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What is Design? Why does it matter?. David Vronay Research Manager Windows UI Strategy Microsoft, Inc. Dave Vronay. Current Role Research Manager, Windows UI Strategy (MSX) Previous Roles Research Manager, Microsoft Research Asia Center for Interaction Design

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what is design why does it matter

What is Design?Why does it matter?

David Vronay

Research Manager

Windows UI Strategy

Microsoft, Inc.

dave vronay
Dave Vronay
  • Current Role
    • Research Manager, Windows UI Strategy (MSX)
  • Previous Roles
    • Research Manager, Microsoft Research Asia Center for Interaction Design
    • Researcher, Social Computing Group, Microsoft Research
    • VP Technology, ImaginEngine (children’s software)
    • Researcher, Human Interface Group, Apple Computer, Inc.
  • Educational Background
    • Philosophy
    • Cinema Production
    • Game Programming (self-taught)
class structure
Class Structure
  • Five day seminar
  • No Previous Design Experience Necessary
  • No programming required
    • But the lectures will assume a knowledge of programming concepts
  • Participation both inside and outside of class
    • You will only learn this stuff by trying it yourself
  • Every Seminar ends with an assignment
  • Each day’s lecture builds on the assignments of the previous day
  • Assignments can be done individually or in groups
    • I recommend diverse groups
getting the most out of the seminar
Getting the most out of the seminar
  • Do the assignments
  • Use the TAs
  • Take advantage of your instructor
    • Ask questions!!
    • I am around outside of class
    • davevr@microsoft.com
  • Embrace the concepts
    • Don’t just focus on the work
    • Make it relevant to what you do every day
msx and design at microsoft
MSX and Design at Microsoft
  • MSX = Microsoft User Experience Team
  • In reality, MSX focuses on Windows, not all Microsoft products
    • Shell, IE, Media Player
    • Not MSN, Office, Money, Halo, etc.
  • Set & enforce style guidelines
  • Define the computing experience for the rest of the world
what does msx do
What does MSX do?
  • Interaction Design of Windows!
  • What is interaction design?
  • Making something look good
what is interaction design


What is Interaction Design?



& Device


User Needs


User Abilities

what designers do
What designers do
  • Understand the user
    • Needs, capabilities, desires
  • Understand the problems
    • Frustrations, confusions, inabilities
  • Propose solutions
    • enable technology to meet the user’s needs without exceeding the user’s capabilities
  • Test Everything
    • Design decisions are not opinions, but are strenuously tested in formal usability studies
  • Iterate as necessary
    • Design is a process of moving ever closer to (but never reaching) the mythical ideal solution
common design myths
Common Design Myths
  • MYTH: Designers are artists
    • Truth: most designers are not particularly good artists, and most artists are not good designers
  • MYTH: Designers are really creative
    • Truth : Design is much more about being methodical than creative. Designers want to test and measure every possible approach and variable
  • MYTH: Designers come in at the end to polish the final work
    • Truth : Design should start as early as possible. The longer you wait, the less benefit you can get from design. Ideally, design should start before any other work.
  • MYTH: Designers are aloof and in their own world
    • Truth: Designers do not do any technology! Therefore, it is essential that we collaborate with other groups (like yours).
  • MYTH: Design is a luxury
    • Truth: Actually, design can be especially valuable in cost-conscious projects because it can stop you from going down dead-ends
  • In general, design is just a method for solving problems!
roles in design
Roles in Design
  • Interaction Designers
    • Design the user model and overall flow
  • Visual Designers
    • Design the look and feel
  • Industrial Designers
    • Design the hardware
  • Usability Experts
    • Psychologists, sociologists, anthropologists
  • Prototypers
    • Fast programmers who help realize designs
  • Production Team
    • Artists, Animators, Musicians
    • Production Managers
    • Internal Tools
a history of the world
A History of the World
  • Stone Age
  • Bronze Age
  • Agricultural Age
  • Industrial Age
  • Information Age
  • And now, the Conceptual Age
welcome to the conceptual age
Welcome to the Conceptual Age
  • Programming has become a commodity
    • Today China & India
    • Tomorrow, Vietnam
    • Soon, gone all-together
  • Technology is not enough
    • How the technology fits into the human lifestyle is what determines success
  • Example: iPod, cell phone, etc.
what skills are needed
What skills are needed?
  • Everything that was needed before, plus…
  • Deep Understanding of Technology
  • Sense of Aesthetics
  • Concern for the human condition
  • Love of perfection
the old way
The Old Way



the old microsoft way
The Old Microsoft Way






the current model
The Current Model

Design and







Serious problem discovered!

a design centric model
A Design-Centric Model



& Goals







Less than perfect



Close to perfect




in summary
In summary…
  • Design produces a better product
    • Iterate and test many versions instead of just one
  • Design saves money
    • Rewrites and changes are discovered during prototyping, while they are still cheap to fix
assignment 1 calculator xp
Assignment 1: Calculator XP
  • Redesign the calculator to make it better than the one currently shipping in XP
  • Produce a simple walkthrough that explains your design
    • PowerPoint, Acrobat, HTML, etc.
    • No more than three pages
  • Do not write code
understanding the space
Understanding the space
  • Problems with current design
  • Limitations with current product
  • Capabilities of the computer
  • Features we could have
  • Uses and users