“Experience first” at Microsoft

Ray Ozzie
Ray Ozzie is Microsoft’s chief software architect, the title Bill Gates formerly held.

In a long and wide-ranging interview with Knowledge@Wharton, the Wharton School’s online journal, Ozzie seems to see customer experience mainly as seamless experiences, i.e. cross-platform continuity:

“What we as an industry need to deliver are seamless experiences — however those things are accomplished — to do the appropriate thing in the browser and the appropriate thing on a laptop or on a device to solve that problem. […]

The guidance that we are giving the development community — and the guidance that we use in-house — is to look at applications through the following lens: When the business model behind that app means that you have to get it everywhere, we call that the ‘universal web application pattern.’ When the most important thing is the experience that the user has with that application and you might be willing to trade off the breadth of the web for the richness of that experience, we call that an “experience first pattern.”

There’s no hard line between the two, but there is some guidance there. It’s clear that the ad-based model is a ‘universal web pattern.’ The whole business model says, ‘Pick a technology for building that solution that gets to every eyeball on earth.’ At the opposite extreme are Windows games and, I believe, the Office Desktop components, which are ‘experience first.’ You want to make the experiences as rich as you can and you code to the [Windows] platform in order to do that.

But these are not absolutes. For example, Office is an ‘experience first’ thing, but we do a Mac version and a PC version. The ‘ubiquitous web’ is very important for many of our businesses and we use that also.”

Read interview (free registration required)

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