Archive for the 'designer' Category


Make my logo bigger

Occasionally you see something that simply nails an idea so perfectly – this is one of those times.

Who needs designers when you can just use the ‘make my logo bigger’ cream – works on both printed and web material ūüėČ

Just check out the video at ‘Make my logo bigger‘.

And the sad thing is we’ve all had to fight this experience in real life.

Thanks to the guys at Agency Fusion for making my day.


Expression Web and Expression Blend available on MSDN premium

Yes it’s true – you asked – we listened. I’m constantly saying to people tplease feedback to us about feature requests, direction of the products, workflow issues, things you like/dislike etc, we do listen and happily this shows it.

 You can read the full post over on our ukagency blog.


Expression Design Updated CTP

If you’ve been using Expression Design you may have noticed that since the turn of the year the CTP has expired.

A small gremlin crept into the date system!

The team has now released an update downloadable from here that rectifies the problem.

Enjoy ūüôā


Flash on the Beach

It’s taken some time, ok a lot if time, but we’ve finally, finally announced that Microsoft are Gold Sponsors of Flash on the Beach, the premier next generation web conference being held in sunny Brighton this Decemeber.

Ok, so it will cold Brighton, but I’m betting it will still be sunny, it’s always sunny!

I can’t wait to finally show what we’ve been upto at Microsoft in terms of the Expression product development, demos and technologies, whether your a die hard Flasher, a designer or dev you’ll find something to get those creative juices flowing during our talk ūüôā

And talking of talks. John Davy must have used a bit of wizard of oz magic to get so many great speakers together in one place, in Dec, in the UK(!) yet done it he has. If you’ve ever thought about going to Flash Forward but have never made it, here’s your chance!

Great speakers, great venue, great sessions what more do you need, time to book your ticket… and look forward to seeing you there.


User Experience, designer focus… at Microsoft?

You may have heard on the grapevine that Microsoft is getting serious about¬†user experience of both traditional products and web applications as well as the¬†designer market space in general. Just let that slowly sink in for a minute…

“Hang on a minute is this the same Microsoft that has always been about developers, developers, developers”, admit it, you we’re thinking something along those lines, well it is the same (quickly evolving) Microsoft.

So just how serious is serious?

Well in terms of enabling people to build great experiences three products have been announced to date under the Expression banner: Expression Web, Expression Interactive Designer and Expression Graphic Designer.

They can be downloaded as technical previews from here:

Ok. So Microsoft is launching some products. That’s nice… but products are just products – sure they can be good or bad¬†but releasing three products doesn’t necessarily show any intent that Microsoft wants to, or is going to be a serious playing in this market.

I’ll¬†look at the products in¬†detail over the coming weeks. Back to topic – that whole User Experience thing – that doesn’t really sound very Microsoft.

Well things change quickly nowadays… if you’ve been following the Vista and Office road to launch you may have noticed that a lot of the buzz around them is centred around the user experience. Vista is in fact a huge leap forward from the Fisher Price vision¬†that was¬†Windows XP, and to be honest, probably for the first time I personally have¬†enjoyed using any version of Windows, which is¬†relevation for me¬†as a lifelong Mac user. I don’t think I could say¬†that I ever ‘enjoyed’ using XP.¬†¬†

Office 12. I can’t remember the last time a major company took it’s market leading product and totally changed the UI from the previous 10 versions, I mean literally rip it up and through it away. Office 12 is a totally different beast from all previous versions. The first few hours/days/weeks (depending on how much you use the product) may be a frustrating experience as you struggle to come to terms with the new way of working. But go through that change¬†and once it starts to fall into place you start to realise how much more productive you are with the new version.¬†It’s great feeling productive and even better not having to search for features buried in menus 4 clicks deep. So two major products both centred around experience.

The User Experience Evangelist role (UXE) is a brand new role in all the major geographies which is essentially looking to drive a couple of agendas.

The first area the UXE role involves is reaching out¬†to the designer community with the new Expression products. The scope is broad and takes in everything from Web 2.0 applications (Still not sure¬†about the term Web 2.0 – marketing strikes again), their usability, and just as importantly making the right technology choices,¬†all¬†the way through to¬†a brand new prospect – designers¬†being able to build¬†richer Windows applications using Interactive Designer and utilising Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF)¬†on both XP and Vista. I can’t wait until we can show some of applications that are cooking for the Vista launch ūüôā

The second area, which of course is tightly coupled with the first is the user experience itself. How can an improved user experience positively impact businesses online. Is it just about richness of content or simply how people interact with that content. What different elements have to be present or considered to be able to build an improved user experience.

This is all totally new ground for Microsoft which for so long has been focused on the technology stack and helping developers leverage that stack.

I think what’s interesting is the range of people that are being employed into the roles. My background is tradional design, I trained as a graphic designer, before working at Macromedia for over six years, 4 years working with the traditional Macromedia web products, and the last 2 years concentrating around Flash on mobile. Other UXEs around the globe range from people who have been running their own companies with backgrounds in interactive design through to thought leaders that have been running user experience teams within Blue Chip corporates. The diversity of people is wide and is leading to great internal discussions!

In many ways it reminds me of the buzz we had internally at Macromedia back in the day ūüôā

It’s very early days, but this is looks like it’s going to be one exciting ride.

Welcome aboard.