Channel9 interviews Julie Larson-Green, Windows UX

I’ve been stricken sick (and still am) for the past few days so unfortunately I had to miss out on some great blogging and also the Microsoft ReMIX event in Melbourne. However lying on the bed for 2 days straight did buy me some time to come up with a few foolproof plans to annihilate the blogosphere, but more on that another day.

Julie Larson-GreenMicrosoft’s Channel9 recently interviewed one of the user-experience people I’m keeping an eye on, Julie Larson-Green, who is taking over some of the roles Tjeerd Hoek had left behind. Having just completed the redesign efforts for the 2007 release of Office, where she’s been for the last 10 years, she moved to Windows just before each of the products were released to manufacturing.

Back then, it wasn’t quite clear why all the Office people were rushing into Windows, but after all the Windows people began jumping out of the Windows group, obviously they’re here to run the show now.

As corporate vice president of program management for the Windows Experience at Microsoft, Julie Larson-Green oversees the design for the Microsoft Windows operating system. Her responsibilities include the end-user interaction design and overall experience for the Windows products after the release of Windows Vista, which will be available in 2007.

In her 30-minute interview with Channel9’s Charles and a woman I fail to recognize, there’s a lot of good information for every die-hard Windows-UX enthusiast. Whilst she doesn’t give any hints on what the design will focus on or anything related to design for that matter, she does talk a lot about their ‘new’ philosophy and process which is different to the past. Here are a few summary facts I found interesting.

  • She’s worked in Windows for 6 months already.
  • She reports to Jesus (Steve Sinofsky).
  • They’ll try to change the Windows-organization to focus less on individual teams and more about Windows as one. Trying to drive cross-team collaboration, something that’s more familiar to the Office organization.
  • They’re going to figure out what they’re going to do before doing it.
  • Before starting to talk about what they’re doing they’re going to make sure they’re actually going to do it.
  • New Office experience is not ‘done’. Still more changes to be realized.
  • She started her Microsoft career in technical support, answering customer calls.
  • They’re optimizing (the organization) for predictability – “innovate on a schedule”.
  • Mentions Mary Jo Foley and her World War III article comparing Vista and Leopard.
  • Believes there may have been too much transparency with Longhorn/Vista, and may have gotten itself into the problems it did.

By the looks of things, after all the reshuffling, things are still in order. But they’re going to try with all their might to prevent some of the problems that have plagued Longhorn.

8 insightful thoughts

  1. There is hope! Everyone can see the difference in quality in the ui design between Office 2007 and Windows Vista. Maybe they will redesign the whole mouse pointer collection and not only some 😛

  2. “Believes there may have been too much transparency with Longhorn/Vista”

    I like the transparency in Windows Vista just how it is, thank you very much :-)

    jk

  3. The “mystery” woman in the interview is Jennifer Ritzinger who co-produces the WM_IN series of interviews on Channel 9 [http://channel9.msdn.com/shows/WM_IN] and is an all round evangelist super-star.

  4. “Believes there may have been too much transparency with Longhorn/Vista”

    Interesting, sounds like she’s been brainwashed by Sinofsky too. Oh well, looking to see what she brings to the product. I hope I can get her address so I can send her some concepts I’m working on.

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