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Author Archives: William Dasilva

Disc Test: Outline for Training and Development Plans

July 15th, 2014 | Posted by William Dasilva in DiSC Profile - (0 Comments)

Corporations need a training plan for employees’ training and skills development. It’s a detailed guide of instruction that will be used during training seminars. Organizations that are very specific on the trainings are giving Disc Test to identify what are the aspects needed to be improved. Results of disc test is then compiled in a disc profile.

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It depends on the detailed planning and delivery. These steps will show how to plan a successful training and development.

  • Determine the purpose of your training – Trainings are made to educate and prepare employees in their undertaking inside the company. Outlining the skills, information and certifications are essential for a better result. Product knowledge, mastery of software applications and learning the policies and procedures should always come first.
  • Identify the audience of the trainingDisc personality assessment test results will give you an overview of who needs the training the most. It can be geared to a certain group of people in a department or to individuals who needs improvement on accomplishing daily tasks. Corporations usually give trainings and skills development to newly hired employees for basic orientation on their day-to-day job.
  • It’s important to know the budget – You can’t have a rough estimate without identifying the resources. It’s important to select the videos, software and workbooks to be used. Calculating the costs include rental and compensation for the trainer. Identifying these will help you determine how much money do you need.
  • Select the best trainer – Examining the qualifications of the trainer important. You can hire experts outside or within the organization. But you must see to it that they are qualified for the job. Experienced trainer usually out stand every employee in the room just by literally standing there. Putting an inexperienced individual to train them is not a good idea.
  • Training content is the center of all preparations – Topic outline is crucial for every training anywhere in the world. You need to break down the topics to create lesson titles. If it’s about improving the knowledge on productivity software; file creation, formatting, saving files can become it’s subtopic. Add some assessment plans at the end of every training, it can be group discussion, or group activities. It will also enhance employees’ interpersonal skills.

It’s important to plan everything before doing. Disc test is the best way to start a plan. Knowing the characteristics of every employees and what they need to improve is essential in every training plan.

Looking for the five behaviors of a cohesive team?

Designers Love Windows 8

June 2nd, 2012 | Posted by William Dasilva in Windows 8 - (Comments Off)

Ok well maybe they don’t really know it yet but I’m sure there will be a day when designers start to sing the praises of Windows 8 for helping to make creating amazing computing experiences easy to create.

It’s taken me awhile but I think I have started to fully drink the Kool-Aid. I’m still addicted to my XAML workflow (not yet singing the praises of HTML based Windows 8 apps, but I wont rule it out.)

I’m enthused enough I’m going to start blogging again. Mostly because I have been discovering lots of great new APIs that are really fun to use but I need to journal my experience somewhere.

So with my first Windows 8 post I will start off with a reference to a really useful doc that was posted recently… The Performance Tips for Windows Metro XAML apps document should be something we all get our heads around. Performance is much more important this time around as we are supporting much more hardware constrained form factors like windows tablet devices.

And oh yeah if you are designer (this is a designer blog by the way) then you should have already been reading all the UX docs that Microsoft has been posting here: http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/windows/apps/hh779072

It’s good stuff! The “Category Guidance” docs look new… http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/apps/hh868274 I’ll be reading through these this weekend.

Mole 2010 has shipped!

February 23rd, 2011 | Posted by William Dasilva in Uncategorized - (Comments Off)

Read Josh Smith’s post about it here:

http://joshsmithonwpf.wordpress.com/2011/02/22/mole-2010-has-shipped/

Where does integration fit into user experience design?

July 21st, 2009 | Posted by William Dasilva in Process - (Comments Off)

Caveat: the following is some quick musings on a question brought up by one of the integrators on our team. This was my quick response to him and our team.

 

The question was:

 

“Do you guys think that visual design and UX are very different things? Like as in good user experience goes beyond the GUI and goes deep into interaction and proper software architecture.”

 

My response

 

Visual Design is just a fraction of User Experience

 

In my opinion User Experience to me is made up of:

 

  1. Visual Design – this is primarily graphical design… Choosing the right colors and proper use of layout, typography, and iconography
  2. Interaction Design – this is primarily the use of motion and interactivity applied at discreet moments in an experience.
  3. Information Architecture Design – this is the thoughtful implementation of a user experience holistically. It’s the culmination of multiple small interactions pulled together into an experience that is complimentary with each individual user experience.
  4. Usability – this is the study of what works and what doesn’t work. It’s where the psychology of the user shines through and effects decision making based on analytics of human behavior.
  5. Knowledge of Trends and Fads – some things you choose to do because its what is cool at the moment and the only way to be relevant.
  6. Creative / Aesthetic Design – I still think this is separate from visual design because creativity isn’t necessarily visual. It takes all these aspects together to create an innovative pleasing experience.

 

A good flow for good user experience design is:

 

Step 1: A user research gathers information about a problem that needs to be solved.

Step 2: An information architect creates a good flow through the experience based on prior knowledge of good information design.

Step 3: An interaction designer brainstorms with the IA and proposes and prototypes individual discreet experiences that fit into the information design.

Step 4: A graphical designer applies aesthetic principals to the experience.

Step 5: Usability testing is employed to verify decisions and based on findings changes are made to the aspects of design that show any weaknesses.

 

I think as integrators it means we have to be good at all of these steps. And our big value add is that we have a unique perspective of the world because we can think of ways to creatively leverage the platform functionality. The platform is our Legos that we understand better than most IAs and designers.

 

Granted, this is a simplification of a very complex process. We are constantly exploring new processes and methodologies for making a team of different disciplines effective.

 

Please comment on this post if you are passionate about this subject and feel like there are any missing disciplines and tasks that are elemental in good user experience design. Im sure I missed tons.

Expression Blend 3 + SketchFlow Release Candidate

July 10th, 2009 | Posted by William Dasilva in Uncategorized - (Comments Off)

Believe me when I say you need to ditch your old version of Blend and install the latest

Blend is amazing now!

Expect reviews from me soon.

The Gu has spoken! Silverlight 3 is shipped!

June 10th, 2009 | Posted by William Dasilva in Uncategorized - (Comments Off)

http://weblogs.asp.net/scottgu/archive/2009/07/10/silverlight-3-released.aspx

This is a great release… something MSFT should really be proud of and a real enabler for amazing experiences across multiple platforms.

I am just finishing up my first v1 of an SL3 project that we have been building on beta bits and the experience has been great. Its not so hard to be a WPF guy in Silverlight anymore.

So ya wanna be an “Integrator” huh?

May 13th, 2009 | Posted by William Dasilva in featured - (Comments Off)

Got an email this morning from one of our talented designers who has a ton of Flash/Flex experience and is interested in joining our “UX Integration” team. He wanted to know what was the most important stuff to be learning.

A bit of background, at IdentityMine we have 4 major roles contributor roles in the app development process. Information Architects, Designers, Integrators, and Developers.

The UX integrator is the guy who sits between the Developer and Designer and can talk both languages ( design “geek” and developer “nerd” ). Unfortunately as of late this has been called the “Devigner” or “Deseloper”. Both don’t really work for me on my business card and since I lost the arm wrestle to get my title to be “User Experience Ninja”, the title User Experience Integration Developer or User Experience Integration Designer is what stuck.

Along the axis of the skills spectrum from Creative Designer > Technical Designer > Creative Developer > Technical Developer, the Integration Designer is the Technical Designer and the Integration Developer is the Creative Developer.

A UX Integration Designer typical comes from a design background and knows some code (enough to be really dangerous). These cats are usually the best candidates for facilitating workflows in a Designer to Developer Direction. Meaning they can take design assets from the standards in the industry and convert those to XAML or functioning Expression Blend projects.

A UX Integration Developer is the dude (or dudette) who usually has a Compute Science background but has a strong empathy for users and a passion for good user experiences. (Coincidentally this is pretty much the criteria for working at IdentityMine… Love your software! ) This person excels in the Developer to Designer communication. In other words this is the guy who knows how to take Dev created UI and make it beautiful.

On the UX Integration team each role strives to get better at what they are good at and to aim for the other side of the spectrum. An Integration Developer should want to be a better Integration Designer and should be learning those tasks. And vice versa.

Ok enough already… So what did I tell the designer who wanted to know what to learn to become an Integrator?

1.) Start to gain a holistic understanding of the platforms… Know the feature set and be ready to see where the dots connect when you are looking at solutions.. (Designers are typically connecting the dots without this context and it’s a huge shortcoming). Try to discover every control in both Silverlight and WPF that you have never used before… They are all there for a reason because some customer wanted them… usually we end up working with those customers at some point and knowing about these controls is an ace up your sleeve. Knowing about Flow Documents and Annotations might not be something you use today… But if you know it tomorrow you are ready.

2.) Once you know of all the controls in the platform the next step is learn to “style” them. This means learning to do simple styling as well as deep “templating” where you completely reconstruct the visuals. Its really important to get your head around the concept of “lookless controls” it’s the magic of WPF/Silverlight and basically means that a control has functionality but not visuals… so that any visuals can be mapped to that functionality later on. The goal of learning to style the controls is to get you to a point where you can see a control and confidently say I can style that one… For example scrollviewer is complicated… it usually takes a day to learn how to style it the first time… The next time… about an hour.

3.) Start exploring different workflows from designers and IAs and Devs… This means to be ready to accept a handoff from these folks in a myriad of different ways… The key is to learn to be flexible. Everybody works in different ways and I’ve found more success in just accepting people’s hand off as is and providing key tips to those people rather than getting frustrated and expecting those assets to come “just the way you like them”.

4.) Learn to prototype fast… A key to our position is our ability to communicate interactive ideas really fast… These are the ideas that don’t communicate well on paper or in static mediums… As well 25 cent usability is our secret sauce. If you can test something out really quickly against real people and against “real” data you will be able to make alterations to the user experience on the fly that correct mistakes that are made at the envisioning stage.

5.) Learn from the other guys There is so much great thinking happening in the Adobe/Apple camps that it would be a tragedy to unplug from those worlds. Without being cliché lets do what they do and learn from their mistakes… It’s incredibly valuable to not reinvent the world.

6.) Of course learn your tools and learn the syntax.
Tools 
– Learn Blend… Learn it like a hammer… You don’t build a house with only a hammer… But you can’t build a house without one. The point behind tools is to be able to do things you couldn’t do before, and do things you could do before faster. Don’t expect your tool to be a silver bullet or holy grail.  Once you accept that you will realize how amazing Blend is… warts and all.  I crash Blend all the time and it never bugs me… Crashes usually make designers write Blend off as a tool. Don’t go there.
Code - (as in C#) is probably not as important as learning markup (XAML) is. But I still stand firm that learning code and XAML is akin to Michelangelo learning the technologies behind paint and marble… Had he not figured these things out he would not have had a lasting impact.

7.) Try to understand the concepts of different patterns like MVVM 
This will give you a greater understanding of why apps are architected the way they are from the development side and give you some expectations.

8.) Learn to make decisions and measure success by asking yourself if you or your audience will “Love their software”?
If the answer is no start over again or keep iterating. Look for holes and incompleteness or hard edges in the experience. Try to soften the hard edges and fill in the holes. Learn how to simplify things by being more explicit or via reduction. This is the true value add of the integration role. (It’s also the hardest to define and learn)

http://www.emethod.ca/calgary-seo/

Mix 09 and Expression 3.0 Behaviors

March 26th, 2009 | Posted by William Dasilva in Silverlight - (Comments Off)

I have been so busy I wasn’t able to contribute to the flood of blogs and tweets about Mix this year. Ironically I was there and I did tweet like crazy from the keynotes and the sessions.

It was a great year for Mix… For me it was the magic of the “3’s” year for Microsoft. The rule of thumb usual is if Microsoft sticks it out in any particular segment they will get it right by the 3rd time… And if the betas and previews are any indication of it.. Blend 3 and Silverlight 3 are shaping up to be the pivotal versions for the tool and the platform.

I’ve never seen more people excited about “new” Silverlight features that have been part of the WPF platform for years. Merged Resource Dictionaries, Element Binding, Offline support yadda yadda. Dont get me wrong I am super jazzed about these features coming down to Silverlight and am all the more excited to be doing Silverlight development because there is becoming less and less of a distinction between the skill sets.

If I could point at one thing that I am most excited about seeing at Mix this year was behaviors in Expression Blend. Peter Blois did a presentation that had me all but standing up and cheering Arsenio Hall style WhooWhoo WHooo! Check out his talk here:

http://videos.visitmix.com/MIX09/C27M

Also check out his sample behaviors here:

http://gallery.expression.microsoft.com/MIXBehaviorPack

These are some of the juiciest gems I have seen go public. Expression.Samples.Physics.Behaviors is sure to be a namespace that shows up in a lot of my prototypes going forward.

Another highlight from Mix for me was seeing the effects classes are available.

Also check out Henry Hahn’s post about the “Gratuitous Graphics Demo

IdentityMine Introduces the IdentityMine Gesture Engine to Support Advanced Multi-

March 19th, 2009 | Posted by William Dasilva in Uncategorized - (Comments Off)

Very exciting day for some really cool work that we have been doing at IM. Today we are announcing publically the IdentityMine Gesture Engine. Read the press release here:

http://cs.identitymine.com/blogs/im_news/archive/2009/03/19/identitymine-introduces-the-identitymine-gesture-engine-to-support-advanced-multi-touch-development.aspx

Quote from the website:

“In addition to multi-level gesture support the IdentityMine Gesture Engine also support for user recorded custom gestures. These gestures can be used to augment the set of gestures currently supported which include Rotate, Resize, Pan, Click/Touch, Slide, Flick, Touch and Hold, Drag, and 3D. ”

Its some really cool stuff and after having played with it a little bit it is very much a new playground for designers to start designing states and transitions for the complex world of intuitive NUI interfaces…

Great Integrator Article from Richard Griffin from Conchango

January 27th, 2009 | Posted by William Dasilva in Uncategorized - (Comments Off)

http://expression.microsoft.com/en-us/dd434644.aspx