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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

WAM Tour in San Diego - Come Join Me!

I am excited to be part of the Web App Masters Tour that kicks off in San Diego next week, then heads eastward to Minneapolis in April and then on to Philadelphia in June and finally bounces back west to Seattle in July.

Next week I will be in the illustrious company of some real luminaries: Jared Spool, Stephen P. Anderson, Hagan Rivers, Christian Crumlish, Ken Kellogg, Luke Wroblewski and Doug Bowman.

If you can make it next week (3/23-3/24) I have a special discount offer: from now until 3/18 you can get $300 off the conference by using the promo code SCOTT at the tour site.

Monday, March 08, 2010

I am Hiring Again (Yes Again!). UI Engineers for TV & Web Site Experience

As of today 3/8/10 I am actively looking for two more user interface engineers to join my team. (I filled the previous posting with 2 engineers!)

Since late last year we have expanded the number of user interface engineers working on new, upcoming TV experiences. What is especially exciting about this area is the chance to utilize the latest technologies (HTML5, CSS Animations, and other Webkit goodness). We call this the "10 ft UI team" in reference to how far away from the TV the average person sits. Compared to the 2 ft experience with our desktops. In particular I am looking for an Sr. User Interface Engineer that gets jazzed about creating a fully cinematic, rich, fast experience in a 100% JavaScript client app that will be used by millions of Netflix members in their living rooms! How can you not get excited about that?

In addition, I am also searching for a user interface engineer for our main web site experience. Over the next year our main site experience will continue to change (most likely in some significant ways). With our site moving to the cloud, expanding into the international marketplace and our experience moving to multiple devices there are a number of challenges ahead. For this role you need to really understand cross-browser issues, know how to wield JavaScript and tame CSS to field numerous member experiences in our A/B testing framework. This is a senior role (as are all of the roles on my team). You will need to understand the principles of good, simple, clean design. As we continue to refactor the underlying infrastructure you will also need to be able to get your hands dirty in the Java/JSP layer as well. This means you can't just be an "HTML hack". No, you need to have a solid set of computer science skills. The perfect profile is usually someone who has at some point worked in enterprise web applications but more recently been developing public consumer web sites with an interesting mix of UI challenges they have had to solve. However, don't let that persona keep you from pinging me. I love to be surprised.

Netflix is a great place to work. We pay well. We work hard. We play hard. And we do have work/life balance! Check out our culture as explained by our CEO, Reed Hastings:

I will post the official job description in the next day or so.

Feel free to contact me at my email: bscott (netflix)

Friday, March 05, 2010

Microsoft Courier Interesting Moments & Design Patterns

I culled numerous screenshots from the video posted on Engadget in their article: Microsoft's Courier Digital Journal and have organized these into 17 sets on my Designing Web Interfaces flickr site. Each corresponds to an interaction pattern with individual keyframes to call out the interesting moments.
The 17 patterns
What Stands Out to Me
  • 2 individual panes. Perfect for book reading. Perfect for master/detail pattern (which is being exploited in the ipad as well).
  • Pen, finger & hand gestures. Little wider input vocabulary as you advance in skills.
  • Even more physicality than iPad (or at least it appears so if the video is really a true representation). When objects are selected, they move upward to a higher plane and float above the other elements. Using the z-index is a clever way to represent selection. When the elements break free of "flatland" they wiggle/wave like a flag as they move into position. The page that gets mailed, transforms itself into a postcard through a series of origami style folding.
  • The pocket is really clever. Store stuff in the binder/gutter and move around then pull it out.
  • The language of object on object meaning is also richer than the iPad (will the normal consumer understand this?)
  • The use of the pie menu with the pen is a good idea. Pie menus have been shown to be efficient and seem natural in this interface.
  • Returning to the pen. Being able to use the pen for finer pixel level manipulation is good (again, this is not as simple as just the finger, but provides more capabilities). Also being able to input with the pen (hopefully they nail this) should be faster than the keyboard for short spurts (don't have to leave the surface to begin writing).
  • Gobbling while surfing. I am not sure if my former colleague Karon Weber has been involved in this project (she works on touch based interfaces at Microsoft with Bill Buxton). We did the Yahoo! Teachers project together and she & Samantha Tripodi designed the gobbler which I built. The premise was easily grabbing content from around the web and dropping it into "wells/objects". In the Courier this is made simpler by tossing into the right pane (the receptacle for the drop). The tossing seems pretty effortless and the landing target is huge (can you say Fitts law?)
Of course, all of this may just be vaporware, but regardless I found it useful to analyze the interactions as they illustrate where interfaces will be heading as we break away from the world of pure WIMP (Windows, Icons, Menus, Pointers).