Know Your Audience

Know Your Audience

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Wow, MIX10 rocked. I’ve lost my voice which made it pretty hard to do a podcast interview this morning; I’m glad I had the morse code app someone coded up at MIX for Windows Phone 7 Series using the tools we made available there!

If you didn’t get a chance to see the day 1 keynote for the conference you missed an amazing presentation of not only the Windows Phone 7 Series user experience & developer experience but a bunch of amazing 3rd party app demos as well.  You can watching it online here.

I had a great time talking with developers and designers about the new development platform at MIX. You’d be amazed how much planning went into delivering these keynotes, demos and sessions. I’ve been doing these shows for years, and the first thing I was taught was to know your audience. For me MIX has been all about exciting developers and designers, but I appreciate that there are people watching online or reading press articles who see things through a different lens. With that in mind, I’d like to clarify a few things.

I’ve talked at length on my developer focused blog and in other forums about our commitment to designing a platform that prioritizes end user experience. Creating and then preserving an incredible customer experience is priority one for Windows Phone 7 Series. We make this point in every session. To illustrate the point we often remind developers that the vast majority of phones are purchased at retail, which means the “end user” we are focusing on is often referred to as a “consumer”. This is not to say that phones or Windows Phone 7 Series in particular are less valuable to business or corporate scenarios; it’s simply a comment on purchase behavior. 

We are building a phone focused on the end-user. We are building a phone that will be, primarily, purchased by end-users. We know those end-users have busy personal & business lives. We are building a phone that will be GREAT for helping end-users deal with BOTH their personal & business lives.

Windows Phone 7 Series will be a great business phone. We applied the same end user focus to designing the phone’s business capabilities that we did with every other element of the phone. We asked people and even IT administrators what they need from a phone. The answer was consistent. They want a single device that excels at core business functions like email, reading and editing Office documents and collaboration, while also offering rich features and capabilities that help people stay on top of the different parts of their lives, at home and at work. 

We expect Windows Phone 7 Series to appeal to people who are active, connected and working, so Exchange & SharePoint integration and the features within the new Office hub are core to the phone’s value. Similarly, we know that people add these phones to corporate networks and that we need to make that process easy for administrators. Interestingly, when we talk to corporate IT staff and business decision makers they ask us to give them a compelling phone that will not only improve productivity,  but also appeal to the end user’s “whole life,” as people wish to carry only one Smartphone to meet both business and personal needs. We think Windows Phone 7 Series will do this better than any other phone on the market today.

For us, it’s not a matter of “consumer” OR “corporate.” We view our target customer as the kind of person who is looking to technology as a helper in their lives, and we find this kind of person in small businesses, all the way to the largest corporations.  Whichever end of the spectrum they are in, we are building a phone that works for them, in their environment.

So when we tell developers and designers that we’ve built a platform for consumers / end users / people, we simply mean that experience is the high order bit – not quantity of features, range of form factors or anything else.

How we tell our story may vary by audience or event, but our singular focus on creating and preserving a great experience for the people who carry a Windows Phone is consistent.

Cheers,

Charlie Kindel

11 Comments
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  • Nater
    147 Posts

    I just got a WM6.5 device.  It's just over a month since I've had it, so I cannot send it back for a replacement - sadly.  I'll be saving up cash to get it replaced with a Blackberry, however.  I'm not dealing with this crap.  At least they'll let me upgrade my OS when they release a new version (on a phone this new).

    I also hate phones without a QWERTY keyboard.  Nothing more annoying than a virtual keyboard on a touch screen.  I want to throw up just thinking about it...

    Lol, and those of us who JUST got Windows Mobile (6.5) devices will be left in the cold, because who's going to be developing for an aging OS that's been basically dropped by its vendor?  Can't upgrade, cause half of us probably have more than 3 buttons on our devices.

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  • Fed44
    17 Posts

    This is just too sad. Of all these comments not one is positive and the saddest thing is that I can't change this either.

    What impressed me most about windows mobile was the fact that it really gave you an experience similar to a mobile Windows. Similar API's and some programs that were almost directly ported to Windows Mobile gave you the impression that you did have Windows in your pocket. Then came "Windows Phone". Windows Phone doesn't even remotely resemble Windows. It doesn't deserve to have the name "Windows" in it because it just isn't Windows. It is basically just a Zune Phone, and although the Zune itself is a good device in theory, I was extremely dissapointed at its limits such as not being able to use it as a plain USB Mass Storage Device etc.

    I completely agree with all the comments above and I really would like it if Microsoft could stop this $%& and make a Windows Mobile 7. The Windows Phone UI should really be nothing but a sort of optional shell interface that can be started by some exe or something.

    Windows Mobile should not be turned into a Zune Phone, the Zune should be turned into a Windows Portable Media Player.

  • My feelings follow with the choir above.

    The real irony of this lies in the title of this blog post. Know your audience, which apparently Microsoft doesn't, Microsoft's bigger failure here is "know your customers" something Microsoft has completely missed.

    you said you've "asked people and even IT administrators what they need from a phone", I dont think thats even remotely true, i think an honest phrase would read "we've analyzed and reviewed the iphone thoroughly and determined the key points of its architecture that make it sell so well and we're going to attempt to mimic them in order to increase our market share."

    Its a complete shame that Microsoft is blatantly alienating what remaining mobile customers you have left. if anything you should create 2 product lines, windows phone 7 iphone ripoff edition and windows mobile 7 professional edition. making the former exactly what its title says and moreover the current direction of windows mobile err sorry, phone, and make the latter a continuation of windows mobile 6.5, with some improvements. Microsoft has never shown and shyness or fear in the past about having different products segregating the market, starter, home premium, professional, ultimate, enterprise, so why stop now? why should windows mobile be any different?

    I've said this many times before, If microsoft would quit "chasing" the likes of Apple and Google, and just focus on doing what Microsoft does best (from a technical standpoint, not a business standpoint, last time you put forward your best business skills you landed under an antitrust decree), you would do so much better, your products be everyones first choice, not what people settle for, and you wouldn't have to worry about what others are doing, they would be chasing you.

    This reminds of the story of 2 guys walking in the woods when a bear comes after them, first guy (microsoft) starts running, second guy stops and puts on his running shoes, first guy says what are you doing, you cant out run a bear, second guy says i dont have to out run the bear, i just have to out run you!

    I'll end my rant by saying this, what gives windows mobile its strengths now is its openness, the ability for people to install anything they want and to customize their phone anyway they choose. if i wanted to live in a locked down world and be treated like an ignorant buffoon incapable of thinking for myself, or making my own decisions about what software should go on my phone, or what my user experience should entail, i would have bought a stack of black turtlenecks and an iphone. but i didnt, i bought another windows mobile phone. i've had 6 in all, but it looks like my touch pro 2 will be my last... Unless HTC can manage to squeeze out a pro / keyboarded version of the HD2 before WM6.5 gets lobotomized into microsofts retarded version of the iphone.

  • CSMR
    6 Posts

    Extremely disappointing news. I was expecting a significant upgrade; instead we have some flashy new features but a large amount of basic functionality has been removed.

    - minimal customization

    On WM6.5 I can customize the home screen to display exactly the information I need. "Windows Phone 7" has an interface that presents very little information, despite the high-resolution screens.

    -no SD cards:

    This reduced competition in the market, since storage is now another thing differentiating phones. It reduces flexibility and choice.

    -no user file system access? (This can't be true?)

    When I plug a phone into my PC I expect to be able to drag and drop files in between, without installing proprietary software, and to use these files on the phone.

    Already complained about everywhere on tech sites:

    -multitasking

    -copy and paste

    I accept that limited products can be easy to understand and am sure it will be successful. But Microsoft has alienated technical users, and I'm sure the developers must be feeling guilty for pandering to the lowest common denominator - instead of designing a product that has a great user interface without sacrificing features and technical quality.

    Technical users may be a small market but are an important one.

    I'll wait on WM6.5 and if all of the above get added in a business or unlocked edition, then I'll be very happy. Otherwise Android beckons.

  • CSMR
    6 Posts

    Extremely disappointing news. I was expecting a significant upgrade; instead we have some flashy new features but a large amount of basic functionality has been removed.

    - minimal customization

    I accept that limited products can be easy to understand and am sure it will be successful. But Microsoft has alienated technical users, and I'm sure the developers must be feeling guilty for pandering to the lowest common denominator - instead of designing a product that has a great user interface without sacrificing

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  • karelj
    1 Posts

    And I, in turn, agree with Parrotlover77.

    I do understand that this is a new direction, but I can't help but feel that all the die hard, loyal, Windows Mobile fans are being left on the outside looking in. Those of us, for example, that are still with 6.1 because we waited and ignored our chance to upgrade just for a shot at 7. We are power users and it is insulting to be told what we want and do not want. We are the consumers..we are the ones who tell *you* what *we* want.

    I suggest that everyone involved with this project pay attention to the dissatisfaction emanating from the many mobile tech forums.It's one thing to try and gain a new consumer base, it's quite another if it costs you the long time, loyalists.

  • I agree with Rosewood and GoodThings2Life.

    I started out defending every single move Microsoft made on WP7S as it was leaked out, but it got too much for me to bear.  I'm usually a huge MS evangelist and a long time Windows Mobile fan.

    - No alternate shell?  Well, I love Mobile Shell 3, but I guess I can live with the ugly blue and white tiles.  The way they are animated and update from the cloud is pretty cool.

    - No backwards compatibility?  That's okay.  It's a new platform.  We can port code from the old to the new with a little modification.  It's still Windows CE and .Net, right?  How different could it be?

    - No unmanaged code?  Okay, that makes the porting issue a little more difficult.  No native apps can be ported and a lot of managed apps will have to be rewritten in a lot of ways as platform invoking is common.  Pain in the ass, but (taking deep breath) I can do this!

    - No registry/file system?  Damn, guys.  Come on.  That makes the porting issue very difficult.  My app that saves little notes for grocery lists won't be able to share that with anybody else.  This sucks!

    - No multitasking?  Wait, what?  No way.  That's a basic requirement of any OS.  Only the iPhone does that and it makes developing anything over a basic fart app or other quick information grab app very difficult.  How can I write an app that augments the user experience spanning the entire phone (like my nice little app that plays a sound every 15 minutes when a reminder is awaiting).  If I can't process in the background or write a service, this is impossible!

    - No copy and paste?  This is a joke, right?  I was able to live with a lot of really CRAPPY ideas (see above!), but now you complete lost me!  Android does everything in this list and doesn't have any issues!

    - "Smart" links are better than copy and paste? Phone numbers will automatically link?  Well what if I want to copy a paragraph from a web page or within Word?  How are smart links going to know where to start and stop?!

    - No side loading?  So the only way I can get an app to anybody is by paying you or going through a complicated process with Visual Sutdio?  You have got to be kidding me!

    - No VB.Net?  Holy crap dude, thanks for throwing sand in my eye.  As a VB.Net developer, it was bad enough I couldn't write for XNA, but now I can't even write for Windows Phone?

    If I have to learn a whole new language, I might as well start developing for Android.  They have "app permissions" to make sure the experience is consistent, but they also let the user decide how that experience should be. (omg yes, they actually let the user decide what is best for the user.)

    So, MS, best of luck to you.  WP7S is going to be an outsanding CONSUMER phone.  But it is a joke to say it will also be a great business experience.  That's just not true.  My non-tech colleagues (who haven't switched to Blackberry) are absolutely LOVING their Touch Pro 2s, but based on their computing habits, I don't see them able to make the jump to WP7S.

    As for me, I'm staying on 6.5 for now untli these issues are resolved.  And if they aren't, Android, here I come.

  • I've got to partly agree with Rosewood on the Copy/Paste issue... because it's such a basic but critical feature for a lot of people. I can honestly say there's not a day that goes by that I don't use Copy/Paste at least once.

    Am I going to avoid the platform because of it? No... but it certainly is a very loud alarm bell going off to criticize the hell out of Apple for years about it and then turn around and suddenly not have it after having since the beginning of time on WP7S.

    I get it... you want a good experience for it, and all that jazz, and you don't want to delay launch. OK, fine. But you really need to make sure that it can be deployed QUICKLY to all users soon after.

    Now, rant over, I have to say that I'm extremely excited about WP7S from a user perspective and a technical perspective. I love my ZuneHD, and seeing the interface improved significantly and redesigned into something so gorgeous as WP7S is fantastic!

  • As someone who has used Windows Mobile for a very long time, I was very excited about Windows Phone 7 Series. I'm a user, developer, adviser and basically reseller.

    But this blog post after everything presented at MIX puts me farther away from WP7S. How can a person honestly say something like "we simply mean that experience is the high order bit" when the experience lacks basic features of copy and paste? (In the same sentence you almost concede that bit with the throw away clause of "not quantity of features")

    I've experienced a phone that couldn't copy and paste and it wasn't high anything.

    And not so much a feature but an open platform to develop on, like my computer, was one of the greatest strengths of windows mobile in the corporate world. The lack of side loading also greatly takes away from the experience.

    Anyways, I wish everyone luck in this endeavor. I've been asking for features (like being able to see multiple exchange based calendars either from my own account or a shared account) for years and I wasn't listened to so I don't expect that now.