[Podcast] Interview with Jensen Harris


During Explore Design, I had a chance to sit down with Jensen and ask my specific questions face-to-face. Jensen joined Microsoft right out of college and has been with Office team for 10 years now. It's very interesting to get his perspective on Office UI design and Microsoft design culture in general. Below, I broke my interview into two segments (about 10 mins each) to share with you. You can listen to Jensen's answer on the following questions.

Office UI specific questions:

  • Tell us a little bit about your role and main responsibilities.
  • Office 2007 has shipped for almost 2 years now, it got great recognitions for its innovative UI. From the feedback you've heard, what do people most like about the Ribbon UI? What are some improvements people suggested for the Ribbon UI?
  • What's the future for Office UX?
  • You recently blogged about Office Labs, can you tell us about the relationship between Office team and Office Labs team?

General Microsoft Design questions:

  • What is the design culture at Microsoft?
  • In your mind, what are some great design successes from Microsoft in the past 3 years ?
  • What are top 3 UX design areas/opportunities for Microsoft in the next 5 years?
  • What is the career path for UX designers at Microsoft?
  • What contributes to a great UX designer?

Jensen Harris is the Group Program Manager of the Microsoft Office User Experience team and was one of the key designers behind the new Ribbon user interface introduced in Office 2007. Jensen joined Microsoft in 1998, and has focused on the overall user interface of Microsoft Office since late 2003. Prior to working at Microsoft, Jensen graduated with degrees in music composition from Yale University and Interlochen Arts Academy. He publishes his thoughts on software and user interface design on his blog: http://blogs.msdn.com/jensenh.

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