And introducing…

Alright, so I’m blogging. I’m Sean Lyndersay, and I’m a lead Program Manager on the Network Experience team in Windows (at Microsoft). What’s that mean? I don’t know either, but it sounds good, so I’m going to stick with it. Maybe I’ll explain it later. If anyone cares.

Anyway, I’m out here… trying out this blogging thing, seeing if it can be useful to me, and ultimately to you, the end-user. That’s right – I’m trying to get something useful out of this. Most people who blog seem to have something witty and intelligent to say to the world. Not me. I’m just here to see if this is a useful tool for getting in touch with people that it’s otherwise near impossible to have a dialog with.

You see, what I do is simultaneously one of the easiest and hardest (at least, imho, and, considering this is my blog, my opinion’s all that counts 🙂 things to do in the world. I build UI. That’s “user interfaces.” Or, in the current lingo, I design “User Experiences” (short form: UX). Now, as a minor aside, I like the term “experience” because it does a great job of bringing together the intangibles of UI design, but since the release of Windows XP, the proliferation of the term “experience” (and in particular, it’s rarely-seen-outside-of-Microsoft plural form) comes dangerously close to the being another “Active-“, “Intelli-“, “Direct-“ or, more recently, “.Net”.

Back to my point (yes, I had one)… My goal is to build UI that I can be proud of. And that means UI that is “great” to everyone who uses it. Of course, that definition is completely arbitrary (and that is the topic of a completely separate entry). To do that, I need feedback, suggestions, and smacks on the head. I need people to say, “this sucks” or “that doesn’t suck”, or “what in heck is that supposed to mean?” and especially, “what were you thinking?”

So, with this blog, I’m going to try an experiment. A dialog, if you will (and yes, the pun is intended). I’m going to openly discuss the UI (specifically, the Networking UI) of Windows, starting with some new stuff we’ve introduced in the beta of Service Pack 2 for Windows XP.

If you reading this – first, I have no idea why you are, but thanks! – then, this is an opportunity to get involved. I hope this will be a great success and together, we can make sure Windows networking is “great” for you, and millions of other users.

Before I’m finished, since this is a litigious society, I’m going to include a little disclaimer. Come to think of it, I may attach to the page on the whole. I’ve borrowed it from the MS “wish” site, so it gets the point across, I think:

By offering suggestions through this page, you give Microsoft full permission to use them freely. We can't guarantee we will use your suggestions, but we will review them for use in future products. Due to the volume and variety of suggestions, we can't provide compensation or personal responses to each suggestion.

So there.

But seriously, I’m not out here to steal people’s ideas. I’m out here to make Windows better for everyone who uses it. If you have an idea you don’t want me to know about it – don’t post it.


Comments (5)
  1. hey sean, not just outsiders want to hear what you have to say! other softies like myself are also interested in what makes you UI folks tick! great to see you blogging. would love to know more about what’s top of mind for you at the moment.

    cheers cameron (creilly)

  2. Adam Kinney says:

    Awesome. This is an area that I am really interested in and haven’t seen it covered via blog in the MS arena much.

    Looking forward to your posts and hopefully providing good feedback.

  3. Odi Kosmatos says:

    Well, Sean, for starters, and I would imagine this should be a basic rule of UI, please don’t steal the focus from what I am doing. Its crazy, when will Microsoft get this right?

    Example: I am typing right now in this comments box. Should another application pop up an important message or steal my focus, I’ll lose at the very least some characters. And get annoyed. Worse, if I was about to press enter and the message pops up, it will grab my enter key and I might have said ‘yes’ to something I don’t even know what.

    Is this the place to suggest these things?


  4. Heard in Florida says:

    Hey Sean,

    Yeah, I second that focus thing! This is really irritating. Not to mention I write a lot of programs that might call another executeable. In the past, I was able to use Tweak to decide whether or not to allow the app to steal the focus. Not so with XP!!! I have 2 entirely different expreriences with the same program I wrote depending upon whether I run it under 2000 or XP. This sucks and is very difficult to explain to clients. In fact, a large portion of my time is now spent trying to make my same application work correctly under all the different variations of Windows! It is bad enough that Microsoft can’t decide between, winnt, windows, blah, blah, blah. Bummer!

    Boy! I feel much better now!


  5. WhatISee says:

    Microsoft employees (and presumably their management) are doing something quite interesting and potentially wonderful. They’ve decided to start exposing the world to how they think. And in return, they’ve asked for comments. From my time in Redmond, limited as…

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