As part of the Microsoft Exchange design + user research team, I designed and tested new and backlogged features to release with Exchange 2007. I was also tasked with finding new ways to create a more engaging experience for administrators… who, by the way, do actually like an application that’s well-designed and easy to use. I primarily oversaw Exchange’s OOBE (Out of Box Experience), so I spent lots of time focusing on the install/setup/config process. As part of my work, I was awarded a U.S. Patent for the multi-item, parallel process UI my teammate and I built for Exchange’s installer application.
One of the best things we did from a user perspective (along with the numerous focus groups and 1:1 usability studies), was I helped built and manage our quarterly "Install Days", where we'd bring in Exchange administrators from a wide range of industries, provide them with clean servers in a variety of enterprise configurations, hand them the software boxes, and just observe as they installed Exchange, configured it, and got it up and running. This is one experience that rarely gets viewed "in the wild" for user researchers, so being able to replicate it as close as possible, and sit right next to the admins while they shared the ups and downs of what can end up being a very complicated (and sometimes frustrating) process, was great in so many ways.
Exchange Telephone UI
I also oversaw design for Exchange’s Unified Messaging platform, where a user could dial in to a central number, listen to voice messages, email, and calendar appointments, and perform all kinds of crazy tasks via voice and touch interface. As part of our testing, I built a fully-functional UI in Flash that we used to test our touch-tone interface, and walk users through scenarios to validate our task flows.
Exchange Persona Campaign
Our UX research team spent hours interviewing dozens of customers and analyzing application data to develop a deep, broad set of personas, categorized into groups by role, application usage, task preference, and many other vectors.
Along with assisting with interviews and data collection, I was also asked to build a campaign to help socialize the personas across the entire Exchange organization. I ended up designing personal ads for the personas, and hung 24×36 posters of each one around the offices and work areas of the team. The personal ad approach was a great way to highlight the specifics of each persona while having a little fun with it.