Friday, July 14, 2006

Meet Sander Viegers, Excel User Experience Designer

Meet Sander Viegers, Excel User Experience Designer
Today we have a guest post from Sander Viegers, a user experience designer who worked on many aspects of Excel 2007.

Hi, my name is Sander Viegers. I am user experience designer in the Office Design Group. I’ve had the pleasure of working with the Excel team on Excel 2007. In this blog entry I would like to provide some insight into how I contributed as a user experience designer. Since charting seems to be a highly popular topic on this blog, I’ll focus on the creation of the new charting experience.

Maroon, Yellow, Blue and Grey

One thing you immediately notice when looking at the charts that people produce with Office 2003 (left side of the image 1) is that they all use the same colors: maroon, yellow, blue and grey. It is not too surprising when you realize that this is the default color scheme and you need to go through a dozen dialog boxes to change the colors and make the charts somewhat decent and professional looking. The charts you see on the right side of image 1 are found in recent publications like annual reports, newspapers and magazines. They are often created in graphical applications and use more subtle colors.

Before we started redesigning the Office 2007 charting experience, we did a lot of research to get a better understanding of where the pain points are with our customers and what they expect from charting capabilities. This research showed that the most dissatisfaction with charting came from customer’s thinking that charts do not look good. The research also showed that clearly communicating data is the most important thing to achieve with a chart. This means that a chart needs to show all the necessary information to the viewer, but minimize the redundant information. Dissatisfying charts are illustrated in the Image 2 below. The chart on the left does not tell us what the colors mean while the chart on the right tells us what the colors mean in two places.

Given these two data points, our most important design goals were to create an experience that allowed our users to easily create good-looking and meaningful charts."   continued ...   (Via MSDN)

Charting options. - User Interface Design, Human Computer Interaction (HCI), Ergonomics

Charting options


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