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A Website Named Desire

Those who know me and/or read this blog know I'm a fairly large Flash platform fanboy. So it may come as a surprise I am blogging about a project recently completed here at XPLANE's Portland studio for Microsoft and their new suite of interactive production tools -- which includes Silverlight.

The project is called "A Website Named Desire" and we at XPLANE created a poster (note: not the related website built in Silverlight) of the entire process a typical agency would go through to create a large website. While the poster does not directly mention the Microsoft suite of tools, it does do an amazing job of showing the whole ecosystem in an engaging, visual storytelling manner. Fairly humorous, too -- be sure to spend some time checking out all the various little details.

If you'd like to check out the whole poster, you can download a PDF of it (6 MB) here, or visit Microsoft at one of the upcoming conferences where they will be presenting it. You can find a list of those conferences on the supporting website.

Review: Guidelines for Online Success

Rob Ford, founder of The FWA, and Taschen Books have posted a virtual copy of their upcoming book "Guidelines for Online Success" for viewing before the print version hits bookstore shelves.

I ended up spending about an hour flipping though the virtual edition, and this is both a great reference and a great source for inspiration. I have previously posted about several of the smaller Taschen web design books, and while those are great for inspiration, I always felt they lacked any educational component. "Guidelines for Online Success" takes the normal screenshots of amazing interactive projects and then discusses what makes them amazing, how you can learn from their success, and how to avoid some possible pitfalls.

I have a feeling as soon as I get my copy, it'll become a well used resource for both inspiration and interactivity guidelines. Every agency should have at least one copy of this book, so pre-order a copy from Amazon.com today.

Microsoft Giving Away Virtual PC 2007

In an effort to make the switch to Vista as painless as possible, Microsoft is giving away Virtual PC 2007 as a free download on their website. The idea is that users can install Vista and then use Virtual PC to setup a virtual environment with Windows XP installed. Then if there are any issues running their favorite apps under Vista, they can just fire up the virtualized copy of XP. I first read about this at Yahoo! News.

To be clear, I was a bit confused at first because my only experience with Virtual PC was in OS X, where you could run Windows on your Mac... before they had Intel processors. But, this one is all Windows, as it requires Vista Enterprise/Ultimate or XP Professional/Tablet PC to be the host OS.

I had been a die hard Windows guy for years until I finally switched about 4 months ago, and I still always have a copy of XP running in Parallels non-stop. But really, with this approach Microsoft sure isn't screaming that Vista is stable and compatible...

This reminds me - hop over to Brendan Dawes' site for a blog entry he wrote about his recent trip to Microsoft headquarters in Redmond:

"I have to admit I didn't know what to expect meeting people who worked at Microsoft - a company that many people love to hate. But without exception everyone was passionate about what they were doing there - with creativity and the love of good design seeming to be at the heart of everything they do. I didn't think I'd ever be using the words Microsoft and creativity in the same paragraph but I've been there and met some of the people who are trying to change the perception of Microsoft and it was very inspiring."

Assembly Instructions = Great Experience Design

Not too long ago I received some monitor stands and upon opening the boxes I was surprised at what I found on the back of the assembly instructions:

Rolodex Assembly Instructions

Rolodex, you made my day. You created an "experience" for me, and it left a very positive impression about your brand. In addition, you found a way to bring some fun to the mundane task of screwing monitor stands together.

After going around the office and sharing my discovery with everyone (who, I should say, were all equally impressed), I quickly took on the task of folding my paper crane.

I only got half way done, however, because once I folded to a certain point I couldn't read the instructions anymore. Luckily others in my office knew what they were doing and were able to finish my crane for me :)

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