Office Collaboration - Connecting the dots

UI/UX Design - Microsoft Office
The Opportunity
Over the past decade, the document collaboration space has undergone a considerable shift. The traditional approach of attaching documents in email is, in many cases, being replaced by "document-centric" or "contextual" collaboration.
Document-centric collaboration is a broad term. It encompasses a series of connected experiences, such as sharing, comments, notifications, alerts, synchronization, history, etc. Microsoft has many, if not all, of the typical contextual collaboration functions already. But users were only able to experience the separate pieces because these features are found in rather different places in the UI and are challenging to discover.

Who are we solving the problem for?
Create seamless end to end experience
We want to measurably improve users' end-to-end experiences so that what happens before and after collaboration is not only connected but feels seamless.
We want to create a system our users understand; a system that fits their workflow; a system that incorporates privacy, security, control, and trust.
Business goal
Existing Office 365 Enterprise users start to gain trust & satisfaction in Office for collaboration and use it more. Unblock significant volume of O365 enterprise sales due to lack of cross-platform collaboration solution.
The Collaboration user journey
To better understand the problem, we compiled a set of six information worker collaboration user journeys, grounded in extensive research in this space. Here is one of the Journeys reveling the most common IW collaboration scenarios. And the part I was focusing on is share, Awareness during contribution, and catch up when user comes back to the file.
User collaboration journey
Who is here with me?
- the collaboration corner
There are two sections in the collab corner area: the co-author gallery and the collab feature buttons(Share, commands. activity). The co-author galley displays all the co-authors who are in the document editing or off-line. More people related info can also be found through the co-auth gallery. The collab buttons allow users to share and manage access, start commenting on the doc and catch up on updates through the activity button.
Prioritized user jobs & design principles:
1. Users are aware of Office’s collaboration features and perceive Office as a collaboration suite.
2. Understand who is working in a document within real time and have confidence in their ability to interact with co-authors.
3. Know when others are making changes in documents, can share with others to add feedback with confidence.
The share button allows users to share and manage document access.
The comment button will allow users to comment on the doc and review comment history.
The activity button will reveal the activity pane, which helps the user catch up on the updates and history versions.

The Co-auth gallery
will help users be aware of other editors and lead them to where others are working on.

The People card
will reveal more information about the collaborator and help make better decisions co-authoring.
We are working together - People presence
Only allowing people to be aware of who is also in the document is not enough for our users' day to day workflow. What's more important is building a contextual, collaborative environment, helps the team avoid repetitive editing and catch up with useful context.
So we built up the people presence system, which is cross-app & cross-platform, to help users be aware of who is editing and in what part of the document. By clicking into the people presence entity, more information and functions can be reviewed.
Business impact
15M O365 Enterprise Cloud Collaborators (by June 30, 2019)

Besides of the exciting number increasing, we also start hearing users compliment about the updated collaboration features. More than half of the users begin to recognize Office as editing + collaborations tools.
There are a lot more
The whole collaboration experience design journey started in 2015. The Office shared team produces tons of research and design ideation. Several teams have been working together, all for a delightful experience. So there are way more than what I am showing on this page. Reach out if you want to hear more about the creation story.
Office Calc team      Office Canvas team
Office FEST Team      Office DOC Team
My role
UX ideation and iteration
Visual direction
Participate and provide materials for research
Work close with partner teams for coherent UXU