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In This Issue:
AZAD Monthly Updates
Microsoft Visual Studio 11 Enhances Productivity, Reduces Distractions
Usability Testing Includes Users as Stakeholders
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azad 401(k) Plan

Open Enrollment

April 1, 2012


Participating in a 401(k) plan helps individuals save for their retirement and at the same time reduce their current income taxes.


Participation entry dates for the azad 401(k) plan are quarterly on the first of January, April, July, and October.


The next quarterly opportunity to enroll or make changes to the azad 401(k) plan is  April 1, 2012. Required Change / Enrollment forms may be obtained by contacting azad Administration. Completed forms need to be returned to azad by March 23rd for April 1st changes.


The retirement plan limits for 2012 are:

- 401(k) Elective Salary Deferral

Limit is $17,000

-  the age 50 Catch-Up Limit is $5,500.


Please remember that payroll contribution changes to the contribution percentage or dollar amount may only be made quarterly. 

However, discontinuation of the deferral percentage may be made at any time.


Deferrals are transferred to azad's 401(k) provider on a monthly basis following the last pay period of each month.

If you have any questions or need any assistance with benefit information, please contact azad Administration at: 

(503) 617-9490 or




azad newsletter
March 2012
Welcome to the azad e-newsletter.  As always, we look forward to your feedback as well as contributions to make this monthly newsletter an effective communication platform for our employees and business partners. Please continue to e-mail your suggestions and feedback to

azad Monthly Updates 



After Work Employee Get Together: Please mark your calendars for Thursday, April 4th, 2012 to join your azad colleagues for an after work get together. Invitations will be sent out soon with more details.


Your Feedback: Thank you for the great feedback you provided last month. azad values your suggestions and input greatly and uses this information to help expand the continued growth and success of both the individual employee and the overall organization. This feedback is just one of the avenues that azad utilizes to maintain continued, open communication among its employees.  Please email your feedback to   

Introducing Andrea Ngo: As you may already know, Andrea joined azad's team as an Administrative Assistant in January. Andrea recently graduated from Portland State University and brings forth a strong interest for technology along with her dedicated support and assistance to azad and its employees. She has a strong passion and interest for volunteering her time to several non-profit organizations including the National MS Society and previous work at a crisis center. She also enjoys traveling and making some time every now and then to teach herself piano. She is another resource for employees when they have questions regarding general employee benefits, including open enrollment periods, or azad's E-timesheets, to which she will offer her timely, reliable assistance. Through her frequent communication with employees she is providing another opportunity for open communication which is so important to azad and its employees' success. Please contact her at (503) 617-9490 or


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Microsoft Visual Studio 11 Enhances Productivity, Reduces Distractions 

 By Thor Olavsrud, CIO, NetworkWorld, February 28, 2012 



Microsoft will deliver betas of both its integrated development environment (IDE), code-named Visual Studio 11, and .NET Framework 4.5 on Wednesday, Feb. 29. The Visual Studio team, according to Microsoft, has focused its efforts on three core themes in the forthcoming release: helping developers build modern consumer and business applications, providing a simplified and distraction-free environment for maximum productivity and enabling collaborative and agile development teams.


"We undertook building Visual Studio 11 with a focus on offering today's software developer the very best environment for efficiently building applications-for both businesses and consumers," says S. Somsegar, corporate vice president, Developer Division, Microsoft. "In addition, our work has been highly influenced by the proliferation of devices and a passion for enabling developers to focus on building high-quality, modern applications with data that seamlessly flows from one device to another, easily incorporating intuitive interfaces such as touch and voice. We want developers to be productive in building such applications, whether they're using C++, JavaScript, Visual Basic or C#."


Somasegar says Visual Studio 11 will embrace the whole spectrum of developers, from professionals working on mission-critical business applications to amateurs writing mobile apps in their spare time.


"Historically, the Developer Division at Microsoft focused entirely on the "professional developer," on the approximately 10 million people that built software as their primary vocation," Somasegar says. "Over the last few years, however, the software development landscape has significantly changed. What used to be 10 million developers is now upwards of 100 million, spanning not only "professional developers," but also students, entrepreneurs and in general people who want to build an app and put it up on an app store. From professionals to hobbyists, developers today build applications that span from the business world to the consumer world and that run on a wide range of client and server platforms and devices."

Related Content


Visual Studio 11 Closes the Gap


The new IDE also focuses on what Microsoft calls "continuous value delivery," closing the loop between development and DevOps, explains Jason Zander, corporate vice president, Visual Studio. Zander says the IDE provides an experience that spans the lifecycle of software creation from architecture and user interface design to code creation, insight and analysis, deployment, testing and validation. It uses application lifecycle management (ALM) capabilities to help project stakeholders keep their efforts in synch at each step. Continue reading


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 Usability Testing Includes Users as Stakeholders

By Mary Brodie, UX Magazine, December 21, 2011



There has been a lot of debate and confusion about how many participants should be included in usability testing. Sometimes business teams think sample size in usability testing is just a matter of personal preference, and may request dozens of participants for "a good sample set." Other times, they want to include participants who meet specific demographic requirements, which may satisfy internal politics more than they meet research requirements. There are also debates in the user research field about whether it's better to conduct one big test with many participants and find all usability issues, or to conduct a series of smaller tests with fewer participants, identifying fewer issues but allowing for iterative design. And there is always the question of funding and the best use of money. It makes you wonder, "Where do I begin to get a good answer?"


Some say five participants are enough (e.g., Jakob Neilsen), and some say 15 are necessary. There are also mathematical formulas that determine the "right" number to test to find all of the issues. In some ways, each of these approaches is correct, which is why I think the question of how many users are needed for the ideal usability test needs to be reframed.


One of the reasons for having a larger set of test subjects is to discover all of the nuances of an application that may cause usability issues. This is great for one-shot testing; you get it all done at once and implement all the feedback. But in most development teams, all of the feedback can't be implemented; feedback from tests is prioritized in a general queue for future releases. If a lot of the user feedback isn't implemented, it makes you wonder, "Why did we test in the first place, and how much input do users really have into the design of the applications they are using?" In this case, the answer is very little, which doesn't make much sense.


The determination of the right number of users to test is based less on a "golden number," and more on the goals for testing, what is being tested, and if you want to consider your users as stakeholders. Continue reading