Jeff Blankenburg has a new video series that he’s starting to do called JUXtapose which stands for Jeff on User Experience. That’s a clever twist on words there.

What Jeff doesn’t mention is that he “grew up” in the technical end of a marketing firm implementing the whims and ideas of the designers. Through that experience, Jeff learned a lot about user experience and design. He was the designer of the original CodeMash site and gear head logo. imageThat’s why in his video he said that he was “familiar” with the gear head.

In his first video, he builds a Silverlight 1.0 gear head with spinning gears. I like it for a number of reasons. It clearly demonstrates the power of declarative vector graphics and timelines in XAML. I’ve done the stupid demo that everyone does for Expression Blend and Silverlight where you take text, put it on a timeline with a gradient and have it spin about the screen a little. As Chris Bernard put it – that’s Silverlight Blink meaning that it’s the thing that everyone is going to do because it’s simple but it’s annoying as all get out to the user. However, that was random movement around the screen. To actually make it do something deliberate like Jeff did has been well outside of my depth.

In his second video, Jeff tracked down the CTO as well as the Dev Tools Product Manager, Visual Design Manager of Component One and interviewed them about the controls that they are creating for Silverlight 1.1. That set of controls, called Sapphire, went Alpha yesterday which happened to be the day that he posted the video. It’s a well done video with lots of good information. I liked the their attitude where they see Silverlight as a way to reuse their desktop development knowledge, toolset and more for web development. This is the direction that Microsoft is taking things – extending our current base’s (mostly desktop developers) experience and abilities to the space known as RIA. Adobe has been in the RIA space for a while and with AIR, they are trying to extend their base’s (mostly web developers) experience and abilities to the desktop. This is a subtle but hugely important distinction that Component One understands and is excited about.

On a side note – it was interesting to hear that Component One, as a control vendor, is an agile shop developing in an iterative fashion.

JUXtapose – Jeff on User Experience