Last night, I attended the Canadian launch of Microsoft Expression Suite. This is their soup-to-nuts Web design software solution. As you can see from their website, it's a full suite of various tools for designers, web developers, graphic artists, etc.
This isn't exactly my crowd, but it was very interesting to mingle with this community and see how Microsoft engages them. I'd say they did a pretty good job, and it's a very important audience to be cool with. I'm pretty sure that Adobe is the tool of choice for many in the room, and Expression certainly seemed to hold their interest. I'm also pretty sure that I was the only analyst in attendance, and in my circles, this may be the first and possibly only place you'll hear about Expression.
Aside from the demos and requisite Microsoft presenters, the star of the show was GK VanPatter, a renowned designer - which was new to me. You can learn more about him via Humantific, as well as the NextDesign Leadership Institute. Pretty interesting stuff.
I love learning from people like this, and he gave some interesting perspectives about the design process. From this, it became clear to me that what Expression brings to this community is a complete platform that facilitates collaboration, which is critical to good design. GK spoke about the importance of cross-disciplinary work teams, and platforms like Expression make it possible for people in different spheres, speaking different working languages, and probably using different computer technologies, to collaborate during the process of creating good design. He also talked about Design 1.0/2.0/3.0 - and it's the same paradigm we use in the IP world, whether it be striving for Voice 2.0 or Web 2.0. Same problems - same principles - and same types of solutions. That clicked for me.
David Crow, Microsoft Canada
GK Van Patter, NextD
Technorati tags: David Crow, Jon Arnold, GK VanPatter, Microsoft Expression Studio