Client: Microsoft / HTX

Project: Microsoft Dynamics 365 Layout

Role: Product / UX Designer (Yoh Services)

When: 2016

ENVISION

Joining the Layout team shortly after it had formed was an exciting time to say the least. There was a clear high level idea for Layout and there was an initial idea as to whom our customers would be. This included space planners, contractors, event coordinators, retail space designers, any profession that could benefit from creating a holographic 1:1 scale representation of a space complete with fixtures that could be critical evaluated before any sort of real world construction ever began.

RESEARCH

We researched existing applications and real world tools to see what they were offering users. We also researched modeling programs in regards to importing and exporting models and how shaders and materials were handled. We interviewed companies who we thought could benefit from the type of application we were developing to find their wants and needs - the customer interviews and demonstrations were some of my favorite exercises.

IDEATE

Lots of brainstorm meetings and discussions between the Layout team and the HXT department occurred in order to narrow down the ideal direction and feature set for MS Layout.

Below are a few of the many sketches I created during my time on the Layout team.

PROTOTYPE

My first use case prototype when first joining the team was to test how convincing holograms are when placed among real world objects in a real world environment. Using Unity and a Hololens I created a test scene with some imported furniture models; a chair and a hanging wood wall cabinet. The prototype was successful as well as also confirming some problem scenarios such as the poor visibility with very dark / black textures.

When we hit the prototype phase, after we narrowed down our feature set, we began creating proof of concept prototypes. Some of the prototypes I created in Unity for the features I was working on were different catalogue types as well as placing objects into the world.

Catalogue and placement

Two of the features I was responsible for designing were the item catalogue and the placement of items from the catalogue into the work space. To make placement of large objects easier on the user my design had the user pull items out of the catalogue at a miniature scale with a wireframe box representing the objects 1:1 footprint. When the user was satisfied and placed the object it would then grow to its full 1:1 scale.

SHIPPED

The below video clip shows what the team eventually settled on for the catalogue after I had left. Selecting and placing an object at miniature scale and then having it grow to 1:1 is also showcased.

official intro to MS 365 layout