Brian Carter
BFA Industrial Design
The University of Kansas (2003)
Bachelor of Fine Arts - KU

Outlook.com

Brian Carter

My Role

As a UX designer working with PM, Engineering, Research, and other designers, I worked on multiple versions of Outlook.com, starting with Windows Live Hotmail. I focused on various product features, most notably as the lead designer for how to thread conversations, how to automatically categorize incoming mail, how the command bar system should work, and when and where to show contextual commands. I continued this work through Outlook.com, where I also worked as lead on the entire online People experience, a pixel-perfect typography and grid system across the suite, and generally worked to align and propose new patterns.

User Needs

The introduction of conversation threading, categories, and other new features to several hundred million users is nontrivial. My work was informed by user needs via international user testing and walking users through UX options in the lab. This user research informed my designs, and in many cases I was in the lab taking notes while users provided feedback. We also designed and tested first-run, opt-in, and feedback experiences.

People

I was design lead for updating an address book pattern to the new People experience. Users have multiple personas across a variety of online networks and my designs focused on providing the ability to link those personas to one person, as well as update the experience to something more than a list of contacts. In addition I worked with the Windows team to align experiences.

Pixel-perfect Grid

I worked with Design and Engineering to apply a pixel-perfect grid across the suite. With multiple designers and engineers working in different areas, getting baselines and boxes to align across features is nontrivial. Many features have open-close states or on-off states, and alignment required effort. I worked with developers and Test to ensure production matched designs.

Business Impact

This was a strategic project for Microsoft. Several of the features I worked on were shown prominently in Microsoft's Get Going TV campaign, with music by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. The redesign was well received. In 2012 Slate said “Outlook is gorgeous—it’s the best-designed Web email service I’ve ever seen.”

Screenshots

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