Microsoft Iridias

How do we make a complex software user-centered?

Microsoft Iridias was an online software service that monitored outages for a variety of Microsoft products. When there was a service interruption, key users would be notified of the issue and would be given information regarding the product’s status. Iridias had the ability to streamline the process of restoring service by allowing users to collaborate.

Microsoft brought me in because they saw the need for making the UX as efficient as possible. Through targeted user research, elegant mockups, and stakeholder collaboration, I was able to provide Microsoft with a complete UX overhaul of Iridias.

We interviewed large pockets of key users of Iridias

User Research

Our goal was to find out how users were currently using Iridias. We invited a targeted group of users who held high value in Iridias to provide feedback on its features and processes. We wanted to make sure we targeted daily users and not ones who were casually using the software.

We designed not just for users, but with them. We realized through collaboration, users own what they help create. If we could invite them to be a part of the UX overhaul they would more readily adapt it. This targeted group of users proved to be extremely valuable.

Here are three key takeaways from our research

  • Too many features: There were many features that the users did not want or need.

  • Confusing UI: There was not a logical flow to the tasks users wanted to accomplish.

  • Poor Aesthetics: The overall visual experience of the software was not up to par.

“We want to make sure we are designing not just for users, but with them. Through collaboration, users own what they help create.”


Feedback Implementation

I began by redesigning features that the users actually utilized and enjoyed. I started with the way they customized the software at first touch. When they logged in they were given the opportunity to choose what they wanted to see and not just be handed what we assumed they wanted. I wanted to give users the power to make their very own Iridias UX.

Through presenting my mockups to stakeholders, I was able to learn what features they liked and what ones they didn't use. I then implemented those insights into the overall theme of the redesign. I also worked with the head software engineer on the project to see if some of these changes were even possible within the Iridias framework.


Final Thoughts

Today companies are pumping out more features and apps than ever before. Yet very few are doing the necessary user research and collaboration it takes to provide an A+ quality experience. We don't need more features, we need more user empathy. I love the concept of building apps and software on teams but we have to realize that the user is a part of our team. We have to invite them into the process and then we will be able to give them a user experience of a lifetime.

Another important thing I found out was not only did I need user empathy, I also needed engineer empathy. A lot of these software engineers have put hard hours into coding their product. It is important to work as a team to make quality UX happen. Some things are just plain impossible to provide users and that's okay. Make sure you are on the same page as your engineers and you will bring your user's experience to the next level.


My Role

User Research

Design Thinking Process

I actively participated in targeted user research with Microsoft employees around the world. Through video conferencing and face to face interviews, I was able to attain the necessary information to make the UX redesign happen.

UX Design and Mockups

User Research Process

I took point on the entire UX redesign. I did all the mockups and prepared visual representations of work done to use during my presentations.


Rapid Prototyping Process

I used visual representations to present my prototyping methods and designs to stakeholders on the Microsoft campus. Through public speaking, I was able to convey the rhetoric of the UX redesign.

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