1000 Card Pick-Up

Today, we got back a pile of data from a recent card sort exercise. We brought in 17 Word users and 9 Excel users and gave them a huge stack of virtual “cards” containing the name of a command and a short description of what the command does.  They were also given the proposed names…

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Accessibility Begets Usability

I saw the following post as a comment below a news article on Office 12: “with its fancy skin, it appears Office has abandoned low-vision users forever.” Nothing could be further from the truth.  We have accessibility experts within every team in Office, including in the user experience team.  As the microsoft.com page on Section…

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Usability Redux

Answering some of the questions asked about our recent usability efforts… Q: Can you tell us how many usability engineers are involved in all those activities? A: Yes. Q: How do you like the eye-tracking stuff? A: It’s certainly interesting, and no doubt the “heat maps” look impressive.  What we’re going to be focusing on…

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More Than Just the Two-Way Mirror

I’ve revealed in the past how many of the Office 12 UI decisions we make are influenced by what we learn in collaboration with our usability and research team. Personally, I find usability tests scary.  You have an idea, discuss it with others, work it into a prototype and get excited about it.  You want…

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Be Willing To Be Wrong

Early in our work designing Ribbon content, we had little data to go on in terms of how different content layouts within the Ribbon would affect the usability of the features being laid out.  Being a new control, there wasn’t any direct information we could fall back on to tell us how to use it…

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