Sunday, July 20, 2008

Maikel Sibbald Joins EffectiveUI

This announcement is long overdue.  About a month ago, one of the most talented underground 3d Flex developers I've ever seen joined EffectiveUI.  His name is Maikel Sibbald, and he runs the popular blog.  If the URL didn't give it away, Maikel lives in the Netherlands, where he has two sons and a lot of tatoos, but is currently visiting Denver.

Maikel's hiring a EffectiveUI is a funny story that speaks to the power of taking initiative.  Maikel's a proficient Away3D programmer, and after seeing some of the stuff we did for Discovery Earth Live he decided to copy it's globe.  We discovered Maikel because of the copy, started talking, and the rest is history.  The motto of Maikel's story is simple: if you want to get a cool job at a sweet RIA company, copy some of their work.

Maikel joins a few other EffectiveUI Europe team members, including his fellow degrafa-contributor Jason Hawryluk, who lives in France.  On behalf of everyone, welcome to the team, and sorry I didn't blog about you a month ago. :)

Friday, July 18, 2008

ebay desktop hits 1 million downloads!

Today it was announced that eBay desktop reached 1 million downloads.  Mike Potter from Adobe, who had the initial idea for the application and got us involved, wrote a great summary of it on his blog, which I've reprinted here:

"Earlier this week the eBay desktop was downloaded for the 1 millionth time. That's a great accomplishment for one of the first AIR apps that's been developed.

That application was originally built by a summer intern of mine, Charles Bihis, who is now working at Adobe in Seattle. He developed the initial AS 3 APIs and a very earlly alpha version of eBay Desktop. The team at effectiveUI took the project on after a conversation I had with them in a bus in San Francisco after the first Adobe component developer summit run by Ted Patrick. They're the ones who have made it look so great and added most of the functionality that it has today.

Congrats Alan on the great success. The project would be dead without your great support."

What a great testament to the success of AIR and the power of user experience.  eBay invested a lot of time, effort and money in user testing and getting user feedback, and as a result it continues to be one of the most successful applications I've ever been a part of.  Congrats to eBay for investing in their users!

Monday, July 14, 2008

360 Flex - closing fast

Title: I'm going to be at 360|Flex San Jose 2008, In August. You should be too!
Body: I'll be speaking at 360|Flex! You should be attending so we can hang out! Tom and John are cool too! Register now!
Link for "Register now":

Friday, July 11, 2008

360Flex frags me

John Wilker and Tom Ortega caught up with me on XBox live, where it seems I dual-wield a nine-barreled shot-gun and the Sword Of Ultimate Truth.  Check out the hilarious interview John and Tom put together, and then go register for 360Flex.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

EffectiveUI and Discovery Channel win a Stevie

EffectiveUI and Discovery Channel won an Stevie Award for "best web, software or programming design" for Discovery Earth Live. The award was actually listed for Interface Design.

Congratulations to the entire design team who contributed to this project, including Patrick Hansen, Bobby Jamison, and Jeremy Gratson. Congratulations are also due to our development team, which consisted of Brad Umbaugh, Kevin Skrenes, and myself. 

Discovery Earth Live was a great example of the sort of designer/developer collobration I was talking about yesterday: our designers made some initial mock-ups, but the entire design changed several times during development. Design and Dev worked very closely to rapidly change the entire interface several times during the course of the project, and this award is a testament to the success of that method.

Congratulations also to the team at Discovery, including Andra Gregory, Lori Wark, Betty Chu and Randy Rieland, who brought the initial vision and contributed a wealth of great ideas to the process.  Discovery is a client who really knows exactly how to engage creative agencies and Discovery Earth Live's success is a testament to their hard work as well. 

Here's a video of Betty Chu from Discovery accepting the award:

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Agile UX Development?

Jeff Patton has an amazing post up about how to get started adding Agile to UX Development practices.  Please ignore some of the more obvious typos, especially in the opening line. :)

Here at EffectiveUI, we've been trying for a while to work out our process. We started off with something that was very similar to the waterfall and have since gotten more agile, but it's still pretty undefined.  As we move towards more definition, a lot of us developers are pushing for less process and more software.  We believe that the only real metric for measuring and testing sofware ideas is software itself, and at times it sounds like what we're advocating is scraping the design process altogether.

We're not, and perhaps we get a little too excited sometimes.  Jeff's post is a great way to realistically approach Agile-like development with UX design in mind, and I highly recommend it for anyone in a similar situation.

The only real disagreement I have with Jeff's post is the strong distinction he makes between designers and developers.  Maybe that's necessary and appropriate in other fields, but I don't feel it has to be with RIA's, and I'm not the only one - this idea is months old and already agreed upon in our community.  I hate the idea of developing two time boxes behind.  I want to be involved in the design and involved in the feature validation.  I'm a part of this process too you know - not just the code monkey who builds whatever you geniuses think up. :)  He does go on to encourage a lot of collaboration, but I want to do more than just collaborate - I want to help design!

Lastly, this is what I think of the silly made up jargon word "ideate":