MIX08 Experience from Caterina Sanders

Last week, I asked some Canadian attendees to talk about their experience at MIX. I`ll share their experience in the following series of posts.

photo of 'Caterina Sanders'

Caterina and I had couple of email exchanges before MIX. I was very excited to finally meet her in-person at the conference. She is the Director, User Experience at Habanero, a Vancouver and Calgary-based IT consulting services company. She manages their User Experience team which includes user interface designers, information architects and user experience developers (Flash, Flex, Silverlight, AJAX, etc.). Here`s what Caterina has to say about her experience:



What did you want to get out of MIX (or your expectations of MIX) before attending?

To meet other UX professionals that work closely with Microsoft, learn about UX-related Microsoft offerings, hear Ballmer speak (and hope for a show – which we got!)

There are many announcements about Silverlight , Expression Studio, and IE8 during the Keynote on first day. Any announcement or demo really resonated with you and got you excited?

The direction the Internet Explorer team at Microsoft has taken with IE8 is really exciting. They’re finally listening to what the design/UX/standards community has been saying for such a long time. We spend a lot of time trying to get our work to behave in all of the popular browsers, and IE always seemed to be throwing us curve balls. That IE 8 is going to render HTML in a standards compliant fashion is really a big deal.

The Silverlight demos were very impressive and showed off some exciting functionality. I think Microsoft still has a way to go before the Expression Suite will be accepted by the design community as designers are fiercely loyal to their tools. If Silverlight downloads start to become significant it is a platform that our team will certainly be considering. I’m especially intrigued to see if we can utilize the technology for prototyping solution concepts for usability and other types of testing.

What are some most interesting sessions you attended during MIX08? Why?

The keynotes were really good because they provided a comprehensive picture of Microsoft’s web strategy. Steve Ballmer impressed me with his candour.I also enjoyed a few of the more general UX technique related sessions – the Usability Chasm and the Communicating with Pictures stand out in my memory.

What sorts of content you wish to see at next year’s MIX? Any comment on how can we make MIX better?

  • It’s a great conference for networking and it would be great to have that be part of the actual days’ structures. At some of the Microsoft Partner conferences, for instance it’s possible to schedule sort speed-dating style networking opportunities during the conference (and not worry about missing sessions). Something like that would be great.
  • More general UX sessions but of a more advanced nature – the ones offered this year were sort of introductory.
  • Less panels!
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