Looking for a good prototyper – I have a fun job for you!

I have an open Requisition for a user interface prototyper, and I’m so excited that I can’t wait for the recruiter to get it on LinkedIn, so I’m posting it here. Please share with people whom you think would be a good fit! Interested parties can send reply here with a link to their LinkedIn profile or web site, or send resumes to EMCUSabilityTesting at EMC dot com.

The EMC User Experience Design team is dedicated to optimizing EMC’s products for the entire product life cycle, from up-front design to usability testing. (Plus, this team is pretty FUN!) We provide deep insight and understanding into user behavior, needs, and motivation throughout all phases of the design process from project conceptualization, to implementation and development. We work with customers, product managers, marketing, documentation, and product development teams to research and design usable and productive user experiences. We also help to create common user experience standards across EMC products and/or within product domains.

The Prototype Designer will work with a team of subject matter experts, interaction designers, visual designers, product managers and developers to create wireframes and prototypes for a variety of software products and solutions, and communicate them effectively in a fast-paced agile environment.

You will create high-fidelity user interface prototypes to be used for advanced customer feedback, usability testing, and for socializing the UX design to development for implementation.

You must demonstrate a strong understanding of EMC’s customers, products and user goals and behaviors in a complex enterprise domain, and contribute to interaction concepts that enable seamless, fluid, relevant and engaging experiences for users. You will also provide visual designs and large data visualizations for the products.

You will also drive the effort to create UI standards and toolkit components that embody those standards based on HTML5 and CSS, and work with brand guidelines to ensure designs are not only user friendly, but remain consistent with the rest of the products and EMC’s brand framework.

You will work with the UXD team to communicate and validate designs by creating wire frames and prototypes, and participating in the creation of usability test scripts and in usability testing.
You must exert significant latitude in determining the objectives of an assignment, anticipate change, and direct or redirect efforts accordingly. You must be able to employ the application of UXD principles, theories, and concepts and may contribute to the development of new theories and methods.

Required Skills
• Communication and presentation skills
• Ability to influence others to achieve results
• Ability to execute and deliver key objectives in a timely manner
• Ability to work in a team environment
• Solid understanding of the competition
• Takes initiative
• Ability to prioritize projects and/or deliverables
• Customer focused
• Project management skills
• Strong background in visual design
• Advanced expertise with visual design and prototyping tools, including Photoshop, Axure, etc.
• Expertise in HTML5 and CSS technologies, including experience with one or more toolkits such as Dojo, Sencha EXT JS, Twitter Bootstrap, etc.
• Experience with data visualization techniques for big data

To see more of what we do, check out http://uxblog.emc.com !
We’d prefer people who could work in Hopkinton, MA, or Nashua, NH, but we will consider others.


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Preparing for the big annual user conference

I am in charge of the User Experience Design (UXD) presence at our big annual conference – EMC World, which starts in a week, in Vegas. I am certainly no stranger to user conferences, having attended/presented/done usability tests at 15 Lotusphere conferences and 1 SolidWorks conference. But I’ve never been in charge of the entire UXD presence before.

EMC has several different divisions, and we all get together to create one unified UXD presence at EMC world. I’m the director of one of the divisions – Advanced Software Design – and it has been the division that coordinates the UX from other divisions, so we’re continuing that this year. We have a booth on the trade show floor (aka the pavilion), and a separate usability testing session room. This is new for me – I’ve almost always only had a usability testing session room.

I’m really excited about the booth in the pavilion. In past years it’s been used mainly to get people to fill our surveys. This year, we’ll have a “comment wall” that asks about mobile use, and we’re doing persona validation – we’ll have big posters of our personas and we’ll ask people to read and react and provide additional info on how THEY work – to make our personas more “real.” Here’s a mock-up of what we think the persona exercise will look like in the booth:

Picture of persona exercise
I’m hoping to leverage social media to drive traffic to the booth. It seems to me that the EMC crowd is not as active in user groups as the SolidWorks  customers… nor is the EMC crowd as active on twitter or Facebook… so we’ll see.  When I worked for IBM, tweeting and blogging drove a lot of traffic but, I was working  on products ABOUT social media and collaboration… and now I am not. So we’ll see how it goes.

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Performance appraisals written and delivered….

A few months ago I blogged about writing performance appraisals for people that I hardly know.   I felt a little uncomfortable writing these appriasals since I’d only known my staff for 3 months. But certainly, I have often been on the receiving end of such reviews myself over the years.

Luckily, my predecessor had left written drafts of the reviews. But, as luck would have it, my employer decided to change the format of the reviewes this year, so it was a little harder for me to fit the info I had into new categories.  My folks did a great job at writing up self-reviews (I do admit I really developed an appreciation for people who write well and can make cogent  points…).

So I wrote, I submitted, and then had to deliver all 14 reviews.  Most went well, others less so.  I like to be able to provide specifics – and since I’d only worked with these folks for 3 months, I was not always able to do that. So, in my one on one meetings with each person now, I’ve decided to keep detailed notes on what each person is doing and their various projects . Of course, the mere fact that I’m around this year  will give me more info.

As a former teacher, I find it ironic that most companies  want the performace ratings to be a bell curve. In US education over the past few  years there has been a big push on “no child left behind” and “mastery for everyone” … yet these concepts do not seem to have taken hold in the workplace much .. yet… Course, we’ll see how I feel at review time next year.. assuming, of course, that *I* make it to next year 🙂


April 15, 2013: Patriot’s Day Redefined

Growing up, Patriot’s Day had always been about Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and his poem about Paul Revere’s Ride. Over time, it has also been associated with a baseball game at Fenway park and the Boston Marathon.

I grew up in New York, and when I was an adult, having moved just outside of Boston, I was finally able to watch more Patriots’ Day festivities.  The first year that I worked for Digital Equipment Corporation was the first year I had Patriots’ Day off from work. I arose early and followed the re-enactment of the Patriots’ march from Acton (yes, Acton – Henry left out Acton. Maybe it was too far West. Or maybe it didn’t rhyme with enough other things…) through Lexington to Concord.

It was very moving to watch this re-enactment. It brought home the fact that people DIED fighting for our freedom.

Today, On April 15, 2013, “Patriot’s Day” has been re-defined by 2 explosions near the end of the route of the Boston Marathon.   As of today, Patriots’ Day will  be rembered for bombings of innocent spectators and athletes. Yet, we also saw many first responders immediately re-acting to help. We’ve heard of marathon runners who kept running to the hospital to donate blood.  We’ve heard of many Boston area people opening up their homes to shelter the runners who might have no other safe place to go.                           

So this, my friends and fellow Americans, is the NEW Patriots’  Day.  A day when we want to welcome people of every nation and gender to participate in demonstrating that people together can triumph over adversity. 



My Transition to UX Director: Writing Appraisals for People I Hardly Know

I like to write. I’ve never been one who suffered with writer’s block. But that’s usually when I am writing about Design, methodology, or strategy. But now I have to write appraisals for people I hardly know. I met most of them in October. It’s a little scary because I want to be fair to them all.

To their credit, they all submitted self-appraisals, and I have a write-up on each one from the former manager. I”m also glad that I asked them each to give me at least 2 names of other people who could provide input. They did, and almost every person who was asked to provide input has done so- and often with many details. Not just “She’s a good sport” kind of input. Input from these other people has really helped me gain perspective on my team, and I know that it will help me write more well-informed reviews.

I’ll admit, at first I wans’t going to ask for this additoinal input from other people because, well, because it’s just a lot of work. It’s been worth every second of the effort because I have not only simple review input, but insight into what makes some of of my team members tick – where their passions are, when they went the extra mile, from the perspective of engineering, product management and documentation.

I hope I can do my team justice in their reviews.


Managing Your Manager when You Are the Director

YAY! This Monday, I had a new hire first-line manager start – she will manage 10 of my 14 staff, the others will report to me. So that means I have only 5 direct reports (including the new manager). A big difference from managing 14 people directly!

So far, so great. It felt great to offload a bunch of simple paperwork things – like the bi-weekly timecard (online) approvals, and the writing of quarterly goals, etc. I am really looking forward to being able to focus on UX Strategy for 2013. This is also the first time I have ever managed a manager . So I am sure that I will make lots of mistakes, and probably learn a lot from “My manager”.


Should Subject Matter Experts (SME’s) be in the UX group?

For most of my design career, I did not have a subject matter expert (SME) to work with when I was  designing a user experience.  Of course, I have limited experience – at Digital Equipment Corporatoiio FTP Software, Iris/Lotus/IBM. None of those companies had subject matter experts to help with the design. For example, when working on DEC Fortran, I didn’t have Fortran progammers hanging around to tell me how they worked. When I worked at Iris/Lotus/IBM I worked mainly on end-user software like instant messaging and email, so I didn’t need a subject matter expert.

However, in my 2 most recent jobs, there have been subject matter experts. At SolidWorks, there were “Product definition specialists” who really understood 3D CAD modeling. They reported into another department -still in engineering (I think), but not officially part of a UX Group. At EMC, in my UXD group, I have 3 “use case architects”, who are basically subject matter experts. They have been network and storage administrators. They have provisioned and diagnosed, etc.

These people are instrumental in helping the interaction desginers do their jobs – because the interaction designers (While they might have access to a test server running  the various management software) do not actually manage, monitor, or run any data centers.

While I am glad to have them – I wonder if the best place to put them is in a UX group. Maybe it is. I am certainly NOT trying to get rid of them. These people help not only the interaction designers, but also Product management, marketing, and quality assurance.  Is there a best place to put such SME’s so that  they have the best possible influence on the development of a product? What is your experience?