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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.