14 December 2006

Good user experience at Microsoft

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A Changing Culture
The lead article on the Microsoft design site is about changing the corporate culture through a focus on good user experiences.

The article, written by Chris Bernard, Microsoft’s user experience ‘evangelist’ (and also reproduced on his blog), doesn’t provide drastic new insights for readers of this blog.

Bernard though takes his title of ‘evangelist’ (a job title that makes me cringe, as it refers too much to the American Christian right) seriously and sings the praises of his company left and right:

“I feel empowered to be a designer at Microsoft because it’s perhaps one of the only companies that puts as much effort into making great design and development tools as it does in software for consumers and the enterprise. We’re far from seeing the best that Microsoft has to offer with some of the technology that drives Vista, digital devices and cross-platform technologies for the Web. But the tools and the hooks into our technology are there right now. Whether you develop standards based applications for the Web, rich media applications that run in the browser, or have a desire to extend your customers’ reach with next-generation technology on the desktop and in digital devices, Microsoft is creating a new paradigm for creating compelling digital experiences.”

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A more sobering article on Microsoft’s user experience efforts was written by David Pogue, the technology columnist of the New York Times. He calls Windows Vista great on looks (though in large part copied from Mac OS X), more secure, but sometimes rather inconsistent in its interface implementation. Yet on the whole Pogue gives it a pass.

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