MICROSOFT: repurposing a website
PRODUCT MARKETING / WEB UI & UX / MARKET RESEARCH
During the summer of 2018, I interned at Microsoft as a Product Marketing Manager on the Azure Mixed Reality and HoloLens team. A few weeks prior to the start of my internship, our team was moved from the Modern Life and Devices org (which include products such as the Microsoft Surface line, Windows 10, and Office 365 subscriptions) to the Cloud and Enterprise org, whose predominant focus is Azure. This transition required a significant change in business priorities and strategy for HoloLens, pushing for a more commercial focus and deeper HoloLens-Azure utilization value proposition. My summer project revolved around drafting the web brief of HoloLens.com that would address these changes as well as new products in the pipeline. I conducted stakeholder interviews across functions related to HoloLens and Mixed Reality to incorporate comprehensive feedback into recommendations, prototyped lo-fi wireframes of what these recommendations could look like, and established a work-back schedule with our Marketing Communications team for a 3 staged implementation.
RESEARCH & STAKEHOLDER INTERVIEWS
When assigned with this project, my first instinct was to map out a user flow diagram of what the current HoloLens website looked like. This allowed me to get a general lay of the land of what I would be working with, thereby also providing fresh eyes to analyze the site’s information architecture.
Another key component of my initial research on HoloLens.com was to understand what people across functions related to HoloLens thought about its current performance and what changes were needed from their individual points of view. From these 1x1 conversations that lasted about 30 minutes each, I was able to synthesize and develop succinct goals for the website from core teams that had a significant stake in the website’s overhaul.
Below are the six different functional teams I was able to gain insight from, including my own team which was Product Marketing. I was even able to meet with several members on the same team individually to gain even deeper insight. Below the team boxes are the team goals I teased out from the multiple interviews.
THE GOOD, THE BAD, & THE UGLY
After performing a broad analysis of the website and establishing team goals through stakeholder interviews, I started identifying how the site was performing well in terms of accomplishing these goals, what requirements weren’t being fulfilled, and what aspects were severely detracting away from the site’s core purpose/goal. I affectionately named this research section The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.
The current HoloLens website was generally covering all of the basic points it needed to such as providing information about what the device was, how it worked, examples of applications a user could run, etc. The problem was that all of it wasn’t tying together to tell a more cohesive and impactful product story.
As our team transitioned to the Cloud and Enterprise organization, it became increasingly apparent that the lack of clarity in the Mixed Reality, commercial, and Azure value propositions was preventing the website from telling a clear story.
Content such as developer documentation, highlighted Mixed Reality applications, etc. were sometimes unnecessarily repeated throughout the website, no longer applicable to the product’s story, or even just broken links.
Moving on to the re-design and re-structuring of the HoloLens website, I identified several aspects that clearly needed to be established through the initial research and analysis. First, the Microsoft platform ties that needed to be made. HoloLens.com should have a relation to Azure, AI, Window Mixed Reality, Microsoft Mixed Reality, and Dynamics Business Applications websites to create a comprehensive ecosystem where users could see the combined value of all these different Microsoft products that are more powerful when people understand how they all work together. In addition to this, I also established 3 user takeaways/themes that I wanted users to come away with after visiting the HoloLens website:
Inspire and excite people about HoloLens as an industry solution.
Be aware that others have had successful results and solutions already exist for their problem/situation.
Make people feel supported no matter what stage they’re at in the customer journey.
From here, I went into a page-by-page analysis of each page on the current HoloLens website to determine:
What are the issues that exist on this page?
What requirements aren’t being met?
Why should changes be made?
What goals would it accomplish?
What should the changes look like from our team’s POV?
What’s the information architecture now?