Microsoft takes its relationship with the design community very seriously. As a technology company we are pretty good at talking with developers, but you can’t have the same conversation with a designer that you have with a developer. We are learning how to talk to this audience, because we think it is very important to us. Over the past couple of years you may have noticed some of the following:
- Microsoft is developing tools that are designed for and geared towards designers. The Expression Suite has 4 tools that are built for this audience.
- Microsoft has launched a site that has content for the design audience. http://www.microsoft.com/design/ is the location for that site.
- Microsoft has hired people who are designers to be evangelist to the design community. They are called User Experience Evangelist (UXEs) and our local one is Chris Bernard, who can be reached at his blog http://designtthinkingdigest.com.
These are all good resources, but they are very focused on Microsoft talking to the design community. What was missing was a place where the design community could talk to each other about the Microsoft products and techniques (there are, of course, more general places where designers can build community). So Microsoft has created a workspace for designers called PhizzPop. It includes information on techniques to build experiences, A gallery where you can show off your work and networking features that allow you to hook up with designers of similar interests. I encourage you to check it out and give feedback on ways to make it better.