FileMaker Design Studio Scheduled for New York City

New York, NY. -- July 25, 2011 -- The Craft of FileMaker announced ( today they will be hosting their next Design Studio for FileMaker Pro Developers October 24th – 26th in New York City. This intensive, three day, learning experience will be lead by veteran FileMaker Developer's Conference Speaker Don Levan, President of Vanguard Custom Software and Founder of the Craft of FileMaker.

Attendees of The Design Studio will learn a formal process for solving complex problems:

  • Conduct design research
  • Derive requirements from personas and scenarios
  • Identify and use design patterns
  • Develop and refine ideas
  • Prototype and test designs
  • Utilize feedback to improve solutions

Eight FileMaker Inc. staff have attended the Design Studio (formerly known as the "Fundamentals of Exceptional Interface Design Workshop"). Jesse Barnum, President of 360Works, had this to say of the workshop, "This workshop really helped us in the design of the document check-in screen of DocuBin, our newest product. After implementing what we learned, we simplified, re-worded, and rearranged the buttons so that the result of each choice is much more obvious. It's little touches like this that make any software appealing, both to look at and to use."

What is design?

Design is an intentional process in which you elicit, derive, decide, clarify, and plan the solution to a given problem. Sketches, prototypes, technical plans, and finished solutions are the artifacts that result from a design process.

Design is also a key differentiator. A minimum level of design used to be enough to demonstrate professionalism, craft, and care. The overwhelming success of IOS, the growing acceptance of web-standards, and the sophistication of the user base, has significantly raised what is considered acceptable. Indeed, applications and websites that look amateurish or have poor interaction design are often viewed with contempt and distrust.

How can learning a formal design process help developers?

It is almost impossible to hit the right solution the first time. Most people and businesses don't know exactly what they want or need. As a result, a lot of time, money, and effort is spent undoing the initial attempts or working around ingenious solutions to the wrong problem. An effective design process saves money by identifying the right problems to solve and by developing effective solutions early when it is most cost effective.

Additionally, a repeatable design process makes it possible to have confidence in your estimates and projected timelines, and makes it significantly easier to sell better projects.

Who is teaching this course?

Dr. Don Levan, President of Vanguard Custom Software and the Founder of the Craft of FileMaker is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist, FileMaker 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11 Certified Developer, and former photo journalist. Dr. Levan was a speaker at the 2010 FileMaker Developer's Conference, will be speaking again at the 2011 FileMaker Developer's Conference, and is an accomplished presenter and teacher. He has taught courses and seminars on interaction design, programming skills, and psychology. Dr. Levan founded Vanguard Custom Software after creating a series of practice management systems for the mental health and medical clinics where he was treating as a Clinical Psychologist.

What are past attendees saying?

"This course is a must-have for all serious developers."
— Paul Spafford, FM

"This workshop changed the way I work forever!"
— Marty Thomasson, Gearbox Solutions

"Absolutely fantastic material, professionally delivered."
— James Hea, Project Manager, FileMaker Systems at HSBC Bank Bermuda Limited

"I would wholeheartedly recommend this workshop to any serious FileMaker developer trying to bring the best user experience possible to his or her clients."
— Richard Carlton, President of Carlton Consulting, Platinum member of the FileMaker Business Alliance

"This workshop provided clear and tangible examples and exercises that engaged us to rethink how we approach requirements gathering and dovetail that into intentional system design."
— Adam Aronson, President of FullCity Consulting, Platinum member of the FileMaker Business Alliance

"The workshop was fun and stimulating and will raise the game of those who care about designing databases at the highest level… I learned a lot in a short time."
— Doug Gardner, President of Exoteric, Six-time speaker at the FileMaker Developer's Conference

"It's a ‘must do’ for FileMaker developers who do not have a background in formal software development. It will save them and their clients much time and aggravation if they apply the process presented in the workshop. Otherwise, they will repeatedly re-invent the common mistakes inherent in a free-form design development process."
— Dale Stuart, Ph.D., Sc.D., President, CEO, StarQuick Solutions, Inc., Makers of TheraQuick

What does the workshop cost?

Registration for the class is $1,499 US. Attendees can receive a $200 discount if they register by October 1st. To receive the discount, enter the discount code "Early" on the registration form.

Where can I get more information about the Design Studio?

Dr. Levan will be presenting "The Fundamentals of Exceptional Interface Design" at the 2011 FileMaker Developer's Conference (Thursday, August 4th, 9AM). This session will provide a high level overview of the process and practices covered in the Design Studio.

Paul Spafford, of Spafford Data Solutions, has written a review of his experience attending the the first Design Studio on his blog, You can read his review here.

Matt Navarre, of MSN Media, interviewed Don Levan on the FM Talk Podcast. You can listen to that interview here.

What else do attendees need to know?

The Studio is being held at the 825 3rd Avenue (50th Street) in the heart of New York City.

The Studio will run from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. each day. Participants are encouraged to bring their laptop computers. Paper, sharpies, sticky notes, and six-up templates will be provided. Participants will receive a recommended reading list in advance of the Studio.

Participants are responsible for their own meals.

Relevant Links

Craft of FileMaker,
Vanguard Custom Software,

The Craft of FileMaker is a service of Vanguard Custom Software. Vanguard's mission is to "create simple applications which solve complex problems." They incorporate software development best practices, interaction design, and cognitive psychology to create data-driven applications and websites that are efficient for business and easy for people.

Don Levan
Vanguard Custom Software, LLC.
United States

About FileMaker, Inc.

FileMaker is the leader in easy-to-use database software. Millions of people, from individuals to some of the world's largest companies, rely on FileMaker software to manage, analyze and share essential information. The company's products are the FileMaker line - versatile database software for teams and organizations, for Windows, Mac, iPhone, iPad and the web - and Bento, the personal database for Mac, iPhone and iPad. FileMaker, Inc. is a subsidiary of Apple.

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Kevin Mallon

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