Michael Gaigg: Über UI/UX Design

13Jun0

Welcoming Ryan Watkins to our UI Design Team

Posted by Michael Gaigg

I’m very pleased to announce that Ryan Watkins has joined our UI Engineering team at Esri.

Ryan earned his BS in Computer Science from University of California Riverside and attended the Art Institute in Los Angeles for Game Art & Design. His previous jobs equip him with an extensive background in front-end development (full stack) and hands-on experience in game design (unity).

Ryan is the author of the book "Procedural Content Generation for Unity Game Development"

He has a keen eye for application and graphics design and we are looking forward having him as integral part of the team, division and company. Welcome on board!

27Mar0

Web Mapping Application Interface Design – Best Practices and Tools

Posted by Michael Gaigg

These are my slides from the tech session held at the Esri DevSummit 2013 in Palm Springs, CA.

The session teaches participants best practices for reviewing, conceptualizing, designing and building user-centered mapping applications in a competitive business environment. Methods, techniques and tools for improving the user experience and designing useful and appealing front-end interfaces will be discussed.

24Jan0

Esri Cup 2013 – We are the Champions…

Posted by Michael Gaigg

Winners of the Esri Cup 2013: Red Bull Redlands

Winners of the Esri Cup 2013: Red Bull Redlands

Finally a team was able to break the spell, GiS (Geeks in Soccer) were beaten for the first time in Esri Cup history and I am glad to say that it was us that eliminated them in a strong semi-final game (7:5) just to pave the way into the final.

The trophy found its way to where it belongs: my office ;)

The trophy found its way to where it belongs: my office 😉

Once again the tournament was great fun and an amazing "work" event. For the first time we played indoors which is a whole different game that favors the technical, futsal-style players.

19Jul0

Job Posting: UX Designer & Visual Designer

Posted by Michael Gaigg

I'd like to forward two job postings by Sooriaraj Jeyaraman who is trying to fill two positions for the design team of the new Location Analytics initiative.

Feel free to submit your resume directly to Sooriaraj Jeyaraman. Thanks!

User Experience Designer

Overview / Job Description

Esri, the leader in geographic information systems (GIS) and mapping technology, is looking for an exceptional user experience designer.

Join a dynamic and energetic team working to bring Esri mapping and location analytics to the world of Business Analytics. Working alongside a focused team of product managers, developers and other user experience designers you will be responsible for setting new standards for the way users visualize their data on a map and perform analytics with maps.

The ideal candidate will be a practical-minded perfectionist who has the creative skills to grasp & simplify complex business processes through the creation of extremely intuitive user interfaces. While these are business systems, the user experience must be as easy and intuitive as the best consumer experiences.

You must be a natural collaborator who is used to develop designs in a team environment with multiple stakeholders. A passion for elegant design and incorporating new and innovative technologies is a must. Exceptional attention to detail and a good eye for aesthetics are crucial.

Requirements / Skills:

  • Strong, demonstrated understanding of User-centered design methodology
  • Experience in utilizing user research to drive design decisions
  • Solid skills in interaction design, user research, conceptual development, prototyping and usability testing
  • Experience in creating process flows, wireframes and mockups to effectively conceptualize and present detailed interaction behaviors
  • Experience in creating detailed user interface specifications
  • A strong working knowledge and experience in using tools such as Balsamiq, Axure, OmniGraffle, Photoshop/Illustrator, PowerPoint, Flash Catalyst at various design stages
  • Worked and designed Desktop, Web and Mobile applications & solutions
  • Experience with usability assessment techniques including usability heuristics, contextual enquiry and conducting lab-based usability testing
  • Worked in a cross functional team environment in an agile development process
  • Handled multiple projects at the same time
  • Experience collaborating and working closely with the UX team members.
  • Experience communicating effectively to the stakeholders
  • Experience in creatively solving complex problems within aggressive deadlines
  • A portfolio demonstrating past work experience and relevant User-Centered Design solutions

Experience:

  • A Master’s degree in Human Factors, Human Computer Interaction, Usability Engineering, Cognitive Psychology or such related field
  • Minimum two years of work experience in user experience design

Visual Designer

Overview / Job Description

Esri, the leader in geographic information systems (GIS) and mapping technology, is looking for an exceptional visual designer.

Join a dynamic and energetic team working to bring Esri mapping and location analytics to the world of Business Analytics. Working alongside a focused team of product managers, developers and other user experience designers you will be responsible for setting new standards for the way users visualize their data on a map and perform analytics with maps.

The ideal candidate will be a practical-minded perfectionist who has the creative skills to grasp & simplify complex business processes through the creation of extremely intuitive user interfaces and engaging visual and motion designs. While these are business systems, the user experience must be as easy and intuitive as the best consumer experiences.

You must be a natural collaborator who is used to develop designs in a team environment with multiple stakeholders. A passion for elegant design and incorporating new and innovative technologies is a must. Exceptional attention to detail and a good eye for aesthetics are crucial.

Requirements / Skills:

  • Strong, demonstrated understanding of User-centered design methodology
  • Experience in utilizing user research to drive design decisions
  • Exceptional skills in Photoshop, Illustrator and other layout and design tools.
  • Knowledge and experience using animation software such as Flash and/or After Effects
  • Good general understanding of web and mobile platforms and experience producing designs and assets for them
  • Excellent understanding of general design principles and practices
  • Ability to create balanced, well formed layouts in print and interactive projects
  • Strong background in typography and color theory
  • Familiarity and facility with icon creation and icon systems
  • Top-notch communication skills
  • Efficient time management
  • Strong design portfolio that shows great potential

Experience:

  • Bachelor's degree in graphic design, web development or an equivalent combination of education and experience
  • 1-2 years experience in professional interactive design capacity
27Mar0

Esri’s First Homepage – Esri.com Anno 1994

Posted by Michael Gaigg

Esri.com anno 1994

Esri.com anno 1994

Today I have a special treat for you, an awesome piece of Esri's history (thx Jayson for pointing this out to me):

1994 - www.esri.com launched

Gotta love this!

Reminds me of my first homepage made in 1993, unfortunately I don't have any screenshots or code anymore (one of my biggest regrets). All I remember is that I used frames, lots of beveled buttons an an animated GIF for the email link.

Can't believe how far we've come in only 20 years.

10Mar0

Amazing: National Geographic World Map by Esri

Posted by Michael Gaigg

Yes, I'd rather be skiing in the Austrian Alps as well... 😉 Amazing map!!


View Larger Map

This map is designed to be used as a general reference map for informational and educational purposes as well as a basemap by GIS professionals and other users for creating web maps and web mapping applications.

The map was developed by National Geographic and Esri and reflects the distinctive National Geographic cartographic style in a multi-scale reference map of the world. The map was authored using data from a variety of leading data providers, including DeLorme, NAVTEQ, UNEP-WCMC, NASA, ESA, USGS, and others.

Link to map contents on ArcGIS online: National Geographic World Map

12Aug0

Use Kinect to navigate ArcGlobe

Posted by Michael Gaigg

As reported by Richie, Esri’s Applications Prototype Lab released a sample for ArcGlobe that allows users to navigate in three dimensions using a Kinect sensor and simple hand gestures.

2 thumbs up!

20Apr0

Successful Map App = Frame the Question

Posted by Michael Gaigg

What makes a Map App successful?

It sounds so easy and obvious. It's the basic, the 101 of analysis, Input-Analysis-Output. Usually I skip over introductions of books and that's especially true when I know the subject matter like GIS, but for some reason I started reading "The Esri Guide to GIS Analysis, Volume 1" (by Andy Mitchell, Esri Press) and it struck me like lightning, this is exactly what we should be doing:

You start an analysis by figuring out what information you need. This is often in the form of a question. Where were most of the burglaries last month? How much forest in each watershed? Which parcels are within 500 feet of this liquor store? Being as specific as possible about the question you're trying to answer will help you decide how to approach the analysis, which method to use, and how to present the results.

Other factors that influence the analysis are how it will be used and who will use it. You might simply be exploring the data on your own to get a better understanding of how a place developed or how things behave; or you may need to present results to policy makers or the public for discussion, for scientific review, or in a courtroom setting. In the latter cases, your methods need to be more rigorous, and the results more focused.

Frame the Question

Framing the question correctly will tell you:

  • The problem you are trying to solve
  • The approach of the analysis you want to use
  • Which methods to use
  • How to present the results

Who & How

Other factors that influence the analysis are:

  • Who will use it?
  • How will they use it?
  • How are the results being used?

Design Implications

All this will impact your design, on what you should focus and how to lay the elements out on the page. Consider:

  • Get the user to the location they are interested quickly
  • Create clear call to action that allows the user to get answers to his/her question
  • Simplify the methods on how to do analysis
  • Provide means to use or export the results
5Apr0

Esri Redistricting App on Frontpage of ArcNews (Spring 2011)

Posted by Michael Gaigg

Redistricting app featured on ArcNews, Spring 2011

Redistricting app featured on ArcNews, Spring 2011

It's always exciting to see your designs come to life but it's even cooler to be featured on the front page of a ArcNews Spring 2011, one of Esri's main publications.

"Esri Redistricting is a Web-based solution for state and local governments, legislators, and advocacy groups to create political and geographic redistricting plans." The app is hosted by Esri and delivered as software-as-a-service through annual subscriptions (30 days free trial available).

Mockups in MS PowerPoint

First of all I want to mention that the project became a success only for the dedicated and hard work of so many talented people, my part was really only the literal drop on a hot stone.

Very early on I had the feeling that this project would benefit from higher graphical fidelity (maps, charts, colors were important) so I decided to use Microsoft PowerPoint to communicate the designs. Using my wireframe stencils to draw the UI elements we iterated through multiple versions and approaches.

Main Lesson: Use slide master layout as background

Mockups in MS PowerPoint

Mockups in MS PowerPoint

My biggest lesson was the need to create a new layout to the Slide Master which would serve as the background. This layout included the banner (logo, user information), the menu (ribbon) and the map area.

Advantages:

  • Changes propagated to all slides (e.g. modify a label)
  • Easy manipulation of elements on top of static background
  • Remove source of errors (forgot to update a slide)
  • Cleaner in general 😉
6Dec0

Esri World Cup 2010

Posted by Michael Gaigg

Red Bull Redlands

From left: Monika Nientiedt, Joseph Vargas, Evelyn Guido, Diane Samu, Val Dotchkov; Francisco Perez, Alexei Olekh, Ventislav Korichkov, Selim Dissem, Michael Gaigg

Yesterday we played the first Esri World Cup, an Esri internal co-ed soccer (football) tournament with 10 teams and players ranging from super-athletes to old-time veterans and resurrected dinosaurs (myself included).

It was a ton of fun, we saw some great moves and exciting games and best of all - we made second place - whoohooo!

We won our group in a sovereign manner and beat the second place team of the other group 7:2 in the semi final. Moving to the final we faced the expected opponent - GiS (Geeks in Soccer) - the strongest team of the tournament and anticipated winner just by looking at their roster and experience.

We held the 0:0 for quite some time until a long pass outmaneuvered our defense which led to the 0:1, followed minutes later by a disputable penalty kick (0:2). We managed to shorten to 1:2 just before half-time and basically played power-play in second half when GiS changed their strategy to holding the result with an ultra-strong defense and counter attacks, one of which resulted in the final 1:3 and secured their win. Congrats!

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