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Michael Baynger (User Advocate)

Founder of The User Advocate Group based in Ottawa and Toronto, Canada.

I'm a User Interface Systems Architect with 20+ years of software design/development (with an emphasis on usability) primarily in desktop applications. In the last 2+ years, shifted over to WWW apps.

I work with other Drupal design/development organizations to bring usability expertise to their operations. Working pretty much exclusively on Drupal projects for the last year and spend a lot of time doing Drupal theming.

I'm at Drupalcon to meet people and find out more about how the community works and find out how I might be able to contribute some of my time, skills, expertise, etc. to the community.

Where I'm Coming From
I approach usability from the point of view of ‘proactive information architecture' involving front analysis of usability requirements as well as back end strategic design and implementation. In effect, bridging the gap between end users and engineers.

Over the last 2 and half years I've been learning PHP, Mysql, AJAX, etc. and for the last year focused heavily on the ins and outs of front and back end Drupal.

Currently exploring methods of building sites that use what I call 'theme-agnostic IA modules'. Fun stuff.

Other Random Stuff
Original background in visual art (multi-media, videdo, performance, etc) transitioned to software in 1980's.

Protoyped a hybrid raster and vector paint system back in the late 1980's. Produced 4000 x 3000 pixel images with scriptable rendering effects based on DXF vector files generated in Autocad.

Worked as visionary for Corel Corporation in early ‘90's. Designed and built many special effects for CorelDraw versions 2 to 5. Shifted over to usability, leading the UI design and engineering team for Version 6. Later shifting over to Corel's multimedia products where I designed and built a scriptable multimedia presentation engine in C++ (kinda like Flash before Flash happened).

After Corel, designed UI systems for large scale networked resources (DVR's), call center management, video analytics, temporal data search UIs, etc.

Well versed in front end user facing work which involves feeling the pain of users and helping to make it stop (usability testing, usability requirements analysis, user interface systems design, user interface component invention).

Well experienced with procedural and OO programming languages both strongly and weakly typed (C, C++, some Java, and other proprietary OO languages.)

Beyond the obvious, the best user experiences for me are building sandcastles and dancing Salsa. Good benchmarks to have.

On the web user name: 
The User Advocate Group