If you're not familiar with Simon Guest , he's on Microsoft's Architecture Strategy Team. While the name may not mean a whole lot to you, you'll probably recognize the Architecture Journal , of which Simon is the editor. If that's still not ringing a bell, I suggest you at least give it a look-see. A lot of devs find the concepts too abstract, so it's not for everyone. Each edition is very themed, so you'll usually have a good idea of how much you'll get out of it pretty early. Either way, that's not what this is all about... Simon started pushing user experience for architects about two years ago, if I remember correctly (probably not). I kind of latched onto this because I'm a huge proponent of user experience. Like most developers, I'm no designer, but I think I do have some artistic ability... at least moreso than most developers I've met. Of course, it's not all about graphic design; behavioral design (aka human-computer interaction or HCI) is actually the biggest part of user experience. Admittedly, I have a lot to learn in this arena. I'm finding out a lot of it has to do with merely thinking outside the box and trying to imagine simpler ways to get tasks done, but even that isn't as simple as it sounds.
I was lucky enough to see a presentation on user experience Simon put on at Microsoft's internal conference for those of us in the field, TechReady. His presentation was absolutely awesome. I left psyched about one thing: getting him and his team out to a project I'm working on. We have a number of systems that could seriously use some re-engineering on the UI front. Then again, what system doesn't? I don't know if it's going to work out or not -- there are a lot of factors that come into play. Nonetheless, I'm hopeful. I'd seriously enjoy the opportunity to leach off the process Simon and his team use.
If you have an opportunity to see Simon's user experience presentation, I highly suggest you take advantage of that. He recently posted the slides from his recent appearance at the San Diego UX Summit, so that's a start; but I have to let you know you won't get the same experience. Simon's presentation is something you need to see in person.