How a Mobile Phone Video Turned Into a Career in Computer Design

Learning From Experience

“My cousin had a new Windows Phone 7 and from the time I touched it, the motion, storytelling, and animation just drew me in. I started moving the phone to music and started to imagine motion graphics with music behind it.” It took him two weeks to create a commercial and sync it to the animation. “I released it and when I woke up the next day I had a bunch of e-mails and my Twitter was blowing up.”

Microsoft offered Foy the opportunity to create another video for their annual MIX conference in Las Vegas. The agreement was that if the second video got at least 200,000 views, Microsoft would air the spot in a national television ad. The video ( didn’t quite reach the mark, but he did get a job offer.

Responsibilities: Foy is one of many UX designers on the Experience Design and Research (XDR) Personality team at Microsoft. In his specialized role he also creates animations for Windows, Windows Live, and Windows Portals. His team is charged with creating user-centered design principles that deliver simple, effective, and efficient design solutions to “wow” users and streamline their work.

Nurturing Talent: A native of Fort Lauderdale, Foy comes from an artistic family. By age three he was using graphic painting programs such as Microsoft Paint. “I can remember doing all sorts of stuff on my computer at that age. I used my computer as an extension of things I was creating traditionally.” By high school Foy would go on to learn more advanced programs such as Adobe Photoshop, a graphics editing program.

Preferred Skills: “We’re shifting into a design-focused environment, and I think animation is the future. It’s still a new industry, but for a student thinking about UX as a career, you should know enough about Illustrator, Photoshop, After Effects, Cinema 4D, and any other digital artist programs that you can get your hands on. Take classes in design and animation principles. However, these products are just tools. It depends on how much you as an artist put into your designs.”

Most Important Part of Your Job: Being a strategic thinker and a  problem solver, as well as being innovative, enthusiastic, flexible, and creative, are all important aspects of a job, but collaborating with other designers, using researchers, program managers, and engineering teams is necessary to effectively present, explain, negotiate, and monitor design solutions. “Communication is key. I always strive to keep an open communication with everyone because my team’s feedback helps us all deliver projects of a higher quality.”