I am a user experience designer working for Microsoft. I came to work at Microsoft via the acquisition of Great Plains Software in 1999.
As a user experience designer, I work to design and craft the user interface of Microsoft's Dynamics products. When I say design and craft, I mean that I and a team of other UX designers and researchers look at the people who use our software — generally people working in accounting or other aspects of business — and craft solutions that help them do their work. Our job is to ensure that the software works the way the people using the software want it to work, instead of forcing them to work they way we think they should.
User experience design is an intersection of art, science, intuition and passion. It is the careful application of each of these that makes a great experiences for the people using our software. My passion is for well designed application and experiences for all technology users.
Dynamics AX is an ERP (enterprise resource planning) suite that allows a company control every aspect of their business from accounting, human resources, distribution and more.
User Experience Designer — Microsoft
I am responsible for the design and user experience architecture of a wide range of user experiences within Microsoft Dynamics including applications for Finance and HR departments based on the Microsoft Design Language (formerly known as Metro). In this role, I have translated user requirements, business problems, and scenarios into efficient interfaces using storyboards, wireframes, prototypes, and usability testing.
I have also defined the user interface implementation strategy and architecture for the web based presentation framework, specifically defining how HTML and CSS are used for maximum advantage.
Additional responsibilities include abstracting the core interaction patterns from a set of over 3000 forms with the end goal of creating a framework that allows us to make all 3000+ forms more consistent.
- As user experience architect, defined the strategy for the next generation HTML5 based Dynamics AX for desktop and mobile experiences.
- Defined the HTML5 and CSS3 coding guidelines for the presentation framework and implemented the LESS CSS compiler.
- Led the implementation of the CSS3 framework for the presentation framework and mentored other designers in CSS3.
- Designed the Dynamics AX 2012 user experience in collaboration with other designers. Wrote guidelines for application program managers and third party ISVs to use as part of their implementations.
- Designed the user experiences for an HTML based HRM module.
- Defined and designed a new information architecture for Microsoft Dynamics.
- Designed and received a patent application for a dynamic user interaction model based the configuration of an adaptive business process.
Software Engineer — Great Plains
Designed, created specifications and developed user interfaces and widgets for a proprietary cross platform 4GL development tool. In this position, I gained a reputation for writing detail oriented requirements and designs. I was also responsible for fixing any bugs in Dexterity on both the Win32 and Macintosh versions of the product as well as DBA/Network administrator. I also designed and developed the Great Plains Personal Time & Billing, an application for the Apple Newton, one of the first mobile applications in 1993.
Microsoft Dynamics AX
This product re-imagined Microsoft Dynamics AX using the Microsoft Design Principles (formerly known as Metro) and user centric design.
As the user experience architect, I facilitated the design strategy for the common usage patterns and rework of AX from a Windows application to an HTML 5 web app. This project has required the design team to deliver:
- Task analysis and task type development based on the Dynamics Customer Model. The task type analysis led to the development of basic interaction patterns for an ERP system.
- Scenario development and research
- Scenario based wireframes
- Wireframe toolkit development
- User interface component design and specification
- User interface guidelines and upgrade strategies from the legacy product
- Led a team of front-end developers working on the CSS and HTML for the client of Dynamics AX. Assisted in implementation of a visual test strategy and architected the CSS standards for the organization.
- Defined the CSS architecture for a multi-device, multiple theme and responsive web application.
- Control development within the custom Angular-like binding services developed for Dynamics AX.
Dynamics AX 2012
For the Dynamics AX 2012 release I led the team designing the core user experiences. This team researched the common problems and pain points across the system and determined how best to solve these issues for maximum benefit. The team redefined the patterns used by over 1000 forms.
A key challenge of the project was how convert over 3000 existing forms to new patterns in a cost effective manner.
Web based HRM
This was to be a brand new HRM application integrating to Microsoft Dynamics to provide web based access to human resource data to employees. The design task was to deliver designs, guidelines and research. One of the primary innovations of this project was an interaction pattern library of the acceptable patterns. Research and learning about users of a human resource application allows development and many new innovations, including the use of expanded tooltips and activity centers.
The design for activity centers came out of an extended research and analysis project around defining the ERP customer model. The activity center is a set of elements helping a user understand the status of work in a long running business process. It does this by showing the user what they need to do to complete their work within that process and what other people are working on. The set of elements shown in an activity center is determined by the customized business process.
As shown below, activity centers can take many shapes as appropriate to the business process.
Project Time and Expense
This is an exploration of a product to allow people to log project time and expenses in a service industry on the Windows Phone platform. The core scenario for this mobile application is that of monitoring tasks and deliverables.
Over the course of several years working on Dynamics GP and Dexterity, I was involved in the design of several key product features, including:
- Dynamics Explorer/Smartlist
- Dynamics GP home pages
- Dynamics Lists
- Dexterity Tree view and List view controls
- Advanced security
- Dynamics GP Utilities
The owner of Oasis Plantscapes wanted a presence on the web for his business. After a discussion with him of the key requirements, I created several options as composites for the owner to review. The composites used Oasis Plantscapes original color schemes. The basic information to organize was information about the work that Oasis performs, information about the company, and a portfolio of their work.
The pages were generated using PHP to allow reuse of the HTML across the pages and to dynamically populate the portfolio album.