windows 7 releasing tomorrow! Our company CEO Steve Ballmer is in town and on tonight’s episode of CBC’s news show The Hour, Steve will have an one-on-one conversation with George. Should be a great interview and a chance to get to know this visionary leader behind Microsoft.

      The Hour airs on CBC tonight at 11 p.m. Eastern.

    • Canadian UX Blog

      Explore Design is Back! – Part II

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      image

      In Part I of the Explore Design post, I introduced the student lounge we are presenting this year. In this post, I’ll introduce you the presentations from Microsoft and our partners to watch out at the conference. It’s less than two weeks away!

      Two Keynotes

      Oct. 14 @ 11:00am: Experience Design by Sara Diamond

      Apple! BMW! Umbra!  These brands offer a seamless and pleasurable adventure with their products. The method is ‘experience design’, a process that starts with an understanding of who you, the user of a product is, what your needs and culture is, and then creates a product that not only meets but exceeds your expectations.   This talk traces the shift towards product as experience in the digital century, explores examples of tools and interactions used to facilitate experience design in the design process.

      clip_image001

      Sara Diamond is the President of the Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD), Canada's foremost university of art and design. She holds degrees from Canada and the United Kingdom in social history, communications, digital media theory and computer science. She is currently a member of the Ontario Ministry of Culture's Minister's Advisory Council on Arts & Culture, the Board of Directors of the Toronto Arts Council Foundation and of ORANO, Ontario's high speed network. She is a founding member of CONCERT and the Chair of the OMDC funded Mobile Experience Innovation Centre. She has received numerous research awards for her work in visualization, mobile content design, wearable technologies and collaborative tools. She is a visualization software researcher and developer www.codezebra,net <http://www.codezebra,net/> .  Diamond created and was Editor-in-Chief of www.horizonzero.ca <http://www.horizonzero.ca/> , an on-line showcase for new media art and design, in collaboration with Heritage Canada.  Diamond participates in peer review publication and diverse editorial boards such as Leonardo on-line and Convergence. She provides media consulting to Heritage Canada, SSHRC, CFI, Industry

      Canada, CHRC and DFAIT, as well as international governments, institutions and agencies as diverse as China, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Argentina, Finland, Australia, Brazil and the USA.

      Prior to her presidency at OCAD Diamond was the Director of Research for the prestigious Banff Centre. She created the renowned Banff New Media Institute (BNMI) in 1995 and led it until coming to Toronto in 2005. Diamond developed international summits and business development workshops and accelerators that explored the near future of new media. She built alliances between artists, designers, architects, scientists, social scientists, and international and Canadian businesses. Diamond taught at Emily Carr Institute of Art & Design, The California Institute for the Arts and remains Adjunct Professor, University of California, Los Angeles in the Design/Media Department. In 2007 she was named one of Canada's fifty most significant artists as part of the Canada Council's fiftieth anniversary celebration.  Her work resides in collections such as the National Gallery of Canada, where she was honored with a retrospective in 1992 and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

      Oct. 15 10:00am: User experience: a part of everyday life by James Horgan

      A discussion of some of the real world examples of good (and bad!) user experiences. Learn how user experience design is part of today's software development and the various techniques and tools used to create an original and useful interactive product. Find out how Infusion is working with Microsoft to create exciting new paradigms in gestural computing.

      clip_image003

      James Horgan is a Masters graduate with distinction in Interactive Design from Central Saint Martin's College of Art and Design, London, UK ‐ one of the world's leading design colleges. A product designer and information architect for some of Europe's top technology companies in the fields of software, finance and education he has also worked for recognized North American brands including Pfizer, Microsoft and Ford, and has won two design awards for his work. Currently he is the User Experience Director for Infusion Development, working on creating innovative interactive solutions for both Microsoft Surface (he helped design and develop Infusion's first Microsoft Partner application) , and creating new applications designs for international clients. He holds several interactive design patents and copyrights.

      Seminar speakers:

      Oct. 14 @ 1:00pm: Bing for Today by Stacey Jarvis

      Do you Bing?  Well if you haven’t tried it – you are behind the times. Stacey will take you through an in-depth look at Search – past & present – and the cool new search user experience  recently released on Bing, including the latest in 3D maps imagery.  Plus, find out how you can incorporate Bing, or Bing maps directly into your web design.

      clip_image005

      With over thirteen years experience in search marketing, Stacey Jarvis is no stranger to Search. She joined Microsoft Canada in 2007 as a member of the launch team for adCenter in Canada and for the past three years, has been working with the Search team at Microsoft. In her current role, Stacey oversees the all-up Microsoft search business in the Canadian market which includes product development, marketing strategy, competitive analysis and consumer research.

      Prior to Microsoft, Stacey worked with global agencies Wunderman and Lowe Worldwide with a focus in online media, SEO, SEM and direct and interactive relationship marketing.

      Oct. 15 @ 1:00pm: What makes a game fun? A good story and a good design. By Christian Beauclair

      Have you ever thought you could write the next big game title for a console? Or thought you could have done a better job at a console hit. Are you considering a job in making games? This session is for you. We will look at what it takes to design a compelling game and you will be surprise by the results. You’ll also see XNA 3.1 in action. A platform to design your own game in the comfort of your home for a PC or an Xbox 360. Come experience a little bit of the world of game designing with us.

      clip_image004

      Christian Beauclair is a senior Developer Advisor at Microsoft Canada. He's been with Microsoft for over 15 years in three main roles. He's been a consultant with lots of experience in the public sector, working with large departments like Correctional Service Canada, Revenue Agency and the Department of Foreign Affairs on large scale software development projects and infrastructure deployments. In sales, he was a Technical Specialists working closely with customers to help them achieve their business goals by helping identify the right solutions. In this capacity he's worked more than 3 years on the Public Safety portfolio.

      Now as a developer advisor he shares his passion for software development and its different facet with the Canadian ICT community. He has coded in Modula-2, xBase, VB, VB.NET and now C#. His passion also extends to games and various collectibles. He was also one of the major contributors to the creation of the Ottawa .NET user community and still sits on its steering committee.

      He holds a Public Executive Program degree from Queen's University and a collegiate diploma from Ahuntsic College in Montreal. He's spoken at many conferences, like Comdex and MIGS and won Consultant of the year and best worldwide Developer Advisor.

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