Microsoft Garage

Role: User research, concept ideation, weekly start-up style pitching, collaboration between interns and remote teams, wireframing, high-fidelity mockups

During Summer 2016, I was invited to join the Microsoft Garage for an internship as a UI/UX Designer! This selective internship program required a cohort of 40 interns to create and ship 6 projects from start to finish. As a designer for two very different teams, my role including everything from going out into the field to speak with IT professionals, to digging through my old family photos, arguing with engineers, and tackling Microsoft’s legal process to ship a beta version of our final app.

Process: The initial steps of the Project Santorini photo app involved user research. This included going out onto the street to talk with people how their interact with their photos app, paper protoyping with sticky notes, and performing more formal user studies where we had customers interact with our app as we iteratively improved on it.

Being a Universal Windows Platform app, Project Santorini had to be optimized for both desktop and mobile posing a tricky design issue in optimizing space for your photos as well as our unique interaction. Lastly, I was the main speaker and in charge of demos when presenting to the heads of the departments we were working for. This involved effectively communicating our ideas via story-telling, the technical specifications, and use case demonstrations.

After 12 weeks of pitching, iterating, and executing, even Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella found out about our project!


The second project I worked on that summer is called IoTune, where we packaged mobile enrollment of IoT devices into Microsoft’s device management service Intune (get it?) I can’t show off too many details here, but it involved a lot of conversations with IT professionals around Cambridge to learn how they interact with IoT devices and creating an experience around that.

Anna M. Pfoertsch