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(As the holidays are upon us, I’m falling into an even slightly less formal mood…)

You’ve probably heard that at Microsoft, we spend a lot of time on user experience design.  Many iterations, lots of psychological evaluation (of the software, not the engineers), and some pretty sophisticated usability laboratory testing.

Up front, we also develop a number of conceptual mockups (screenshots or slide decks) that demonstrate to everyone the vibe that we are aiming for.  These serve as inspiration throughout the product cycle.

For PowerPivot, we also took the extraordinary step of identifying a screenshot of what we wanted to avoid.  Check out this controller guide from a recent video game:

Explicitly designed PowerPivot to NOT look like this

OK, not really.  This was created by the guys at Penny Arcade, one of my favorite reads.

But the spirit is the same.  How many manuals have you opened, seen something that essentially looked just like this, and then immediately put back down?

Happy Friday 🙂

Rob Collie

One of the founding engineers behind Power Pivot during his 14-year career at Microsoft, and creator of the world’s first cloud Power Pivot service, Rob is one of the foremost authorities on self-service business intelligence and next-generation spreadsheet technology.

This Post Has 3 Comments
  1. Hi Rob,maybe this’s a small question,does power pivot support the Oracle Database?And,have you heard of “Business Objects”-one BI Product,and I use this software a lot to analyze engineering data a lot in the company,so I wonder if the power pivot can do the same job as Business Objects?
    Looking forward to your reply. Thanks.

    1. Sorry for the slow reply here, lots of travel over the holidays and I fell behind. I am not particularly familiar with the API’s exposed by Business Objects. Do they have OLEDB, ODBC, or simple web service interfaces for retrieving BO data and making it available to other applications?

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