Pages Navigation Menu

Making Technology Work For People

Moving to Austin

Posted by on Jul 28, 2013 in News | Comments Off

austinskyline

After spending the last eleven years in San Francisco and Seattle, we decided it was time to get some more sunshine and get closer to our families to the east. Tomorrow we move to Austin.

Read More

Almost Famo.us

Posted by on Mar 5, 2013 in Flash, Flex, News, Silverlight, Technology, WPF | Comments Off

Famo.us My bad play on words aside, Famo.us really is almost famous. I say “almost” because it’s a closed beta and there are several things that might hold it back. It appears that it doesn’t work on any version of IE yet and it’s not clear if that’s in the plans or not. It also gets its performance from making an end-run around a lot of CSS, using matrix3D transforms to GPU-accelerate various operations. The end result is some code that is pretty obtuse looking and not very semantic. You can’t argue with the results though. I’m speaking in broad terms here but you can google for a preso they did late last year that delivers a good overview of what they’re up to. The other big question in my mind is how the more standards-focused folk will feel about this.

But what is Famo.us? It’s a javascript library that brings optimized performance to the types of apps that we were building in Flash, WPF, and Silverlight years ago. I was surprised by how excited I was to see this today. More than ten years ago, I was building some pretty advanced UIs in web pages using Flash that even now are impossible with pure HTML and CSS. Famo.us looks to be a way to bring UI innovation back into web browsers without plugins. If so, I’m pretty sure I won’t be the only one excited about the possibilities.

I’m curious how this will all play out with Responsive Design and Progressive Enhancement though. It’s still a beta so we’ll have to wait and see.

Read More

The Rise of the UX Expert

Posted by on Jan 20, 2013 in Art/Design, News, UX101 | Comments Off

User Experience

Hot on the heels of the New York Times article last week, we have this computerworld article about the rise in demand and salaries for UX experts. The article talks about all the usual suspects: Apple, mobile, designer/developer hybrids, the difficulty finding and hiring such folks, and—oddly enough—all the perks that are supposedly being lavished on UX designers. Sounds great, where do I sign up?

Seriously though, it warms my heart to hear such talk. Designers of all type have long been under-appreciated by corporate America. Here’s to hoping that all of this leads not only to more and better employment for designers but also to better products for businesses and consumers.

Read More

Design Trends: Nouveau Vintage

Posted by on Jan 16, 2013 in Art/Design, News | Comments Off

Scary Noises vintage logoI can’t resist the trend in design right now. You know the one I’m talking about—everything looks like it’s 1911 all over again. Technically, there are more geometric and grotesque typefaces, more of an emphasis on lettering (and type that looks like lettering), and lots of monochromatic design. I’ve temporarily ditched my site logo mark (the exclamation point with sound waves emanating) and just gone with the flow for now. Trends come and go but when one swells up that you happen to personally dig, you have to jump in before the wave is over.

What’s the significance of 1981? That’s not when I started this blog (that was 2004); it’s when I designed my first apps.

Read More

Steven Sinofsky: Microsoft’s controversial Mr. Windows

Posted by on Oct 23, 2012 in News, Silverlight, WPF | Comments Off

This pretty much outlines why I didn’t blog for my last couple years at Microsoft…

Read More

Error 37 is a UX fail and a PR Win

Posted by on May 15, 2012 in News | Comments Off

#Error37 is trending as a top term on twitter right now. What is that? It’s the error code for the recently released Diablo III game from Blizzard. And it’s a total UX fail. Twelve years in the making, they say, and yet they didn’t implement a waiting queue? It’s 2012 and the best they could do on their launch night was a popup dialog box with an error code? Really? Literally, millions of people stared at that dialog box over and over before just turning in to bed. I actually got past the dreaded Error 37 only to find out that there’s just another line of errors behind it. Error 3007, Error 3005, and Error 300008, for instance. In their defense, I will say that I’ve never been able to type in and be rejected by an authentication system as fast as in Diablo III. Because just like better failure experiences, performance is a key component of the user experience of software. In this case, it gives all new meaning to the phrase “fail faster”.

Error 37 Diablo

That said, you just can’t buy the kind of free publicity that Blizzard will get out of this. Well, you could but it’d be expensive. And before long, people will just remember that the game was really popular and there were long lines.

But maybe Blizzard is feeling enough heat at the present moment that they’ll implement a better ux than just an error popup dialog next time. And hopefully it’s a good lesson to all of us in the industry that predicting common failures/errors and handling them gracefully is part of what makes great experiences for customers.

Read More