User Research and the design of Office 2007


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An overview of the techniques and tools used to develop the Ribbon UX of office 2007

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  • Before we get started, I wanted to say on a personal note, that Office 2007 is a big reason why I’m at Microsoft. I’ve spent the last 10 years leading experience design teams of one form or another from large consultancies, to building UX groups in established industrial organizations (user and experience can be used in the same sentence?!), to ecommerce organizations, to start-ups. Up until about 2 years ago, I never would have
  • User Research and the design of Office 2007

    1. 1. Office 2007 William Tschumy User Experience Evangelist, Western Region February 19 th , 2007 User Research at Microsoft:
    2. 2. The “Ribbon” UX of Office 2007
    3. 3. <ul><li>Task Driven: Each application has been broken down into its key high-level tasks </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Word: File, Save, Insert, Page Layout, References, Mailings, Review </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Excel: Sheet, Insert, Page layout, Formulas, Data, Review </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>PowerPoint: Slides, Insert, Design, Animations, Slide show, Review </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Discrete: The UI never extends beyond the ribbon </li></ul><ul><li>Visual : If you don’t see it, the application doesn’t do it </li></ul>So what does the Ribbon do? <ul><li>Tactile: Galleries provide a live preview of the format outcome </li></ul><ul><li>Contextual: The interface shows only those features that are relevant to the task or relevant to the selection (e.g., Picture Tools when an image is selected) </li></ul><ul><li>Respectful: of Fitt’s Law. Common formatting tools are available at the point of selection – no mouse travel required </li></ul>
    4. 4. How did we get here?
    5. 5. In the beginning…
    6. 8. Adaptive Menus: Office 2000
    7. 9. Adaptive Menus: Office 2000
    8. 11. Where did all that get us?
    9. 12. The customer speaks… <ul><li>“ I’m sure there’s a way to do this, but I can’t figure out how” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Office is quite complex, I would be better at my job if I knew how to use it more.” </li></ul><ul><li>Of the top 10 feature requests, 5 had been in Office for more than a release </li></ul>
    10. 13. So how did we get from… to…
    11. 14. Great UX comes from great user insight
    12. 15. Show me the data <ul><li>Our Customer Experience Improvement Program was an invaluable resource to see how users use our tool </li></ul><ul><li>How often was a toolbar button clicked? Where was it in sequence? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1.3 Billion sessions of data was analyzed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>~6,000 datapoints were analyzed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1.8 Million sessions per day </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The data allows us to understand how features chain together to satisfy user tasks </li></ul>
    13. 16. Establish a baseline <ul><li>Over the course of several days, we ran 30+ people through our usability lab to establish: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Task success/failure information </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Time on task </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Customer satisfaction </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>This would be the baseline against which we’d evaluate the Office 2007 design </li></ul>
    14. 17. Paper Prototypes: Value and Speed <ul><li>We prototyped from the earliest design stages: </li></ul><ul><li>In order to speed the cycle time, we used a lot of paper prototyping to quickly vet possible designs </li></ul><ul><li>Usability subjects used a pencil to &quot;click&quot; the paper prototype  </li></ul><ul><li>Whomever ran the test sat at the table with the subject and made the prototype ‘work’ (shuffles the paper) </li></ul><ul><li>New designs can be tested on the fly by drawing new screens </li></ul>
    15. 18. <ul><li>Eye tracking helped us understand how users visually parsed data: </li></ul><ul><li>As we understood how people use and browse the visuals, we could then refine and study the next revision of visuals  </li></ul><ul><li>We focused on how people use the chunk titles, the contextual tabs, and the MiniBar. </li></ul>Eye tracking
    16. 19. <ul><li>Card sorting gave us IA clues: </li></ul><ul><li>In late 2004, we had people organize commands into buckets to help us think about how to generate the tabs.  </li></ul><ul><li>In late 2005, we gave them our buckets and assessed how well they sorted the commands, especially while coming up with names for some really sticky ones. </li></ul>Card sort helps refine usage data
    17. 20. Internal Longitudinal Studies <ul><li>We want to avoid backward steps: </li></ul><ul><li>Non-product groups installed and used builds, Beta 1, Beta 2, etc…  </li></ul><ul><li>These groups provided feedback as well as participated in the Office 2003 and Office 2007 Benchmarks for comparison </li></ul>
    18. 21. “ The Truman Show” <ul><li>Watching real people: </li></ul><ul><li>We convinced some ‘real’ people to replace Office 2000 with Office 12 </li></ul><ul><li>... And allow us to do site visits </li></ul><ul><li>... and work here on campus for a while </li></ul><ul><li>... and have conferences via Live Meeting with us </li></ul><ul><li>... and let us analyze his personal instrumentation data </li></ul><ul><li>... and send us a daily journal of his experience.  He's a local guy with a small personal business and excited about this challenge.  As are we. </li></ul>
    19. 22. Another Longitudinal Test <ul><li>Pulling more people into the test: </li></ul><ul><li>For more than a year, we worked with a large group of users from a local company.  </li></ul><ul><li>We rolled out Beta 1 to RTM </li></ul><ul><li>This was a great opportunity to closely monitor the rollout, training, adoption, and acceptance of the new UI over a long period of time.  </li></ul><ul><li>We did persistent visits, monitored instrumentation data, and collected 1/1 feedback. </li></ul>
    20. 23. And everything else… <ul><li>Throughout the extended Beta we: </li></ul><ul><li>Built up the list of instrumentation metrics </li></ul><ul><li>Conducted 3rd party validation studies </li></ul><ul><li>Continued &quot;Send a Smile&quot; tracking </li></ul><ul><li>Continued consolidation of usability findings from Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access, </li></ul><ul><li>… And oh so much more </li></ul>
    21. 24. Questions?
    22. 25. Thank You! William Tschumy User Experience Evangelist, Western Region 415.420.3746 [email_address] jensen harris parimal deshpande