Saturday, March 21, 2009
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Do you have a question about how to do guerrilla testing? Are you wondering how to do UX in an agile environment? Are you trying to cope with a strategy for rolling out UX in your company? Do you long to become a UX designer? Do you have a movie metaphor you want to share?
Do come out and connect with your fellow UX folks and help build a thriving UX community in Waterloo region.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Even better than the panel discussion was the series of presentations made by teams of students showcasing UX-related projects that they have been working on. There were some great idea on display, as well as effective communication of those ideas.
There was also time to mingle and meet people, sharing stories and interests, which brings me to the point of this post.
For me a satisfying and rewarding career is a gift, one that really ought to be shared. Whenever an opportunity to participate in an event like this presents itself, I make an effort attend. I get a chance to meet interesting people, and share whatever I have with whomever might be interested. An event like this is, in its best form, all about giving, whether it's time or knowledge or introductions or whatever else we have. The conversations and shared experiences can be wonderful.
There's occasionally a further benefit. As it turns out, a perfect alignment of the stars has led to one of the student presenters at this UX Forum coming on board at Primal Fusion for a summer position with our UX team. This outcome obviously can't happen on a regular basis, but it did on this occasion. Students and industry practitioners, do take note!
Saturday, March 7, 2009
Here are some more details from the organizers:
- Listen to guest speaker's discuss User Experience Design and Interaction Design related topics
- Network with leading industry experts
- Showcase your work
- Get feedback from industry experts
- Connect with fellow digital design enthusiasts
- Learn more about Microsoft Windows 7
- Learn more about becoming a User Experience designer
- Showcase your 4th year design project, or even your own pet project
March 11, 2009 from 5:00 – 8:00 pm
Tatham Centre, Room 2218, University of Waterloo
To attend this free event, RSVP via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting ic.infusionangels.com.
If you’re interested in presenting there will be cash prizes of $250.00 awarded to the most innovative project and to the best presentation. For more information or to sign up as a presenter please contact Monica Tsang.
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Last night I attended a public lecture by Rob Cook, vice president of software engineering at Pixar Animation Studios. The lecture was organized by the Perimeter Institute as part of their public outreach program. Rob talked about how Pixar makes movies, with a bit of a spotlight on how physics (of the classical, not quantum, kind) is introduced to a cartoon world.
I'm a big Pixar fan, and recognized many of the processes and methods that Bob presented from my close scrutiny of the special features on various Pixar DVDs. He had a couple of striking ideas that I hadn’t previously encountered, though, that to me feel as relevant to user experience designers as to film makers.
The first is his take on John Lasseter’s assertion that “Art challenges technology but technology inspires the art”, which is a comment on how the artists and technologists work together at Pixar. Rob’s spin on this was, roughly, that the artists don’t know that it’s impossible, and the technologists are too proud to admit that it is and so deliver it. What user experience designer hasn't been told by a developer that a design is just not possible, only to see it delivered? Conversely, what developer hasn't been given an 'impossible' design but then found a way to make it work?
The other idea relates to describing what Pixar does as a movie making enterprise and how it related to traditional artistic endeavors (again, paraphrasing from memory here): the team is the artist, and the technology is the brush. This one seems like it has an even more obvious parallel to the creative tension between UX designers and developers, and to the often collaborative nature of creating software products. I really do like this analogy.
I feel like watching Ratatouille or The Incredibles now!
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
What does it mean for a software product to be in alpha release? My initial answer is another question. What does it mean for a software product to be in beta release? Beta used to mean, roughly, a software release that is essentially complete but is being put into wider distribution for final testing in anticipation of a final release. Google's Gmail, though, has been in beta since, what, the end of the last ice age? That has undoubtedly had an effect on what people think "beta" means.
Where does that leave alpha? It's got to be at least somewhat less finished than beta, but beyond that...?
At Primal Fusion, it means that we have a new product that we're proud of, that we know we have more work to do, that we're letting users join us in a measured way, and that we're watching what happens closely. We want to be sure that everything is working as expected, and we want to learn as much as we can while our user base grows.
Creating something new is invigourating, exhausting, illuminating, and certainly a few more "tings" beyond those. We're still early in our journey at Primal Fusion, and we have a lot more work to do to make our product even better. What we have now, though, is something that we're all proud of, and it's time to get out in the world with it.
Please come and try it out and let us know what you think.