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Job: User Experience Designer, Harris Broadcast Communications Division

Posted: April 21st, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Jobs | No Comments »

Company: Harris Broadcast Communications Division

Location: Waterloo, Ontario


We are looking for a User Experience Designer who is ready to move into a junior designer/information architect role. You will be involved in many projects spanning from iOS apps for the iPad to Windows based productivity applications and web based solutions. You will drive the usability of our products, by producing the visual tools that serve as blue prints for the overall information architecture and user experience. Some of the main responsibilities are to help define user requirements, interactively design, prototype and build user interfaces. This includes the definition of software components and behaviours for immediate use in our leading edge broadcast computer graphics product line. The candidate will also be responsible for maintaining the consistency of the user’s experience across the entire product line both from a branding and interaction perspective.


  • Lead the effort with product managers and development staff to understand and define project requirements.
  • Conduct usability studies, focus groups and user observations with customer and end users.
  • Collaborate in the creation of Personas, Use Cases, and Task Flows that help teams focus on the user needs.
  • Collaborate in the development of prototypes to demonstrate interactive concepts and/or facilitate usability research.
  • Conceptualize and wireframe user interfaces.
  • Produce killer visual design and assist with the production of user interfaces across multiple platforms.
  • Work closely with other members of the project team to negotiate implementation issues and support the development effort.
  • Maintain, improve and audit UI specifications and guidelines against existing products and competitor products.
  • Research into design and usability best practices to maintain best of breed.
  • Performs other tasks as may be required by the Company (demos, icons, broadcast graphics, etc.).

Essential Skills & Requirements

  • 4+ years combined educational experience with a Degree in Graphic Design, HCI, Information Design and/or industry experience.
  • Proven interactive design experience and knowledge
  • Solid experience of working across a range of design projects from websites to new media.
  • Excellent understanding of user centered design principles and methods.
  • Must be detail-oriented, deadline driven, and able to multi-task with solid organizational, time management, and follow through.
  • Able to collaborate with members of a multidisciplinary team.
  • Detail oriented with the ability to learn quickly in a constantly changing environment.
  • Proficient knowledge of Photoshop and Illustrator.

Value Add

  • Experience and understanding of XAML, Silverlight and WPF platforms (including Expression Blend, Visual Studio)
  • Experience with designing user interfaces for iOS (iPad, iPhone)
  • HTML5/CSS3 experience

Send your resume with a cover letter to Matt Campbell at

March Recap- 7 Minute Soapbox on User Experience

Posted: April 19th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Events | No Comments »

 In our March 7 Minute Soapbox event, we had uxWaterloo members share their ideas in an open format!  The only catch was that they had 7 minutes on the podium.  Our volunteers braved this challenge and shared some great insights with our group!   Notes from each session have been posted below and thank you to all of our volunteers for sharing their ideas.

 We hope to see you at tonight’s uxWaterloo event, where Tammy teWinkel shares her insights from working in usability at RIM!  For more information about tonight’s event and to register, please visit: Confessions of a qualitative girl in a quant-filled world at RIM.

Mark Connolly

 Mark shared information about the usefulness of realistic data in UI mockups.  He explained that the right time to move away from fake to realistic data in your designs all depends on the project and the audience.  Sometimes you move onto realistic data early on, to get more feedback from users in testing.  But, be aware that there is some overhead with doing realistic mockups in HTML, CSS and JavaScript. 

 Sandra Loop

 Sandra showed us how she has used PowerPoint to explain concepts.  This has been a useful technique for her, as it’s very easy to share files with team members and it is a fast way to explain a concept to a development team.  She proved that the animations that are built in with PowerPoint allow you to explore a new or unusual design problem and to work on showing possible alternatives. 

 Karen Cecile

 Karen shared a story about her parents’ adventures with technology.  She emphasized that when designing for the general market, we should always keep seniors in mind.  Seniors often have unique needs and conducting a quick interview may help you quickly understand ways to tailor a product or design to them.  

 Tom Robinson

 Tom shared his journey through his personal experiences in usability.   He explained that during school, he focused on development.  As he worked in various positions and throughout grad school, the purpose of usability became clearer and he gravitated toward a user-centered approach.  While discussing, the group agreed with Tom and thought that having usability courses available in design/development course curricula would help promote usability.

 Robert Barlow-Busch

 Bob based his talk off of Jane McGonigal’s book, “Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World.”  This book outlines that real life can be changed into games.  For example, Prius has a fuel monitor that shows your fuel economy.  People change their driving behaviour and become better drivers because of this game.   Other examples of games are Runkeeper, which changes running into a game, and Chore Wars, which turns chores into quests. Overall, we should consider how games motivate us and can help us become better people!

 Maryam Ashoor

 Maryam let us know that when she was visiting the Google China site, she found that she could no longer navigate back to the site.  She also mentioned that you should test to see if your webpages are translated by search engines.  You should take cultural factors like colours and text into consideration when building a webpage that will be globally accessible.

Call for Participation in Research on Work/Life Balance and Mobile Technology

Posted: April 14th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: General | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

Some of you may remember Sam Ladner’s presentation to UX Waterloo back in February, in which she mentioned a research project on mobile technology. Sam’s delighted to announce that she’s starting the recruitment phase of this project. More from Sam below.

Call for Participation in Research on Work/Life Balance and Mobile Technology

Are you a smartphone user? Do you want to know more about how this device is affecting our lives? We want to talk to you!

Ryerson University is seeking to recruit smartphone users to participate in a social research study on mobile technology. Hosted at the Ted Rogers School of Management, this project asks the simple question: what happens when workplace technologies like the BlackBerry come into the household? The research team is looking to recruit people who have used a smartphone for work and personal use for the last six months, preferably in the Greater Toronto Area.

The research will be publicly available. We will be sharing white papers and conference presentations with the community at large. Those interested in mobile technology will learn more about how individuals use their phones at home, the kinds of content they typically use, and what frustrates them about current software and hardware design.

All participants will remain completely anonymous.

Participants will be visited at home by a researcher, who will conduct an interview and will spend time visiting and observing the participant’s home experience with their smartphone. All participation is strictly confidential.

Recruitment will begin in April, with field work happening throughout the spring and summer. Participants from across the country will be considered, but those in Southern Ontario are preferred. The project is being lead by Dr. Sam Ladner, postdoctoral research fellow, and co-principal investigators Dr. Catherine Middleton and Dr. Ozgur Oturetken.

Learn more at and on Twitter @mobileworklife.

Job: Usability Specialist, Desire2Learn

Posted: April 12th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Jobs | No Comments »

Bright minds creating bright futures! Desire2Learn is a leading provider of enterprise eLearning software solutions to academic clients and other organizations around the world. We have been recognized by the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 program as one of the fastest growing companies in Canada for the last 4 years! This prestigious award recognizes our strength and success as we continue to grow. We have also been named one of Canada’s Top 50 Small & Medium Employers, as well as one of Waterloo Region’s Top 15 Employers for 2011. Within our unique and thriving culture, our talented team is encouraged to drive innovation and excellence in an environment that promotes collaboration, continuous improvement and effective communication; not to mention having fun while doing it! We are looking for superstars who share our commitment to improving teaching and learning world-wide. Our challenging projects, company perks and overall passion for the eLearning industry are the Desire2Learn Difference! Learn more at

General Description

The Usability Specialist will work across product teams to define and implement user experience standards and best practices. They will provide research support at all phases of the design process. To drive integration of research findings, the Usability Specialist will develop written summaries and concept designs.

The usability specialist will promote inclusive design by researching, specifying, designing and advocating for accessibility-oriented features and functionality.

Additionally, they will act as an ambassador for Desire2Learn accessibility and user experience both internally and within the larger user community.

Main Duties

  • Conducts research into ergonomics and human-computer interaction (HCI)
  • Ensures consistency and ease of use of the product
  • Conducts design reviews
  • Responsible for accessibility reviews and evangelism
  • Conducts remote and in-person user research
  • Facilitates user-centered design practices throughout the Product Design function
  • Creates and maintains all necessary patterns and design guides

Work Experience Recommendations

  • 3-5+ years experience working in a professional environment on user experience design and research
  • Ability to dialogue with cross-functional teams (from product management to development)
  • Experience planning and facilitating usability testing, focus groups, and customer interviews
  • Knowledge of eLearning and/or Learning Management Systems is an asset
  • Familiar with web technologies and Software Development Life Cycle
  • An exceptional understanding of fundamental design principles and graphical design fundamentals
  • A proven ability to articulate design concepts
  • Superior technical writing skills
  • Strong analytical, communication, and interpersonal skills

Technical Expertise (Strongly encouraged)

  • 3+ years of experience with C#, .NET and Microsoft tools and technologies
  • Fluent in CSS, HTML and JavaScript with understanding of cross-browser design issues and clean work-arounds
  • Experience working with Web Standards and Accessibility Standards
  • Experience with enterprise web applications
  • Experience with web-based security is considered an asset

Education Recommendations

Post-secondary degree in human factors or interaction design (or equivalent professional experience)

This is your opportunity to make a big impact in the area of next-generation eLearning applications! Candidates that have the combination of skills and abilities as outlined are invited to submit their qualifications in confidence today through our website at We thank all applicants in advance for their interest. Only those applicants whose profiles closely match our requirements will be contacted directly.