Learning About Microsoft Design and Demystifying Usability Testing


For the May NoVA UX meetup, Microsoft Dev Evangelist Andrew Duthie gave the group a presentation on the design thinking behind Windows 8. He described three influences–Bauhaus design, Swiss typography, and motion cinematography–and five design principles that guided the team:

  • Do more with less
  • Pride in craftmanship
  • Be fast and fluid
  • Be authentically digital
  • Win as one

For more details about each, check out Andrew’s presentation.


Next, applied psychologist and human factors engineer Bill Killam talked about how user perception and various kinds of cognitive biases can affect usability testing. Here’s an example from his talk:

“You are shown a picture of a person running for office
and asked if you think they will win. There are far to
many variables for you to make a good prediction, so the
task is too hard for us to work out consciously.
As a result, our unconscious substitutes the hard
question for an easier one – does the person look like a
person who will win? Our unconscious provides an
answer to that new question, but our conscious self
reports it as the answer to the first question without
realizing the substitution.”

Read about other perception problems, biases you never knew you had, and how to apply testing techniques to overcome them in Bill’s presentation.

Next month’s meetup will be the first birthday for NoVA UX. Stay tuned for details about the festivities!