A peek inside Microsoft’s new ‘design-first’ development strategy

Interesting summary of Microsoft’s new Q&A feature. Can’ wait to check it out.

Gigaom

A few weeks ago, I highlighted a new data-analysis tool from Microsoft that automatically analyzes and visualizes data as users type into a search bar. The feature, called Q&A, is an impressive piece of technology, hiding some complex computations under a deceptively simple user interface. That was no mistake.

“Microsoft was not a design-first company for many years,” explained Microsoft Technical Fellow and Q&A team member Amir Netz during a recent demo of the product. “… You see the design-first [mentality] now permeating even the highest-end enterprise products.” (We’ll be featuring the best in experience design at our RoadMap conference next month).

The past: Let’s call it suboptimal design

What he means is that Microsoft was once — pretty clearly — guilty of the classic feature-first business software mindset. Throw in everything a power user might want and largely ignore the fact that most users don’t want to wade through…

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