January, 2007

  • Canadian UX Blog

    Are you our next User Experience Advisor!!!


    Ok, cool the conversation has work and Mark is in!   Check out his post User Experience / Design and Innovation On The Web!  Alright.... it wasn't hard to convince him, I just had to give him enough support and information to get MS corp on side... and he had done it!   Can you tell, I'm happy.  I can't wait to get the right person hired and really need the help from the community to get this right person that resonates!

    So, here's my first crack at the job description.... Thoughts?  Any input would be great.




    Canadian User Experience Advisor

    Do you have a right User Experience DNA?  Can you talk passionately about “Design and why it matters. Seriously, this is about PASSION.  Do you care about the way design affects every person on the planet … from consumer plastic goods sold at Target that are distinctive and cool, to restaurant menus that optimize the layout of food offerings to up-sell customers … design is everywhere, and if it’s your passion then I want you to join our team!

    I’m looking for a User Experience Advisor to represent Microsoft in Canada.  This role is really important to us, as we realize that the notion of “User Experience” lies at the center of Microsoft’s continued long term success as a platform company.  As such, I’m not taking this position lightly.  I am looking for someone with great industry experience to ensure we are sharing the right vision, going in the right direction and helping build market credibility.    In this role, it’s your mission to engage with the broad community of designers, Web Agencies and other influential users to drive excitement around design related technologies for both the standards-web and Windows platform.  You will be our senior representative to the designer/user experience community sharing stories, highlighting solutions and unlocking the potential of the platform allowing our customers to build rich, immersive, compelling end-user experiences that stand-out and differentiate them in the industry. 

    You must be able to talk about both design technology and the business value of great design in the software industry. You will be having many compelling and enthusiastic conversations to audiences within the design/user experience ecosystem, including designers and production artists, producers and client/services managers, as well as creative directors and general management.  As such, you need to have skills which allow you to engage in technical dialog with more traditional “development” organizations such as ISVs and IT departments, where the art and business of “design/user experience” is less understood and developed. 

    It’s about showing what’s possible.  It is already well understood by industry that consumer facing applications such as e-commerce, media applications, and marketing websites, better software “UX” leads to more meaningful customer connections and long-term brand loyalty.  However, software UX’s value is not limited to these scenarios—the business value of UX is evident in all classes of software including traditional enterprise line-of-business applications such as CRM, ERP, etc., where UX delivers greater customer productivity and comprehension, which directly improves satisfaction and increases utilization. 

    To design and build these new software experiences, the “creative professional” audience is a critical component of the development process.  These “designers” are the driving creative force behind the look and feel aspects of a user interface, as well as the usability, information visualization, and interactivity modeling that are central to the best applications being built today.  In order to realize improved software UX, these designers will need to be empowered to design and build the best possible content in the most productive and efficient collaborative environment together with professional developers. 

    So who are you?  You could be a Producer, Client/Services Manager or creative director within the creative services industry.  Perhaps you are working a small or large creative agency/service organizations that specialize in producing creative work on projects for various mediums, including but not limited to Web, software application design, industrial design, and video/print.  You have several years of experience engaging with customers, managing relationship, and leading creative projects from customer acquisition through delivery of final solution.  Some of your skills might include:

    • Selling “user experience”, such as being able to quantify the business value of a creative project.  This includes strong understanding of design driven business metrics such as brand favorability, purchase conversion, usability, information clarity, and messaging and campaign development.
    • Assessing technology requirements for a creative project, such as evaluating different tools and platform capabilities and matching up appropriate technology to a project to meet final creative and business objectives.
    • Strong presentation and influencing skills, clear communication verbal and written, ability to pitch and lead/affect opinions, great client/relationship management abilities.
    • Strong insights into the creative process, gained from many years of working through and delivering creative solutions.  This can range from Creative Directors are senior creative professionals who oversee creative processes that span multiple creative disciplines and mediums.
    • You have many years of experience leading teams and participating as individuals in multi-faceted creative projects, with an emphasis or strong component around web and interactive projects. 
    • Brand development, content development (such as print, video, web materials), strategy development for marketing campaigns and advertising, information design and visualization


    • Able to engage and build relationship with designers including participating in online and offline designer communities, engaging with influential’s and third party communities.
    • Able to deliver articulate, effective, and audience-appropriate presentations / demonstrations with designer oriented content to both small and large audiences
    • Extend reach in the designer community by partnering with Audience Marketing.
    • Win the hearts of Designers to build positive perception of Microsoft with designers and our products.
    • Maintain knowledge of multiple versions of the same product and speak to future releases


    • Experience with professional design tools, the market and customers for these tools, or as a professional designer/developer in the interactive and web design space is strongly preferred.
    • Production experience as part of a team building / delivering web and interactive content and applications, either in a creative or technical capacity.
    •  5 – 8 years related experience:
    • Demonstrated expertise with products such as: Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash, Dreamweaver, Director, and other professional design tools for photography, video, 3d, animation, and layout is a requirement.
    • Technical skills should include web standards expertise (HTML, CSS, XML, AJAX), and interactive programming with scripting languages eg. Javascript, Actionscript, Lingo, or Flex.
    • Passionate about rich internet applications, web design, interactive design, and user experience in all mediums from software to consumer products
    • Individuals may come from either a Technical or Creative background if they possess reasonable capacity in the other.
    • Flexibility in regards to work schedule and travel
    • Strong communication and negotiation skills
  • Canadian UX Blog

    Momentum is building


    I've spent the last week selling the need for another UX Advisor in Canada.  As I highlighted in a previous I feel passionate that having someone with great industry experience in Canada that could support the community and share their learning's is a great way show that we are serious about UX! 

    Mark RelphSo...... it's getting closer to being a reality!  I've managed to convince most of my colleagues of the need and benefit and now I'm just waiting for my boss Mark Relph   to make a decision!

    In advance of his decision I want to be ready to hire the right person!  As such, I've already done most of the required logistics and submitted the HR details.  (shh don't tell anyone but I think they have already put up the role posting on our Canadian Career site.) 

    I'm getting a little ahead of myself, but I'd rather say I'm sorry then not go for it!


  • Canadian UX Blog



    I was reading a great post on Jay Cross's Internet time blog on Nanocasting.  I really liked the approach and found that the quick sound bites to got you thinking. 

    Check out the links and see what you think! Jay's post (Nanocasting: http://internettime.com/?p=796) and Mark Oehlert's example on Second Life & Open Source.

     As an FYI, by the initial definition, a nanocast is:
    • 5 minutes or less in duration
    • Impromptu, not scripted.

    take care,


  • Canadian UX Blog

    Social Hiring the UX Intern - my learnings


    I know..I know.  I've been remiss in keeping everyone up to date on the hiring process.  The reality is that we were swamped with great resumes and interested individuals.  It was really hard to keep up and as such, I've learned quite a bit about social hiring.  So the good news.... I'm excited as I'm pretty close to hiring someone! 

    As well, I thought that I'd share some of my first thoughts and earnings.  While not really scientific or complete, have a look and feel free to comment.

    1. You have to be true to word  and transparent in your actions:  This was my first learning and I have to thank some of the UXIrregulars for their guidance.... especially Audrey and Kerri.  It was important to make sure we were true to the UX community and to look for someone that they can connect with that had the passion for UX.
    2. If you make a promise... you have to keep it: This was the time consumer for me.  While I learned so much and am excited about the future for Canadian UX, especially given the students I've met...it took a lot of time.  I interviewed personally just over 30 people, had the team interview about 10 and went over hundreds of resumes.   It was worth it, yet the unplanned time really posed an unexpected challenge.  I really hope that I didn't miss anyone as I tried to keep true to my promise.
    3. While everyone was social... they all weren't all public:  This one surprised me. I would have thought many more students would have wanted to share their story.    As I have to respect each person privacy, I didn't get the opportunity to post all the candidates on the blog.  I found that their was quite a few people that like the open and social aspect....yet didn't want to share their stories in the public. 
    4. Community, Community and more community: Hiring someone that is new to the industry in such a public fashion can not or should not be done without community support.  I can't believe the support I've received, guidance and direction from the community.  I really do want to make sure we really are changing the way Microsoft is connecting with the UX community. I definitely owe a few beers to many people and I know that they will make the intern feel at home.
    5. Hiring someone for this role right out of school is HARD!: UX is a special set of skills that attracts only a select few.  They are storytellers, artists, futurist, and massively creative.  They can see a big picture and share that with other in a way us common folk can understand, touch and feel... just what could be.  Hiring someone without some level oa a foundation of experiences was challenging.
    6. People have a hard time talking about themselves: Many individuals were good at saying what they did, how they did it and show off what they did.... but they weren't willing to put themselves in a position of why they were the best person for the role, what they bring, why they are excited....basically they did their best to avoid talking about themselves.
    7. Intern is a good start, yet someone with great industry experience would help: I've received great feedback that hiring an intern and having them learn and share openly with the community is a great approach and supported by the community.... yet I've learned from my conversations... it really is a peer environment and the community looks to each other for learning.  If I'm going to stay true to my commitment to the community, I reallly think we need to give more back.  Having a few drinks with David just before Xmas, I shared my thoughts with him.  Our conversation really made it clear to me. We really should be giving more back to the community in various ways.  If we really care about UX in Canada, I have to invest in someone with great industry expereinces that can share the stories based their learning with their peers and broad community. 

    This is  really a cool journey and I have so many people to thank.  I think this last few months have been one of the most memorable times, with great conversation, met many smart people, had some strong learnings and this just the start.  I'm proud to be a Canadian in the IT profession and I can't wait to see what the future brings.   Hey as I always say, life conspires to help you.... you just have to pay attention and then DO something. 

    My Action Items:

    • Convince my Boss and Corp that we need another position in Canada.
    • Identify other areas were we can support the community
    • Buy some beers for new friends!

    take care,



  • Canadian UX Blog

    Net Generation Yahoo Messenger


    Pretty cool, check this out!  Scott Guthrie bolgs about some cool stuff at CES.


    Next Generation Yahoo Messenger built with WPF and .NET

    At the Consumer Electronics Show this week, Yahoo showed off some cool demos with their next generation messenger client (you can watch a video of it in action at http://messenger.yahoo.com/vista).  One of the really cool things about the new messenger client is that it was built using Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) and the .NET Framework.

    If you are interested in learning more about WPF I'd also highly recommend subscribing to "theWPFBlog"


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