Studio is a semi-public communication and collaboration platform. It supports novel ways to manage and share information by designating explicit space for critical items. It leverages a directed and broadcasted model of communication and publicizes associations that users can make between various conversations.

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8 months


Team Members


The Problem

Our client, Microsoft Unified Communications, asked us to:

  • Research and explore creating a tool that integrates communications, information, and actions into a common context to improve efficiency and increase understanding for the end user.
  • Design a way for the information worker to manage their conversations about information and content so that their workday can become more streamlined and productive.
  • Build this into a solution that allows effortless access to the information the worker needs.

The Process

During the Spring, our team began by exploring the communication and collaboration of non-traditional Information Workers, typified by the Generation X technology employee of the present. After interviewing a range of potential demographics, from younger children to older adults, we chose to focus on and explore the world of the up-and-coming Millennial Generation, who will soon join the workplace.

Through inquiry, we discovered a number of the Millennials on the cutting edge of technology, who are pushing at it in novel ways to tailor their communication and collaboration environments.

With this data, during the summer, we ran with out data, brainstorming with superheroes and scenarios, and we came up with multiple ideas for systems for communication, eventually deciding upon a three-part solution that lets Millennials communicate and collaborate in the way most natural to them.

The Solution

The web application acts as the primary portal for interacting with peers, pinning important items, and associating related conversations.

  • Messages are public conversations, broadcasted to the system. They come in four flavors: general, tasks, events & questions.
  • Users can direct conversations at specific contacts. The system can also display conversations based on selected contacts.
  • Pins allow users to save important conversations in a visual manner.
  • Users can create links between pinned conversations and other conversations they deem related, promoting group sense-making.

The mobile component lets the user view new conversations, replies, pinned items, and links created by the user or by one of his or her contacts. Users can pin and unpin messages and send replies to conversations.

The desktop gadget displays notifications of activity for an assigned individual or group. New, relevant conversations cause the gadget to change from gray to blue, and a mouse-over reveals the number new relevant conversations. Clicking on the gadget takes the user to the Studio web application and see those conversations.