Whenever Microsoft needs to make a radical change in the way they do things, they bring in a hip Asian guy. That’s why they’ve got me shaking things up on Microsoft Canada’s Tech Evangelism Team, and it’s also why Albert Shum is redefining the way Microsoft does mobile phones in his role as the Director of Microsoft’s Mobile Experience Design Team. True to my earlier statement that Canadian techies have been punching well above their weight class since Alexander Graham Bell, Albert studied engineering and architecture at the University of Waterloo.
Here’s a video featuring Albert talking about the design philosophies behind the completely reworked from-the-ground-up Windows Phone 7. It’s featured in the Microsoft News Centre article Windows Phone Designer Seeks the Right Balance.
I like what he says at the end of the video:
What will our users see first? I think hopefully they’ll see themselves in the phone. I think that’s a really key part of how we designed it. It’s really focused on making this phone your phone. We took the idea of making it personal, so that when you look at the start experience, it’s about your content. It’s about your people, it’s your pictures, it’s your music, it’s presented way up there.
My phone is going to be different than your phone, and I think that’s a really key part: that personalized way of navigating the thing that you care about, the things that you want to share, the things you want to listen to, and those are the key moments where we first present that it’s your phone.
If you’re thinking up ideas for applications to write for Windows Phone, keep what Albert says in mind: it’s not about feature lists; it’s all about the user and the user experience.