Date: July 2011 – November 2014
Role: Program Manager
Link(s): Windows Store
When I first started Microsoft back in July 2011, I was given the ownership of the navigation, browse pages (Homepage, categories, topic pages), and search user experiences for the brand new Windows Store. At that point, we hadn't yet shipped, but most of the preliminary design and coding had been completed. I needed to ramp up in this area and drive it to ship, ensuring we deliver a high-quality experience for our users. I worked with my feature crew (developer, tester, designer) to assess feedback from self-hosters, change the design based on said feedback and evolving platform requirements, and triage bugs. In the end, we delivered a Store client built entirely from scratch, which was a massive endeavor, and I am grateful to have gotten the chance to contribute to this effort.
After Windows 8 released, we immediately started work on the next release of the Store. One behavior that we consistently noticed during self-hosting, user studies, and field studies so far is that people find updating apps to be an arduous task. Developers push out updates fairly often, and an average user pretty much can't go for more than a few days without being notified of new updates. We wanted to make it easy for users to stay up-to-date, as well as for developers to manage as little app fragmentation as possible. Therefore, we chose an experience with very minimal UI — the idea is that it should just work.
We introduced the concept of Windows Store gift cards, and we needed to design the end-to-end experience: from the purchase of the card itself, to redemption of funds, and to purchasing apps with the funds. I collaborated with Marketing and Branding to provide feedback on the physical card design, Digital Supply Chain to test generation and testing of codes, and Engineering (my team, and Commerce Platform) to design and test the in-Store redemption and purchasing experiences. Our goal was to make it easy to understand how to redeem your code and how to spend it. Enabling gift cards for the Store was a massive cross-organizational collaboration, and is a huge win for the ecosystem.
Building on the existing concept of curated groups of apps, we saw a need to make our app collections more persistent and accessible to our users. This involved bringing a small subset of collections to the Homepage, creating a page where users can browse all available collections, and returning relevant collections in search results.