While at Sun, I was promoted to the role of Architect and became the first UX Architect with overall responsibility for the Sun Java Enterprise Middleware stack. As such, I was an active member of the Java ES Architectural Council. As architect, my focus was around simplifying configuration and installation of the middleware products. I also worked with the interaction designers responsible for each individual product to drive consistency and to push efforts to simplify down to each product.
One of the concepts I explored was to provide a Common Console to all installed middleware products. This would provide the administrator with a single console, rather than separate consoles for each product. By developing task and object models, we identified the tasks admins performed most frequently, then provided easy access to these tasks with the Common Console. Although this sounds somewhat straightforward, the challenge was how to provide a simple UI to replace otherwise tedious work at the command line. In many cases, the command line is easier and preferred to perform simple tasks. Thus, the UI must make the job easier, not simply perform the same task.
I worked with Product Architects and engineers to design the first monitoring framework for the Java ES Middleware products. Through this console, the administrator can view detected status and properties, set thresholds for monitoring, and view generated alerts. The challenge with this project was understanding: 1) concepts around system monitoring, 2) how an administrator would configure monitored events, and 3) how an administrator would use the detected information to provide either a proactive or reactive response. My role within this project was the Lead Interaction Designer. This was a distributed team located in California and Grenoble, France.
I was the lead designer for Sun's Application Server. This project was later open sourced and renamed Glassfish. This was a very complex domain, which required a close relationship with Product Architects and Sun Professional Services. The challenge was understanding enough of a typical workflow to understand how to better support the administrator. Simplifying configuration and navigation between elements managed by the application server was the design focus.
I was the lead designer for the Messaging Server team. This was my first project at Sun. The Messaging Server included the client facing WebMail, Calendar, and Address Book products. These products were either re-branded or used "as is" by ISPs and Enterprises deploying the Messaging Server. I worked with the lead architects to design a Java application, code named Affinity, to provide a more robust solution. I also worked with an external agency, Rocket Communications, in San Francisco to design a more "forward looking" concept and build a prototype. I then negotiated a contract with Ball State University to perform in-depth usability testing of the design. The work with Ball State was funded by Sun as a larger effort to support university programs around the country.