September, 2006

Blog - About

About Jensen Harris: An Office User Interface Blog

My name is Jensen Harris and I'm the Director of Program Management for the Microsoft Windows User Experience Team.

I previously was Group Program Manager of the Office 2007 and Office 2010 User Experience teams. Our team was responsible for the overall interaction and visual design of the programs that ship in Office. Most recently, we completed a total user interface redesign of Office which shipped as part of the Office 2007 and which was improved in Office 2010.

Although we worked very closely with the individual application teams (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, etc.) to help solve difficult usability issues specific to those programs, our key responsibility was to design and develop the UI framework that people use to interact with all of Office.

In short, the team's mission is to help make sure that you can find and use the functionality in Office as seamlessly as possible.

Some background on me: I've worked at Microsoft for eleven years; before that I was a summer intern twice. I spent my first five years at Microsoft working on the Outlook e-mail and PIM program, both for the Macintosh and for Windows. The last project I worked on was leading the redesign of the Outlook 2003 user interface that shipped in Office 2003. After work on Office 2003 concluded in August of 2003, I moved to the overall Office User Experience Team--first as a Lead Program Manager and then later as Group Program Manager.

In mid-2009, I left the Office team to take a position as Director of Program Management for Windows User Experience.

Before I joined Microsoft, I graduated with a degree in music composition from Yale University. For high school, I attended Interlochen Arts Academy and graduated with a double major in music composition and trombone performance.

In this blog, I write my thoughts about the ins and outs of defining and designing the user experience of Microsoft Office. I write frequently about the future of Office but also sometimes the past. And there are times I find it irresistible to delve into general user interface issues or even software issues in general.

In particular, this blog is all about the new Office user interface which shipped as part of Office 2007. This new version does away with menus and toolbars and replaces them with new paradigms such as the Ribbon, Contextual Tabs, the Mini Toolbar, and Galleries.

I look forward to reading your comments and hearing suggestions on what would you would like to see me cover. Dive in, there's plenty to read!

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