Author Archives: cplatz

Azure Partner UX Guidelines

When I returned to Microsoft in August 2016, I joined as the Design Lead for the Azure Framework. Our team of 4 full-time designers, 2 researchers, and a content writer – along with our studio head, who worked closely with us – were responsible for improving the user experience of the entire Azure platform in […]

Alexa Skill: My Countdown

My second published Alexa skill was born from a request from a dear friend. We were planning a joint family trip to Disney World, and my goddaughter wanted to know how long until the big day. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a skill to make it easier for her mom to answer that question? […]

Marketplace Landing Pages

In early 2017, analysis of the AppSource.com telemetry revealed a potentially significant problem with the landing experience on AppSource.com, which was launched prior to my time partnering with the team. In partnership with our marketing and merchandising product managers, I worked to help both the AppSource and Azure Marketplace teams develop a roadmap for improving […]

Echo Look (Product and VUI Design)

I was hired to help a fledgling product team transform their initial concept lab pitch into a production-worthy multimodal design for an entirely new hardware product category at Amazon. I was employee number 3 on the Echo Look project, joining product manager Maggie McDowell and Lab126 product leader Robert Zehner – along with our VP […]

Alexa Notifications and Interruption Model

Upon joining the central Alexa Voice Design team in late 2015, my first order of business was to tackle a complicated systems design problem: how could we adapt a primarily single-threaded, voice-forward, reactive experience to allow proactive notifications? There was a great deal of caution surrounding the effort, as our product has been invited into […]

Azure Marketplace 2.0

In the fall of 2016, my responsibilities as the Azure Framework Design Lead expanded to include direct responsibility for our pro developer marketplaces. When we began, the only active marketplace in our purview was AppSource.com, but there was an immediate need to take the lessons learned on AppSource and apply them to a completely new […]

Alexa: Do Not Disturb

In parallel with our efforts on Alexa Notifications, I was asked to drive the completion of the Do Not Disturb feature. DND applied not just to Notifications but to Communications (calls/messaging), which meant a separate team of stakeholders and faster deadlines than the longer-term Notifications project. As with Alexa Notifications, I led the design side […]

Alexa Skill: Trainer Tips

When I joined the Alexa team, the Skills store was still in its infancy. One of my first responsibilities on the team was to perform skill submission reviews, which gave me a unique perspective on the strengths and weaknesses of the early Skills platform. Still, I wanted to learn more deeply, and the best way […]

Windows Automotive Notifications

Many of our in-vehicle apps needed to provide information to the driver, and expected the same interruption models they enjoy on mobile phones. However, in an automotive environment, interruptions threaten the driver’s safety. Our solutions had to work in a multimodal environment, with potential touch, voice or hardware input. CONTRIBUTORS: Myself (Design Owner) / 1 […]

Cortana in the Car: VUI for Windows Automotive

Design a new voice user interface (VUI) for use in the car that passes all automotive industry distracted driving safety standards. In addition, guide all 5 major feature teams on the appropriate use of speech within their areas (Start, Navigation, Media, Communications, and Car) CONTRIBUTORS: Myself (design owner) / 2 Program Managers / 2 Researchers […]