Shane MIX 07 Well, after three and a bit very enjoyable years it’s time to sign off from Microsoft.

Back in 2006 when Frank Arrigo hired me as one of Microsoft’s first User Experience Evangelists, we had a simple, exciting, and challenging, mission:

  • To make Microsoft relevant to designers, and to make design relevant to Microsoft developers.

Since then we’ve made some great progress. Back in 2006 Microsoft’s designer toolset featured Microsoft Paint :-). Now:

  • We are up to the third release of Expression Studio
  • Sketchflow is being widely adopted as we speak
  • There have been three (almost four) releases of Silverlight
  • Surface has been launched
  • Windows Presentation Foundation has been introduced
  • And a whole lot more.

But much more importantly, it’s great to report that the level of interest in design and user experience amongst Microsoft developers, partners and customers has never been higher. At the end of the day the tools and platforms are only a means unto an end. It’s what people do with the technology (regardless of who made it) that really matters.

I joined Microsoft because this role gave me a chance to share my passion for creating great user experiences with an entirely new audience of passionate, talented software developers. For me, it was time to take the message beyond the usual audience of ‘converts’ and get the message out to the broader community of people who build digital products – to ‘evangelise’, if you will. That’s what Microsoft provided, in spades, and I’m very grateful.

The Microsoft UX story is in great shape, and poised for even greater greatness.

The Plan

So in a nutshell, my plan is to put my money where my mouth is and get back out there working with companies to help them make great interactive products and services. I’ll be working for myself again, and providing consulting, mentoring and training to organisations in user experience design and, yes, Microsoft UX tools and platforms.

While I don’t plan to do exclusively Microsoft jobs, I hope to get a lot of Sketchflow, Silverlight, Surface and WPF work. So far, interest is high and I already have my first gig lined up, so here’s hoping…

You can find me from now on at:

The schmaltzy thank you bit

Most of the people I want to acknowledge from my time at Microsoft have heard from me personally, but I just wanted to highlight a few in a more public forum.

  • Michael Kordahi made working at Microsoft the most inspiring and rewarding three years of my life. Kordesy provoked me to do better, think deeper and be more awesome on a daily basis. It was exhausting! Dude, I hope  I will be lucky enough to to work with you in future.
  • Frank Arrigo took the chance on hiring one of those design-y types in the first place, and then proceeded to set the standard about what evangelism means. Thanks Frank.
  • Anna Liu taught me for the first time in my life that management, when done well, is a noble profession that genuinely makes a difference. Microsoft as a whole deserves credit here as well. It wasn’t ‘til I joined Microsoft that I learned the full potential of ‘management’.
  • Finally, the entire Expression Blend team. As I said to them in an internal email: Thanks for making a product that gave me a reason to join Microsoft, and then thanks for making it so good that I also had a reason to leave Microsoft! From the outset I’ve firmly believed that Microsoft’s approach to integrating design into the software development lifecycle is game changing, and incredibly empowering for folk like me.

So that’s it. Thanks to all of you who read this blog and contributed. I hope to see and hear from many of you on the ‘outside’. Keep in touch…

Shanemo

(oh, that’s the other thing I’m grateful for! For the first time in my life I have a nickname!)