Subscription based developer product offering redesign, up-tooling, and platform migration project designed to replace a dated business model and outdated product offering platform.
The company was moving in a direction to support a multi-subscription based model for the consumption of both free and paid first and third party applications. The previous program and supporting site did not scale or serve as a modern medium for such purposes.
A new design needed to emerge that would replace the existing site as well as provide a platform for new product offerings. In addition the new site needed to retain some core pre existing functionality.
The redesign we would need to adopt a number of new Microsoft design principles that had been organically developed during the time post the deployment of the original subscriber experience. These changes included application of tile based design and a new visual language called BOWTIE. The orginal subscriber portal design is shown in the first figure.
At the time of the redesign Microsoft was fully embracing a design pattern evolved from the Windows visual language and applying it across many web based services. The tile approach offered a modern, extensible, and consistent approach to displaying yet to be created benefit offerings which were to be a part of a new Subscriber Portal experience. Using known sets of requirements I developed a number of early variations on how these tiles could be configured.
Requirements included third party logo support, descriptions, CTA, plan details and in some cases activation codes.
New on brand artwork needed to be created to tie this experience tightly into it’s parent experiences which hung off of the Visual Studio parent site. Since several new subscription offerings were going to be developed slight variations of this artwork needed to be designed to show a cohesive family of offerings. I served as art director to my illustrator to acheive this outcome.
After a number of design tweaks and refinements to the benefits tiles in particular the final ‘My’ home was complete. A few compromises ultimately needed to be made which included standardizing on a single tile dimension for space efficiency and a desire for a less complex implementation outcome. There was a good deal discussion around the scrolling tiles solution as some third party partners didn’t want to have their offerings hidden on page load. I argued for this as it was by now a common convention for all tile based content (Netflix, Hulu Etc.)
The final experience could have as few or as many rows of offerings depending on the specific subscriber plan.
Subscriber downloads was the core of this experience where paid and free subscribers would consume applications from a vast repository of software applications. Think of this as a proprietary GitHub for Visual Studio subscribers. The pre existing experience was needlessly clunky, visually dated, difficult in search and discovery, and in many cases offered outdated or unsupported software and extension types. The core functionality and design of this experience was in need of a vast overhaul. The pre existing downloads experience is show in the adjacent figure. See the Axure Prototype.
Mid way though the development phase a new requirement was introduced to apply a new design language to all Visual Studio web experiences led by VSTS, the emerging flagship product known as BOWTIE. This meant an update for the subscriber experience including new type face, glyphs and lightening of the page esthetic.
The last phase of this project involved a complex migration of the subscriber base from the old platform to the new. From a user experience perspective this meant asking admins and users to do some ugly but required work on their end. To smooth this process out we worked to create a simple flow alllowing
users to reply to an email, enter a three step porting process and transfer them to a new updated administration console where they would start to do their ongoing user management functions. The designs below capture the basic high levels of this more granular experience.