Update - December 6th
Update 1 Speaker roster has been defined.
Update 2 Please note we have a new date of December 19th,due to room and speaker conflicts. We hope you can still make it. Apologies for the date change.
Update 3 We are looking for volunteers to come in early and experiment with some sample applications. The goal is for you to arrive at 5pm and critique some apps. You will then become a part of the panel discussion at the end of the talks.
Both Microsoft and Apple have completely re-vamped the user experience with the latest releases of their operating systems. Both companies have embraced the Modern Design Movement, which is changing the way software and hardware is created and consumed. The other buzzword used in user interface circles is "content before chrome." This is a big bet as the industry moves to mobile devices, which are smaller and require support for touch gestures.
A UX Revolution
On December 19th, I’d like to invite everyone to a multi-faceted event around embracing this brave, new world in user experience (UX), a revolution in the way today’s largest software companies are re-imagining the way their users are interacting with software and hardware.
Promoting Cleanliness, Readability and Function
This radically different approach isn’t really new – it dates back to 1919 by Bauhaus, the German School of Architecture, where the concept of “fair reduction” was first conceived. It means visual interfaces are free of adornments. Instead, they promote cleanliness, readability, and objectivity as their central themes.
Skeuomorphism is gone forever
Research shows that technology users don’t care about the origin of a fake light source that may display a drop shadow on an icon. What users really want is every visual element of their user experience have a clear and useful purpose. One thing for sure, the use of Skeuomorphism is out. Users already know what a thermometer is and don’t need to see real mercury and glass. A clean iconic depiction is preferred.
Cross-cutting Design Principles, Designing for People
This new movement is affecting other disciples as well, such as advertising, marketing, product design, and the overall design of everyday things. Function comes first in this paradigm. Today’s software has grown too complex with endless levers and controls (and toolbars), distracting graphics, gratuitous animation, getting away from the real goal of software - empowering people to get stuff done. Software has to be designed the way people want to use it so focusing on function (not visual eye candy) is essential.
Event Overview and Features
The event will have a couple of features. Because learning experiences work best with real-world examples, will setup 20 Surface devices in a lab where we will collectively download and critique some applications, paying particular attention to the way the application adheres to Modern UI principles.
We will take a critical look at what is good and what is not so good, both in terms of what the guidelines indicate but also what the community thinks.
The panel will work with attendees to address these questions:
- Does that app demonstrate good typography?
- Is the text large, and eye-catching?
- Is the type bold, clean, and beautiful?
- Is the interface free of superfluous graphics?
- Does the application adhere to the Bauhaus and Modern Design principles of "fair reduction” (removing all adornments and reducing the user experience to the simplest form that is rational and functional)?
- Does the app incorporate revenue potential from all countries, communicating ideas and features with the international audience in mind?
- Does the app mimic real-world materials such as glass, brushed metal or leather, and effects such as drop shadows, reflections and lens flares?
- Does the user experience feel immersive, responsive, compelling, and even delightful?
- Is it polished and does it provide error messages that make sense to real people?
- Does the app get you in and out of the app quickly and efficiently?
- Does it use subtle motion and graceful speed to bring content to the user’s attention?
The evening will include some expert (and crowd-sourced) advice about UX
The audience and attendees will be empowered to give their own opinions. We will arrive at some conclusions that you can use to improve the usability of software applications.
Come join us for a night of engaging user interface design. Learn how great software is created. Avoid the mistakes of bad design.
If you are not sure if you should go, can you answer these questions?
· Does the design eliminate or reduce scrolling in windows that have plenty of available space?
· Does text get truncated and is the language conversational that is easy to understand?
· Is the application polite, supportive, and encouraging?
· Does the application use blue text that isn't really a hyperlink?
· Are instructions concise?
· Does the app use lists and sliders whenever possible to free the user from typing?
· Does the app appropriately disable a control or hide a control when interaction isn't needed?
· Does the app use progressive disclosure buttons to hide advanced or rarely used options
· Does the app show a progress bar even if that amount of time cannot be accurately predicted?
· Does the app avoid indeterminate progress bar based only on the possible lack of accuracy alone?
· Does the app only use notifications only if it needs to?
· Does the app assign initial input focus to the control that users are most likely to interact with first?
· Does the app appropriately use modal dialog boxes that require interaction for things that users must respond to before continuing with their task?
· Are the property pages cluttered with unnecessary properties?
· Are wizards used unnecessarily as they are best used for multi-step, infrequently performed tasks?
· Do error messages propose a solution so users can fix the problem?
Bruno Terkaly, Principal Technical Evangelist, Microsoft
I spend most of my time helping developers learn about the latest, most compelling technologies to emerge from the Silicon Valley Area. I grew up, live and work in the in the San Francisco Bay area, home to the worlds' best developers, companies, innovators, and entrepreneurs. Some of my favorite topics to present on is cloud computing, big data, and client app development. I am fascinated by the disruptive, new world of devices and services - forcing companies to adapt or risk losing their relevancy. I am a monthly columnist for the MSDN Windows Azure Insider and have dozens articles around cloud computing and Windows 8 client development. I have tried, but haven't always succeeded entirely in creating the perfect interface for "Modern" applications for the Windows Store. I started computing when he had character mode interfaces and have watched in awe as the power of computing has allowed for more beautiful applications. I write code, I present, and I write - life is good.
My brief talk will focus on how I have developed the user interface for Ultimate Duplicate Photo Finder, a popular app in the Windows Store. It went through incredible change over a period of several months until I was happy "enough" with the result. Software architecture, as well as user interface design can always be improved. You aren't done until you can't take anything out or until you can't add anything new. Questions I had to answer: (1) Should the main screen change as the user interacts with the application, or should the window continually pan to the left? (2) State management, which buttons get enabled at which time to avoid confusion and errors? (3) How much power do you give the user - should my app physically delete files or just move them somewhere else and allow the user to delete them? (4) Is absolutely minimal chrome the best approach (no cool, background graphics)? (5) What about the accompanying web site? Should it look like my app and be modern (http://bit.ly/photoduplicatefinder)?
Chris Patton, Manager, UX Design & Development
A Cognitive Scientist masquerading as a Computer Scientist. Ex-researcher, ex-consultant, current manager of UX design & development at Delphix. Hands-on IxD & dev for the last ~5 years. Currently coordinating UX design & dev for Delphix's next-gen self-service UI.
Enterprise tasks and business processes are complex. When we explain these processes to each other, we often draw pictures on a whiteboard. The interfaces we subsequently design, however, are often nothing like the explanatory pictures we drew. Good user experiences educate as well as deliver functionality. Modern interface design provides the foundation for visualization-oriented approaches, providing both the explanation and the functionality. This talk gives two side-by-side examples of the same feature set using "traditional" management interface design vs. using visualization-based management design. You might ask yourself, "Is Modern Design appropriate for all Enterprise application user experiences?"
Kevin Ashley, Technical Evangelist, Microsoft
Kevin Ashley works at Microsoft as an architect and technical evangelist. He is an author of Professional Windows 8 Programming: Application Development with C# and XAML book and top monetizing apps for Windows and Windows Phone with millions of downloads. Kevin works with startups and partners, advising on software design, business and technology strategy. Prior to Microsoft, he was a founder of an early-stage cloud and business intelligence software startup. In his role as a senior software developer and architect, Kevin developed grid, data warehousing and real-time trading solutions for Fortune 500 companies and hedge funds worldwide: US, UK, Europe and Asia. Kevin has degrees in Mathematics, Computer Science and MBA in Finance. Kevin’s blog: http://kevinashley.com and Twitter: @kashleytwit
“Design Windows and Windows Phone apps for success” Microsoft invested in modern design that works great on all form factors: from phones, to phablets, tablets, laptops, desktops, media centers for your living room and gaming consoles such as XBox. Now it’s your time to leverage these beautiful design concepts in your apps. We’ll do a deep dive in design that works great across all devices and will go a bit beyond, to how coding impacts your design and monetization of your apps.
UX Designer, Amazon Web Services
I got my start in the UX world at the Stanford d.School, and since then I've been working on design projects for all kinds of peculiar users, from architects and engineers at Autodesk to hardcore gamers at Second Life. Now I'm a UX designer at Amazon Web Services, creating a new stealth service with a small team in Palo Alto.
Complex software can present big design challenges, especially when there are many features, options, and configurations for the user to choose from. I'll show you some tricks I've used to design for complexity. We'll talk about how to split a large problem into sequences, following a path of access points, action steps, and rewards for the customer. By going through a few key steps, you can come up with rapid insights to steer your designs in the right direction. We'll check out some example sequences in apps you may already be familiar with, and talk about how to achieve similar clarity and simplicity in your own projects.
CEO, Falafel Software
Alain "Lino" Tadros is Chairman & CEO of Falafel Software, a Silicon Valley based company, with presence in California, Colorado, Michigan, N. Carolina, Florida, Texas and Canada, dedicated to providing world-class consulting, training, and software development for small, medium, and enterprise level businesses. Prior to founding Falafel, Lino was a well respected member of the development team at Borland for Delphi and C++Builder. Lino has been awarded Microsoft MVP status 11 years in a row for his numerous contributions to the C# community and is an expert in .NET, LINQ, ASP.NET, MVC, Windows Phone, XAML, Sitefinity and Web Services. Lino is an industry renowned speaker and has given numerous presentations on 5 different continents since 1994. He also currently sits on the Board of Directors of 4 Silicon Valley corporations
Supporting a wide variety of devices and maintaining a consistent look and feel across all of them is no simple task. Even if you invest in some cross-platform tooling, you will still be faced with leveraging the idiosyncrasies of a given platform. Clearly, Microsoft, Apple, and Android all use touch interfaces - swiping, tapping, and pinch-and-zoom. But iOS has one physical button, Android has 4, and Windows Phone has 3. That means that iOS will need a back button programmed into the interface. That is just one tiny example of what designers and developers face today. Perhaps the biggest challenge for businesses today is supporting all 3 platforms and maximizing re-use to minimize cost. What are the tools and the architectural design patterns that work best? Is it possible to leverage the conventions of each platform while still minimizing a custom UI for each one?