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Software Designed For Your People

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Convergence User Experience Lounge

In addition to year round research in the campus labs and customer site visits, the Microsoft Dynamics User Experience team also takes the concept of usability labs on the road by creating an environment called “The User Experience Lounge” at Microsoft Dynamics user conferences known as Convergence. This opportunity represents the largest research event of the year for the Microsoft Dynamics product team and is an ideal place to get access to some of our key personas.
The User Experience Lounge is a place where our product development team can get feedback on our new designs, and we can get a better understanding of our customers and the work that they do.
The methods we use to get this information include the following:

  • Usability Studies – The process of determining where the user experience for specific tasks break down and cause task failure. These studies are often done 1:1 where we give a user a set of tasks and watch them complete the prescribed set of tasks with a prototype or real code.  We don't give study participants any help or hints, but note where they have trouble and fail at the tasks.  The list of these failings is analyzed to determine the causes of the usability problems.  These causes are then fixed in design sessions and then retested to validate that they are fixed.  Key measures include time on task and error rate.  The focus is on finding the usability problems and fixing them.   The best usability studies iterate on designs until all usability problems are fixed.  The result of the process is a usable design.

  • Desirability Studies – These studies are used primarily to assess subjective ratings of user experiences including visual appearance and the emotions that are evoked by the design.  In a visual assessment, participants are given visual primers (e.g. picture of a snow-covered mountain) and asked to associate it with a list of terms (e.g. cold; hard; powerful).  The participants are then shown a user experience visual design as the visual primer and asked to associate the list of terms that they feel represent the design.

  • Focus Groups - Mainly useful for determining how groups of people respond to marketing messages, focus groups are an efficient method of getting first impression qualitative feedback about one or more visual concepts from a group of people at once.  In a focus group there usually is one moderator, a room of 6-8 participants, and a screen to show concepts on.  The goal is for insightful conversations to build between participants and deeper understanding about a topic. Focus groups can tell you whether customers like what you are showing them, and how useful the product would be to them, but not how usable it is. 

  • Surveys – For situations when we have a list of questions that do not require discussion, a survey is an efficient way to get answers from many people in a short amount of time.  Surveys are conducted via phone, web, or email, resulting in good economy of scale.  The efficiency allows us to get answers from dozens to thousands of users, even across geographies and markets, quickly and inexpensively.  It is important to have someone skilled in wording the questions carefully and analyzing the data in order to obtain valid findings.


Appendix 2 – Customer Model



Charlie • President

Charlie keeps the business viable by determining product and company direction. He is involved with all departments and depends on accurate information from his staff.


Operations is the heart of any company, they deliver unique products or services to customers. Operations can include Materials, Production, Purchasing, Warehousing, Process Engineering, R&D, Professional Services, Customer Service, and Quality Assurance. Operations groups in our markets can be distributors, manufacturers, or a combination of the two and they can also be either Large or Small departments.


Customer Service groups are classified by where service is performed. Our research has identified two types: inbound and outbound. Inbound service happens when customers come in. Outbound service happens when a technician is sent to a customer.
Outbound: Inbound:



Vince • Operations Manager

Vince ensures the timely and cost-effective delivery of products by managing the operations of the logistics, production, service departments.

Ricardo • Quality Controller Logistics

Ricardo maintains traceability support documentation and ensures product quality by inspecting received and shipped products.

Emil • Product Designer Production

Emil both designs new and modifies existing products. Emil is technical, but also spends considerable time searching for the least expensive components.

Karl • Materials Manager Logistics

Karl ensures that materials come in and products reach their destination on time. He ensures that replenishment and shipping processes are optimized for reliability, speed and cost.

Ellen • Warehouse Manager Logistics

Ellen ensures that inventory levels are accurate and that periodic physical inventory counts occur. She optimizes the warehouse and focuses on turnover rate reduction.

John • Warehouse worker Logistics

John puts received items away and picks items that need shipping. John waits for Sammy or Ellen to tell him what to do.

Sammy • Shipping and receiving Logistics

Sammy manages shipping and also receives goods and verifies them against purchase orders. He also supervises the other warehouse employees.

Inga • Purchasing manager Logistics

Inga sources the right quality product from the right supplier at the right price. She understands supplier performance, and the supply chain-related departments. Inga delegates day-to-day purchasing activities to Alicia.

Alicia • Purchasing agent Logistics

Alicia orders materials and supplies. She follows up on PO confirmations and partial receipts. She also researches suppliers to get the best quality products at the lowest price. Alicia reports to Inga.

Ted • Transportation coordinator Logistics

Ted tracks shipments and advises on customs regulations and shipping documentation. Ted is knowledgeable about shipping, the freight forwarding industry, and international trade issues. He has key relationships across these areas.

Tony • Production manager Production

Tony works with product development, process engineering, and sales to make production decisions. He ensures the necessary resources are in place and that the production plan is being carried out properly.

Oscar • Process engineer Production

Oscar often receives specifications for new products from Emil. He defines the necessary processes to make the product; Occasionally he and Emil make prototypes together.

Eduardo • Production planner Production

Eduardo manages scheduling and planning of production. He often needs to reshuffle existing orders to make room for more urgent orders. He considers exceptions to be the rule.

Lars • Shop supervisor Production

Lars ensures that the machine operators are productive, trained, and motivated. He can perform any job in the shop, but rarely has to do so.

Shannon • Machine operator Production

Shannon is trained to work her machine. She works hard to meet her production quotas so she can get her bonus. Shannon does not use a computer at all.

June • Product division manager Professional services

June drives project management processes and optimizes the performance of project teams through “best practices.” She is ultimately responsible for revenue goals, project completion, and customer satisfaction for all service engagements delivered.

Reina • Resource manager Professional services

Reina manages and schedules Project Team Members. She ensures they are hired, trained and available to Prakash and June for projects.

Prakash • Project manager Professional services

Prakash is responsible for project delivery. He works with Reina to provide adequate resources and staff. He has approval authority for all project-related charges from Tricia as well as any other materials charges.

Tricia • Project team member Professional services

Tricia works with other Project Team Members as directed by Prakash to ensure timely project completion for customers. She reports the status and submits expense to Prakash.

Marie • Customer service manager Customer Service

Marie manages the customer service team. She and her team make sure customers remain customers when things go wrong.

Daniel • Dispatcher Customer Service

Daniel organizes the fleet of service technicians. He decides which customers they will call on and in what order.

Terrence • Outbound technician Customer Service

Terrence works in the field performing maintenance and installations as directed by Daniel.

Lisa • Customer service rep Customer Service

Lisa receives phone calls from customers with questions. If she cannot answer their questions she routes them to a person who can.

Rebecca • Receptionist Customer Service

Rebecca can have many roles. She answers phones, makes appointments, does data entry, and handles other admin tasks.

Processes – The typical top level process groups that are carried out by the Operations department are as follows:

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