Story of re-designing for SharePoint metadata and taxonomy services
Role & Impact
Designed the new admin system for SharePoint metadata and taxonomy services
Worked with multiple teams to align with the global vision and design language of Microsoft Admin centre
Designed several new UX and interaction patterns that are now used across multiple Microsoft admin systems
Built and standardized components for Fluent Design system
Work at Microsoft
At Microsoft, I managed a team of designers that focussed on building
file experiences in Microsoft Teams, consumer & enterprise versions of Microsoft Lists, and features for the Microsoft 365 suite.
My work involved defining the product UX and strategy by working in close partnership with Leadership, Product Management, and Research teams. As a Manager, I was accountable to deliver high-quality products and building a culture of design excellence & better craft.
During my earlier years, I worked on OneDrive for Windows and mobile devices, and modernized the SharePoint Metadata
Admin Center (part of Microsoft Syntex), besides several features for Microsoft 365. A lot of this was foundational work for my team in India.
Beyond my product work, I led the Design Internship program for the Design Studio and several key University Recruitment initiatives, that had a direct impact on our culture and growth at Microsoft India.
A taxonomy is a formal classification system. A taxonomy groups the words, labels, and terms that describe
something, and then arranges the groups into a hierarchy.
Organizations manage their taxonomies and metadata centrally, using SharePoint. This helps them to organize,
search, and handle information easily, and often for compliance, and data intelligence
My role as the Lead Designer on this product was to design interactions for navigating hierarchical
content, and to lead the redesign effort for the existing admin system.
Designing a better 'tree'
This was one of the seemingly simple, but intricate features I ever worked on. I closely experienced that achieving
simplicity in design is hard work.
The first task in this initiative was to redesign the taxonomy navigation experience for end-users of SharePoint.
The current system used a tree in a classic mode, and I set out to invent a new design paradigm. For this, I
came up with multiple options, and after various reviews, we took two of them to the users to test them.
The research output was intriguing. The new design didn't make the cut; the classic model fared very
well. The new design resulted in longer time
to complete the intended tasks as it made decision-making complex.
With more insights from the data, I decided not to deviate from the classic model and set out to solve the
rest of the problems and requirements based on that design.
There were several requirements and features, and the challenge was to create a robust tree structure that would
not be too distant from the original classic design in terms of experience. Due to practical
challenges like page load times and scalability, this was a better choice to proceed with too.
The robust tree was now ready. I added further interactions to add items and to show descriptions contextually.
We went ahead and standardized it, so that it can be reused across the product as a standard control.