The kids' games?.. the games before they had computers...

Jaime Rodriguez
On Windows Phone, Windows Presentation Foundation, Silverlight and Windows 7

The kids' games?.. the games before they had computers...

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[Note, there is no technical value,  to this read, so if you wanted your tech juice,skip to a post not tagged as nonsense] ...

The last 3 weeks were crazy..  First Vista shipped and we had a big last minute push for apps to make it to the finish line ( TF1, FNAC, OTTO, Fotoquelle, etc. ) ...  after that I had 3 days of quiet chaos, preparing a couple talks and helping organize lab logistics for an internal conference we had at Microsoft (like an internal TechEd)..  and last week I spent the whole week talking [and a lot of listening] to people about WPF adoption...  [wow, there is a lot of that out there]...

Last week, I thought I should write a blog about where we are at, what I heard from the field, etc.. but the went by and so far I have not managed [tried twice for an hour each] to put a cohesive story together..   UX, busines value, digital lifestyle,  technology at POS, architecture, etc... WAAY too much ...  (it could be a book if I had any writing skills)... 

Since I want to start blogging about technology again, I will delay or partition those into multiple posts and summarize it with a real-life story..

Months ago, I took my 2 nephews (11 and 14) to "GameOn" a museum-like exhibit showcasing the history and culture of video games.. once there, I wanted to go play Pac-Man and all they wanted to play were this 2003+ games ( Xbox 360 and the likes ) ...   

My 11 year-old nephew told me "you just want to play the kids games" .... and  the 14 year old corrected him "those are not the kids games you fool, those are the games from back when there was no computers"...

I think that summarizes where we are at with regards to UX ...  in a number of years, we will be remembering OSes like Windows 9x, ATMs with green interfaces, static cardboard maps at the mall,  plain HTML pages, etc... and thinking "those were the interfaces before we had video cards"...  

That end  is clear, but the how-to-get there and how far are we, is not ..  If you split it into many posts, the [not deeply thought on ] list comes  to:

  • The business value of UX ..   and the pressures for UX -- would you buy a TV with out a remote control? Do they sell them?  [is DVRs? a better example]  
  • The convergence of all technologies and content channels into a digital lifestyle -- more than digital home for the record, I think POS and other business uses will contribute-  has the bar for interfaces been raised?
  • The business imperatives of our new connected world - competition, differentiation, etc.-
  • The battle for [user] attention   .... is this the same from line above?  
  • The long-term future of the "browser" ...  I think the people that always called it "thin client" had it right, emphasizing client...
  • Next gen applications development ( designer role, declarative models,  web-like deployment)..
  • Are the pipes fat enough to really go web based? is that really the ideal model? 
    We went crazy here in Seattle when the lights were out... yet I still needed to check my off-line email to know when to pick up my family from the airport (thanks to batteries of course).  To me, going web-based feels like going with out a refrigerator [could be done, but not effective], stll don't get the up-take ;( 
  • If the UX era has started.. Is Microsoft ready for it??  Flash has been around for years.. and creative people have created some amazing stuff with it, yet I have no creative skills so when I use the tool I think "wow, how do people do this?" and then I hear the words "lotsa Actionscript" ... this is ok for websites like nike.com, but is it worth it in smaller scale?  [no disrespect or attack meant for flash here, I think Flash is good for a lot of things but I have a different background]
  • Devices (mostly thinking of phones/pdas , but also cars, TVs) ... what needs to happen there?  will it?

OK.. see why I am going crazy, I could continue with the list ... but let's stop there...  the ubermost question is "have we crossed the UX chasm yet? is there no turning back?" ...  I am leaning towards 'we have not crossed the chasm yet, but there is also not turning back... it is inevitable' .. does that make sense? it does not help that I last read crossing the chasm 5 years ago...  

Thoughts? sorry for the non-sense.. I truly needed this to get back in the game.. it helps me!

For the record, this is written on Live-writer (beta)..  I guess I am eating the pudding already...  My thoughts on Livewriter so far:

  • The editor is not as good as I expected. but I hope it improves quicker than the community server editor.. since it is a richer platform.
  • I do like being able to work off-line..
  • A few other tasks are more convenient, for example inserting images, avoids tons of lame round-tripping
  • The spell checker could be useful.. but it does not like quotes and parentheses and I abuse this.. so I am struggling with this..