Here's an interesting job posting that came via Mark Hurst's Good Experience newsletter. Microsoft is hiring senior user experience people to "engage in a dialog about the impact of user experience on business and life." Fascinating!
Job Opening: Microsoft (Microsoft User Experience Evangelists )
Title: Microsoft User Experience Evangelists
Location: San Francisco/Bay Area and New York
Salary: $80 – 130K + bonus + options
Are you 'all about' user experience? Do you have a passion for design and the creative process, technical exposure in design and web development technologies, and curiosity and exceptional communication and presentation skills?
We are looking for User Experience Evangelists across the US and globally to engage the broader design community in a dialogue about the impact of user experience on business and life in general, and on how Microsoft's newest platforms and tools (MS Expression release 2007) are leading the market in enabling customers to build rich, immersive, compelling end-user experiences. These are NOT sales roles. Additionally, you will form a critical part of a strategic end user experience research group that delivers accurate feedback to the product development teams.
I'm not advertising this as much as I'm pointing it out as a bit of commentary. That they're taking user experience seriously is a good thing. But the Apple user in me wonders what it means that they're hiring people to sell it. Apple hires designers who espouse it and then let it emerge as an integral part of that brand's promise. Design is a core value at Apple. Is there a sea change in Microsoft where we can expect this kind of transformation into a company that truly cares at its core about elegant and simple user experiences rather than merely slapping on a graphic, rolling out it's long list of features and calling it user friendly?
I'm reminded of the Presentation Zen blog entry comparing the presentation styles of executives at Apple vs. at Microsoft. Apple presentations exude simplicity and elegance. Microsoft presentations pour everything at you including the kitchen sink. It's like the difference between a designer's approach to displaying a list and an engineer's. The designer obsesses over how to communicate effectively. The engineer takes care to be comprehensive in her presentation. (Sorry for the generalizations.) But I've digressed a bit haven't I?
I'm just wondering what brought about this need to hire evangelists. I wonder how they can "make" an evangelist of someone. I wonder how effective this campaign will be. Is it an attempt at viral marketing of the simplicity meme? I don't know. But if you're interested in applying, contact Rita Sue Siegel Associates.