Announcements from MS Build

In case you missed MS Build two weeks ago, here are some of the big announcements.

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Participant-Led Usability Testing

Usability testing has a PR problem. Here’s a quick run-down of the common, pervasive knocks against it:

“Usability testing is too expensive.”

“We have no time or money to make fixes.”

“A skilled user experience (UX) professional can find as many problems as usability testing can.”

“Results and learnings can be misleading or useless.”

“The exercise is so artificial that the output can’t possibly reflect the real world.”

Continue reading Participant-Led Usability Testing

Converging on Diversity: Expanding the Horizons of UX Education

Fred Beecher is The Nerdery’s Director of User Experience and Design. He has been training UX designers since 2007 and in 2013 he started our UX Apprenticeship program. He is co-chairing the 2016 Interaction Design Education Summit, which will take place February 28-29 in Helsinki, Finland.
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Join our Nerds at DevFestMN on February 6

Led by Google Developer Group Twin Cities, DevFestMN brings together developers, designers and technology enthusiasts across the Midwest for an informative and hands-on one-day conference. We’re proud to have multiple current and former Nerds play a part in this year’s event planning, including three of our Nerds who will be leading sessions throughout the day.
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Are Your Systems Ready For Rapid Growth?

Positioning your business for success isn’t something that organizations should concern themselves with when they start to explode — it should be done from the very beginning. When you’re dreaming big, plan big. Continue reading Are Your Systems Ready For Rapid Growth?

Technical Architecture: Building a brighter future

As a business grows, its technology ecosystem often becomes a mix of out-of-the-box and custom solutions that add layer upon layer of complexity to their main operation systems. Businesses expect and need their digital assets, operating systems, add-ons, customer relationship management systems (CRMs) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) software to work together by collecting data, communicating and reporting as one fully functioning technology system.
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Security on the Client-side

Whether in a desktop browser or the embedded webview of your favorite social media app, your website is a battleground. Keeping your users and their data safe is one of the most difficult (but important) problems to solve when creating any Internet-connected product. There’s plenty to be done to ensure that data stays safe server-side, but your first and last line of defense is client-side.

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Why 60% of software projects are at risk before they even start

There are a lot of well-intentioned business owners, product managers and decision makers within organizations who want to make their business better. Some have plenty of money and are ready to spend when they’re told they’ll see, “a huge ROI because [technology fad of the month] is the next-big-thing.” Others have money burning a hole in their pocket while wistfully looking at their competitors, green with envy, and thinking, “Damn, they’ve just launched a mobile app, and I hear mobile is big with the kids these days. I should probably have an app, too.”

But those are just ridiculous statements no self-respecting business person would say. Right? Continue reading Why 60% of software projects are at risk before they even start

Hey, Teachers: Monetizing Learning Online (Part 2 – Skillfeed and Learning Paths)

 In the last blog post, I suggested that you start thinking about how you would like to educate. What’s the learning objective as an educator? This is an important concept to have cemented before you approach the next task I want you to consider: Your education funnel.

Perhaps one of the biggest things that plague the online education market is that it fails to fully structure learning objectives together for a consumer. The reason is fairly simple – in most online learning platforms, you have instructors that are working asynchronous.
Continue reading Hey, Teachers: Monetizing Learning Online (Part 2 – Skillfeed and Learning Paths)

Science Works at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry

Last weekend, fellow Nerds TimRyanMandiGary, and I had the opportunity to participate in Science Works at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.  The purpose of the event was to get kids interested in STEM careers so the museum held a mini-career fair and invited a number of companies in to give hands on experiences for kids and hopefully get them excited about science, technology, engineering, and math!

Since the Nerdery focuses on interactive development, the Museum had us set up in the entrance to NetWorld, the museum’s exhibit dedicated to the internet.  Since most people think of the web when they think internet, it was the perfect place for us to demonstrate how easy it can be to get into web development.  We had two interactive demonstrations we were showing off.  The first one was aimed at pure beginners and was showing people how to alter web pages using Google Chrome’s built in developer tools.  The second demonstration was a series of animations done using canvas in HTML5.  The series started with drawing a simple shape, then how to duplicate the shape many times using a function, then moving the shape, then finally putting that all together and making a particle emitter.  You can see the source code for the second demo on github.

WARNING: if you are looking at the 4th example, you may want to set SEIZURE_MODE_ON to false, otherwise, be prepared for some hot, crazy flashing background action.

All in all, it was a fun day!  Seeing the kid’s excitement as they changed the content of various webpages was priceless.