Mary Branscombe (marypcb) wrote,
Mary Branscombe

People-centred data

Microsoft's big slogan for the Dynamics software is 'people-centered software'. I caught the TV ad for it the other night: many different people in different countries all getting up in the morning, grabbing breakfast and heading out for the day and all doing it that little bit differently. In fact I looked at the ad and thought 'this is good; Microsoft should have advertising like this'.

But what I noticed on MapQuest this morning (checking out Leigh on Sea where my mum will probably move to) was what I think of as people-centered data. While the label that comes up when you hover the mouse is Zoom Level 3 the labels at the size of the zoom control show me that's actually the most detailed view I can get of this location as a place within a country, before I go down into region level. For the most detail at street level the icon is a person, for the least level at country view it's mountains (topographic data here I come). The icons get wider from top to bottom - a handy visual cue if I haven't spotted the plus and minus buttons - but it's the labels of Street, City, Region and Country that let me get information the way people think about it, not the way computers do. Like Today/Tomorrow/This Week/Next Week in Outlook 2007 or tags on a blog, it's data aggregated into a fuzzy structure rather than a strictly normalized data slice.
Tags: design, dynamics, interface, mapqwest, maps, microsoft, microsoft convergence, office 2007, outlook, software, technology
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