Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Real People Doing Real Work with Office 2007 (Part 1)

Study to enhance the UX for Office 2007 ...

"Today I present guest writer Rich Grutzmacher, Program Manager on the Office User Experience team. He helped coordinate one of the long-term, real-world studies conducted on early Office 2007 builds.

For eight months, we followed the progress of a group of twelve people in a Fortune 500 company here in the Pacific Northwest who used Office 2007 to perform their daily work. These people graciously agreed to install Office 2007 Beta 1 on their main work computers and to let us track their feedback and thoughts over a long period of time using the software.

The participants in the study were not software engineers or in any way associated with high-tech; they were just normal people who use Office to help get their jobs done.

During this extended usage study, we personally interviewed and videotaped each participant every 2 to 3 weeks to understand how they were using Office 2007 to perform their everyday work tasks. The participants in the study also sent us feedback using Send a Smile whenever they encountered a problem or discovered something about the product that they liked.

Given the issues one encounters while using early beta software, we considered nominating these participants for Sainthood. Their willingness to endure the pain of using a beta product for an extended period of time to perform meaningful work provided us with valuable insights in how typical Office customers learn and use the Office 2007 user interface.

In this series of articles, I will share with you some of the lessons we learned from this study and how the information was used in combination with many other sources of customer research to improve Office 2007 before Beta 2 got out the door."   continued ...   (Via Jensen Harris)

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