KC Lemson

By KC Lemson [MS]

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  • Blog Post: Now *that's* a user scenario...

    Try this. Open up word, make sure automatic spellchecking is on, and type in the names of some star wars characters:       I love it. They're in the dictionary... except, for some reason, for Leia. For the ones it does know, it even capitalizes the first letter for you if you type it lower...
  • Blog Post: Funny how things go...

    A while ago, I mentioned that I am now the User Experience manager for Exchange, over the design & usability teams. One of the things my team does is run focus groups and usability studies, and we ran a focus group with eight IT pros/exchange admins in December to explore some of the areas we're...
  • Blog Post: The drive behind features

    You know how there's a warning tag on hairdryers that says not to use it while showering? I've always figured that the reason for those stupid warnings is that someone somewhere did use it while showering, and then the relatives of the deceased then sued the hairdryer company who agreed to put warnings...
  • Blog Post: When you write code, you write bugs. Period.

    Larry has a great post about the myth of zero defects . As a release manager (or rather, bean counter), the issues discussed there are part of my daily life. One interesting aspect of bug management that may not be immediately obvious has to do with automation. Years ago, product teams at Microsoft didn...
  • Blog Post: How to make better software for users? Here's to so-called "soft" skills and fewer jerks.

    I had a discussion with someone today who said something like "It's amazing how much of the process of software development isn't about software, it's just about communication and cross-group collaboration". My response was that "Actually that's not amazing to me - what's amazing to me is how many people...
  • Blog Post: SNL actually got it right

    Several years ago, there was an episode of SNL that had one of the segments of “Nick Burns, your company's computer guy” with Jimmy Fallon as Nick, an annoying IT guy who would never let his users get a word in edgewise while he fixed their computer problems and insulted them for having problems...
  • Blog Post: Outside In

    In 2000, every Microsoft employee received a copy of the seminal work, “ Inside Out: Microsoft - In Our Own Words “. It's actually a pretty interesting book (well... for a certain audience), with some fantastic photos and stories from the first 25 years (one of my favorite pictures is the...
  • Blog Post: How to determine if your users are satisfied

    Well, I'll tell you one way to not do it, which is to measure against user expectations without any sort of normalization or attempt to figure out what those expectations are. Take for example this survey from a hotel I stayed at this past weekend: As it turns out, I was expecting quality... and...
  • Blog Post: Duh, Raymond... just pop up a dialog!

    I really enjoyed some of the comments on Raymond Chen's latest entry . As I read them, I thought to myself “Oh boy[1], I need to add a comment explaining that no one ever reads dialogs, so you folks should really stop suggesting that to Raymond as the quick fix in the comments on his blog whenever...
  • Blog Post: Building and shipping software at Microsoft

    I gave a presentation to our MVPs on how the Exchange team builds software yesterday. Assuming the participants aren't just stroking my ego, it went pretty well. Often customers are surprised why their pet DCR isn't implemented in the same release as when they request it; I think there's a perception...
  • Blog Post: Feature Packs versus Service Packs: Why isn't it an easy decision?

    I blogged a while ago about features in service packs . A couple of the comments recommended doing feature packs instead, and since then I've been meaning to blog about the complexities involved in that process, so here it is. Please note: this post should not be taken as the word on what any product...
  • Blog Post: And continuing on that thought…

    I was playing around with photos.live.com, added some photos… and clicked on the very nice large bolded “Upload” word twice before realizing that it was simply happy text, trying to guide me towards the upload button. Aghhh.
  • Blog Post: Motivations & assumptions

    So last year, LisaB rolled out the "myMicrosoft" initiative, and over the last year the various improvements have been rolled out (I don't even like coffee but man those machines make goo oooo od hot chocolate), including upgrades to many of our conference rooms. In these new conference rooms we got...
  • Blog Post: Convert windows movie maker's DV Type-1 to Type-2

    I swap back and forth between Windows Movie Maker & Pinnacle Studio 8 for video editing depending on my editing needs and mood. Movie Maker is nice because it's on every machine I use, so I will often capture the video on one machine but edit it on another. One problem with this is that Movie Maker...
  • Blog Post: Enable reminders for non-default folders in Outlook

    By default, Outlook only displays reminders for four default folders: Inbox (for items flagged for follow up with a date for the reminder) Contacts (for flagged contacts, i.e. "call this guy") Tasks Calendar But if you need them in other folders (such as a "Family"...
  • Blog Post: I am now a TypePad evangelist

    Executive Summary: I highly recommend TypePad for anyone willing to pay a few bucks for a third party to host a blog for them. A great combination of features and usability. I have got to hand it to the folks at SixApart, they have done a great job, TypePad is a great piece of software that just makes...
  • Blog Post: Customer feedback

    A month ago, we took advantage of a deal at Bon Macy's and opened up a credit card to get 10% off of a large purchase (a mattress). A couple of weeks later, we purchased some sheets and pillows using that credit card. I promise, this has something to do with Exchange. Bear with me. Tonight, I received...
  • Blog Post: In case you hadn't heard yet...

    We RTM'd last Friday. Awww yeah! As some of us were discussing on friday, "RTM day" is really a unique milestone in the life of many microsoft employees. I've been here 9 years and shipped 5 products that were all on 2-3 year cycles, so such a day just doesn't come around very often in the products...
  • Blog Post: Examples of how customer feedback shapes Exchange: Max Hop Count

    I occasionally get requests for examples of how customer feedback changed something in Exchange. We live and breathe customer feedback, from individual devs/testers/pms up to our VP, but it's probably not obvious unless you're a member of the group seeing the internal workings of how the feedback is...
  • Blog Post: This seems like a fear of commitment, but I swear it's not...

    As I hinted a few weeks ago , I'm changing jobs again. My last role change was over a year ago , that's almost a record for me. My new job is being the UX Manager for the next release of Exchange. I will be leading a team of designers and researchers on the UX (User Experience) team. The UX team played...
  • Blog Post: Help Office build better products

    In every Office application, there is an item on the Help menu - "Customer Feedback Options". http://www.microsoft.com/products/ceip/english/default.htm  describes more about this program, but the gist is this: By turning this on, you tell the Office team how you use their product. This feedback...
  • Blog Post: There's no such thing as a simple feature

    W henever I think about designing seemingly simple features, I reflect back on this to remind myself how nothing is as simple as it seems: For Exchange 2000 Service Pack 2, I was tasked with speccing out a feature - type-down search. In Outlook and Windows Explorer, this is the feature whereby you can...
  • Blog Post: I love software testing

    Franci pointed out an article about the future of software testing . The article has some good points, although as Franci mentions, Microsoft's testers already have accomplished some of the future goals he outlines (working in tandem with developers, spec reviewing, etc), and others are underway. ...
  • Blog Post: Human nature and email attachment security

    Dare's post about human nature touches on UAC in Vista: How do you design a dialog prompt to warn users about the potential risk of an action they are about to take if they are so intent on clicking OK and getting the job done that they forget that there was even a warning dialog afterwards? There are...
  • Blog Post: What it's like to be a Program Manager at Microsoft...

    I got a big kick out of this thread on Joel Spolsky's forum , such as the part about how PMs manipulate developers. I have to admit, I've played the “Oh what a smart idea you just had, Mr./Ms. Developer!” card more than once, but that's usually because I was being honest, and I think it's...