Recently, Philip Jarvis was in the Portland Art Museum checking out an exhibit on contemporary Native American fashion. As he finished in one gallery and prepared to move on to the next, he reflexively pressed his fingertips together and then opened up his hand like a flower blooming.
He realized that he had just tried to use Bloom—the gesture that Microsoft HoloLens users make to dismiss one activity and bring up new content—as if to get to the next museum gallery.
Not only was Jarvis delighted at how ingrained his work as a software engineer on HoloLens had become into his everyday life, but he also felt that the moment was “profoundly magical.”
“This particular gesture unconsciously became physical punctuation to my train of thought; it really demonstrates just how viscerally satisfying gesture can be as an input method if it makes the user feel like a wizard,” said the software engineer.
Jarvis never thought that he’d get to work on HoloLens—a job developing for the device seemed too awesome to become reality. But the Purdue University computer science graduate applied to work at Microsoft anyway, as well as various other places. His outreach landed him interviews for various companies—interviews that “weren’t particularly bad, but weren’t excitingly good,” he said. Jarvis had the skills, but he didn’t seem to be communicating them like he wanted to in the time constraints of a typical interview.
That’s when Jarvis heard about Microsoft’s program to recruit and hire people with autism, which helps give job candidates an opportunity to show their unique talents in a nontraditional interview setting.
“The program relieved time pressures and the anxiety of supposedly having only one chance to impress,” he said.
It wasn’t until after he applied and went through the program that he found out the position he was being considered for was his dream job: a software engineer on the HoloLens team.