MIX ‘09 Keynote – Part 1

The first part of the keynote was Bill Buxton talking about the benefits of considering user experience and design when creating an application. Certainly a good speaker with passion about hit topics. But I’m afraid that he’s preaching to the converted. He touted the idea of coming up with 5 solutions to any problem, allow the best one to float to the surface. While this is a fine idea, I’m afraid that it will run up against the shoal of fiscal prudence as soon as it gets pitched to management. The trick will be to convince management that five solutions is worth while. He mentioned sketching as a technique, but I’m still waiting for tools to support this approach. The ability to transition from a ‘sketch’ to a WPF form would be quite useful to fill this gap.

One more thing about Bill’s talk. He gave a quote, almost as a throwaway, that I’m sure I’ll use in the future “It’s too important to take it seriously”. While that sounds like a contradiction, I think that in the design space, the implication is that user experience should have some focus on fun and excitement over pure serious. When you think about the shining lights of user experience applications, you’ll find that ‘fun’ and ‘cool’ are big parts of the success.

The first portion of Scott Guthrie’s presentation talked about Web functionality. Expression Web 3 contains a feature called SuperPreview, which allows pages in Expression Web to be viewed (either side-by-side or onion skinned) as they will be rendered in other browsers. This includes browsers that you don’t have installed on your system. The functionality of SuperPreview also makes it easier to identify and isolate problems with rendering in the different versions. The Web 3 version support (at a minimum) IE versions, as well as Firefox and Safari. But there is also a standalone version of SuperPreview which allows comparison between IE 6, 7 and 8. You can download it here.