CONTEXT-SWITCHING

Deep level Enquiry on Context Switching and Multi-tasking trends in digital work spaces to uncover insights and desirable implications on their product  -

Microsoft  "Share Point" - part of the Office 365 group.

PROJECT TYPE

Post Graduation Thesis also part of the Industry Internship at Microsoft IDC, the project involved pondering on a human behavioural aspect and understand its implication and necessity as a design feature for the product.

ROLE

I designed and prepared  a new feature for

Share-Point Desktop Application, a cross-functional product team, consisting of engineers, PMs and researchers

CAPTURING THE CHARM OF MULTIPLE TASKS

In 2001, SharePoint started as a document management and storage system, and by 2019 this product is  a web-based collaborative platform that integrates with MS Office. It is highly configurable and usage varies substantially among organizations - I was part of the design team exploring user needs around multitasking needs within the application.

To comply with my non-disclosure agreement, I have omitted and obfuscated confidential information in this case study. All information in this case study is my own and does not necessarily reflect the views of Microsoft.

SNEAK PEAK

INITIAL GOALS

My goal for the project was to recapture the efficiency of Share Point. The original premise was simple: however, we weren't trying to revert to a simple past instead accomodate the present context and their needs which revolved around many tasks. 

  • Make the app  fast and easy to use for everyone, on all job fronts

  • Give users more control and command over their work related multi-tasking

  • Developing  the platform for productivity and deeper engagement

Squigglej.jpg

1

2

3

4

UNDERSTANDING THE

DOMAIN - MULTITASKING

FINDING PAIN POINTS AND NEEDS OF USERS

MAPPING IDEAS TO SHAREPOINT APPLICATION

IDEATING ON POSSIBILITIES  

5

PROTOTYPING AND TESTING

MY EUREKA MOMENT

eureka moment.jpg

First few weeks into the topic, honestly puzzled me, as there was already so much said and done, it was difficult to begin from one direction. Being in the city of Nizam, my journey also started the day I decided to treat myself with a Biryani!

The waiters at a famous biryani Joint in the city were more than thorough  with the list of dishes the place had to offer. While taking our order, it seemed as if the waiter was listening, speaking and noting down dishes at the same time - but upon close inspection, I realized that there was a very micro second gap between the task. This important fact that in reality multitasking is rapid switching of tasks became the first peddle for the project.

RESEARCH 

SHOWS...

1

12333.jpg

WHY PEOPLE MULTI-TASK ?

1234444.jpg

DECODING PEOPLE

rttt.jpg

RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

1.  Understanding the phenomenon of multitasking with respect to people, behavior and technology.

2. What are the cultural/environmental context of the information workers ?

3. What are the habits and traits people associate with being productive at work ?

4. Essential drivers of interruptions and evaluating the self driven breaks 

5.What is the adopted strategy for a group of  complex task ?

40-45.jpg
25-35.jpg

USER INTERVIEWS

 

- Sampling was a crucial choice, as the range of information workers is a broad spectrum

- There were mainly two categories considered

Group 1

Age group : > 35 yrs

Typical traits : 

1. Proactive and enthusiastic about work

2. Comparatively new and unfamiliar to systems

3. Well aware of technological  possibilities

Group 2

Age group: 35 yrs<

Typical traits : 

1. Extremely busy schedules and hectic timelines

2. Manual bridge between systems and people

3. Added management responsibilities apart from work

- Consultants                       

-Strategists   

 - Admin Professionals                     

- Developers

- Design Professionals   

- Architects     

- Research assistants/ Interns

USER TYPE

There were around 15 professionals involved from multiple professions in the information working sector.The selection of participants was majorly based on the diversity outreached and also including extremes and mainstreams in the study.

This is a schematic picturisation of a typical day in an information worker's life. It shows the possibility of typical interruptions which happen on an overall scale of a workday. Also highlighting the measures people adopt to adapt to it.

WHAT

PEOPLEDO?

task%20timeline_edited.jpg
FILL WITH DIGITAL NOISE

This is a common phenomenon where people prefer having some background noise for tasks involving  less cognitive load

BEHAVIOURS

CHECKLISTS AND
TO-DO LISTS

It is difficult to anchor to schedules, hence people makes checklists, to-dos and calendars to keep themselves reminded

PICKING UP PIECES OF

MAKING
TEMPORARY NOTES

Sometimes it is difficult to maintain all details in a digital copy - it is easier to recollect and record things on a physical medium

MULTIPLE
WINDOW STACKING

Just to ensure no fear of losing, people usually try keeping necessary tabs upfront and stack windows, for easier and quick access

Behaviour list.jpg

WHAT

PEOPLE THINK?

SYNTHESIS

2

A few themes which emerged from the research papers and the field inquiries & observing people work uncovering the need .Speaking to majority of Digital information workers - we realized some major needs and pain points of their modern work styles and task completion.

20190315_185821.jpg

WHAT

PEOPLE FEEL?

Picking up Pices.jpg

REVISED PROBLEM STATEMENT

How might we enable an information worker authoring a report to

re-surface the right information at the right time so that cross referencing becomes more efficient. 

She needs the right information at the right time

She needs to manage work across individual and team  level

Meet Barkha Sharma

Barkha is asked to author a news post for her office channel on the intern programme started 6 months back

Barkha is working with Samuel 

Barkha is also part of an event management team with Samuel, which is hapenning next week.

Barkha connects with Praveen at times

She needs to respond to Samuel's queries and as well as get in touch with Praveen for details on her content.

She needs to cohesively stack multiple files

She needs to notify professionals in a

non-obtrusive manner

per.JPG
per.JPG
per.JPG
per.JPG
per.JPG

She needs to find information across a large source

IDEATION

3

BRAINSTORMING 

Discussing the possibilities of solution, we came up with multiple ideas using technology as well as co-creative imagination.These were further grouped into possible solutions.

20190327_140835_edited.jpg
IMG-1098.JPG
sketching.JPG
ric1.JPG
ric 2.JPG
ric 3.JPG

60+ IDEAS

CONCEPT

SHARE

POINT

SP.JPG

SHARE POINT DESKTOP

In 2001, SharePoint started as a document management and storage system, and by 2019 this product is  a web-based collaborative platform that integrates with MS Office.

Unlike SharePoint on web, the desktop app doesn’t have the ability to open multiple tabs for cross referencing, multitasking.

PROTOTYPING

all screens.JPG

To comply with my non-disclosure agreement, I have omitted and obfuscated confidential information in this case study. 

USER TESTING

In 2001, SharePoint started as a document management and storage system, and by 2019 this product is  a web-based collaborative platform that integrates with MS Office.

20190613_140008 (1).jpg
20190613_135828.jpg

My learning

There were many firsts in this project,  working in a professional set up to executing creative outputs in a schedule it was an enriching experience. I witnessed the impact and value  iterations bring to design. Working in one of the amazing product teams I'v been fortunate to recieve great mentorship and guidance which goes beyond the project.

Last but not the least, for a bunch of lads from grad school - a new city - an amazing campus - we did enjoy our crisp

"non-corporate-ish" internship.

PROTOTYPING

all screens.JPG

To comply with my non-disclosure agreement, I have omitted and obfuscated confidential information in this case study. 

USER TESTING

The final version was then reviewed internally by the team and feedbacks were taken in account to furnish the application.

20190613_140008 (1).jpg
20190613_135828.jpg