Future Bits, Past Bits

It’s been a while since my last update, but some pretty substantial stuff has been going on in the interim. First and foremost, I’m changing things up professionally (again): Starting the day after Memorial Day, I’ll be returning to Microsoft’s Developer Division to continue my usability research work.

It was a tough, but exciting, decision to make. Following along with this year’s MIX Conference clinched it for me; I realized how much fun DevDiv was having without me! Plus, you really can’t beat Ux team at DevDiv, and while being the lone soldier had a lot of benefits, it will be nice to be back with that team, doing what I love to do.

Speaking of which, the past month has also brought a lot of reflection on what it exactly it is that I love to do. I think this is a common reflection quest for people in the ever-expanding usability field: As it continues to fragment into subdisciplines, finding which one (or combination) of them fits you is a tricky affair, let alone finding someone to pay you to work in that niche. Friend and former-MHCIer Whitney Hess has discussed this topic at length. (PS – If you aren’t subscribed to her blog yet, you should be.)

After mulling over what I loved to do (and going through numerous portfolio drafts), I settled on Design Communication as the best nomenclature for what I love to do. Cooper is one of a very small group of companies to list this as an explicit job role; however, I realized that Design Communication is exactly what I had been doing at Microsoft, and to a lesser extent, at CMU. I think returning to a Microsoft will be a great fit for me.

If you have any thoughts on the new portfolio, I’d love to hear them. And if you’ve been wanting to visit me but are waiting for me to settle down, rest assured that I’ll be in Seattle for a good while.

Be Sociable, Share!

The conversation continues...

  1. On May 14th, 2008 at 9:32 pm, Whitney Hess said:

    Sam, mazel tov of your move. It’s not a move “back” as long as you feel it’s a step in the right direction, towards something that makes you happier and more fulfilled. Accepting that you wish to be, and are capable of being, a specialist is a true mark of maturity. I definitely haven’t gotten there yet.

    Good luck in everything that you do. If you ever want to talk more about the Design Communicator role, you know who to contact ;)

    All the best,
    Whitney

  2. On May 14th, 2008 at 9:45 pm, zsz said:

    Thanks Whitney, you’ve been giving lots of great advice in the past! I don’t know if I’ve found the niche yet, but I think if enough of us “think aloud” about what the niches are and how to combine them, like you’re doing, we’ll arrive at the answer faster. Or at least, more informed.

  3. On May 14th, 2008 at 11:50 pm, Dennis "D.C." Dietrich said:

    One question: Why did I have to dig around in your blog in order to figure out your start date instead of getting a nice email from you?! ;-)

    CU later this month!

What do you think?