Winning a Design Week award is similar to winning an Oscar, or Bafta, in the film world: it’s the ultimate recognition from your peers that you have produced something exciting and unique that engages beyond purely answering the words of the design brief.

This year the Expression Team was not only nominated, we won the coveted Design Week award for ‘Digital Design – Information’ for Microsoft Interactive Canvas (MIC).

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The journey from initial idea to award winner started just over 12 months ago when we approached AllofUs, a top interactive agency in the UK, to explore options to showcase what could be produced with the Microsoft design and development tools and technologies.

The brief was simple: create a show piece for conferences and events where we could show the end result of what could be created with our products and technologies in a fun, engaging, and interactive way. This was a radical departure from the normal way we would approach attending an event which would typically involve showing individual products and technologies to demonstrate the process of building something rather than the end result.

AllofUs had a proven ability to hide the complexity of technology behind easy to use, almost invisible user interfaces making their installations immediately approachable. While their work is always approachable and fun it is also inherently advanced both in terms of how it is built and in the way the different technologies are employed. The perfect blend we needed for this project.

The project had a tight timeline of only 4 months, with 5 weeks assigned for concept and design specification, 8 weeks to design and test the hardware and software, 5 weeks for production, and 3 weeks for testing and refinements.

We interviewed the AllofUs team to find out more about how they pulled the project together in such a short space of time.

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Since being completed, MIC (shown below) has been the center piece at many events around the world and is proving to be the perfect ice breaker to help understand the capabilities of Expression Blend, Visual Studio, and WPF.

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Congratulations to AllofUs and Microsoft team behind MIC for your win Design Week award win this year!

 

Learn more about MIC and see it in action:

To see MIC in action we have a short video that shows some of the direct input interactivity as well as the proximity interactivity.

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Visit the detailed MIC design blog:
Designing the software and visual concepts is of course only one side of a project like this, the other is testing and building the actual hardware of the interactive wall itself. AllofUs kept a blog of the building of MIC and the types of technology that goes into building an award winning project like the Microsoft Interactive Canvas. The blog follows the project from day 1 right through to the first time MIC was deployed at MIX UK 2008. You can read the full story here.

‘Digital Arts – Inspiration for Digital Creatives’ interviews the AllofUs team.
“Digital agency AllofUs tells us how it created an incredible interactive installation allowing visitors to Microsoft's ReMix UK conference to share their thoughts and ideas – using Expression Studio and WPF.”

See MIC being demonstrated from the show floor at SXSW.