Where are all the UX Designers for Silverlight/WPF?

Last night I went to the SLUG (Silverlight Users Group) meeting at Microsoft for the first in a summer series on Windows Phone 7.  I was already familiar with some of the content from MIX but there was some great information I hadn’t heard. 

What was missing?  UX Designers

The room had about 30+ people and other than my friend Adam Kinney (rock star dev/designer) I believe I was the only UX Designer in the room.  It’s frustrating to see the potential for building amazing WP7 apps with little support / interest from the design community. Toolbox is a wonderful step in the right direction for learning but why aren’t I seeing any designers at these events?

 Is it time to start a SLUX (Silverlight User Experience Group)? Focus on animation, behaviors, interactivity, ease of import of .psd’s and .ai’s, SketchFlow, ect?  SLUG might be too “developy” for my design focused friends.  Someone needs to lead the charge of embracing designers like we embrace developers.  I hear a lot of talk from Redmond but last night’s meeting was proof of the work that needs to be done.

Thoughts?

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3 thoughts on “Where are all the UX Designers for Silverlight/WPF?

  1. I couldn’t agree more! We’re really missing some UX designers for Silverlight. I know that a few books are on their way about SL design patterns but I think that they have focus on developers as well.

    I think that one of the issues is, that Blend is to much development and to little design for designers. Designers will still prefer a tool like Photoshop and will leave the import task to the developers.

  2. IMHO, Microsoft needs to recognize where Blend stands in the market. The Blend Suite has made great strides with the latest version but has not been a consideration of most serious UX designers (at least the ones I’ve spoken with). As such, Microsoft has some catching up to do but for some reason they’re taking a different approach with Blend then they have when they’ve been [wayyyy] behind in the market with other products. This fact confuses/frustrates me.

    When MS was trying to play catch up w/Access in the early ’90s they gave away unlimited free tech support for the product and it worked. When they were trying to gain market share on Netscape they gave their product away for free and put it on every copy of Windows.

    What does MS do when they’re trying to make headway with Blend? They yank SketchFlow away from MSDN Premium users. Developers are right in SketchFlow’s wheelhouse because they could create quick and dirty prototypes like never before. Once those prototypes are complete a designer might very well get engaged to build out the final UI. SketchFlow is where it all begins and pulling it out of the hands of developers was a very bad move as the reaction has not been favorable (see the comments in jpapa’s blog below).

    Until MS gets serious about taking Blend to the next level I think there’s going to continue to be a shortage of talent in the market.

    http://johnpapa.net/silverlight/expression4launch/

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