Art direction meets AI in a growing library of beautiful, expressive content within Microsoft 365

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A conceptual depiction of AI searching for the perfect font for your PowerPoint slide.

Mark Rothko used color to paint abysses deep enough to lose yourself in. Prince used his voice to conjure images of raspberry berets and oceans of violets in bloom. Break dancers and ballerinas use the body in motion to express everything from love to fury.

We instinctively engage with color, sound, and motion from the time we’re born. These universal forms of expression take us places the written word sometimes can’t go, viscerally animating ideas and providing context.

But people often associate these communicative tools more with the arts than with corporate spaces, which is perhaps why we haven’t traditionally seen these elements in digital productivity ecosystems. …


Co-designing emergency response solutions with COVID-19 frontline workers

Paper fluttering in the evening wind; healthcare workers dawning masks; designers prototyping a new healthcare app.
Paper fluttering in the evening wind; healthcare workers dawning masks; designers prototyping a new healthcare app.

Crises have a way of crystallizing which systems and processes work. While some immediately break down, others emerge as steadfast solutions. In the wake of COVID-19, it’s clear that human-centered design (HCD) isn’t just a buzzword — it’s a process with tenets meaningful enough to create lifesaving solutions.

For the past month, a multidisciplinary task force at Microsoft has partnered with frontline workers in healthcare and government to co-design emergency response solutions. While empathy is always key in human-centered design, the severity of the crisis, palpable duress of the response teams, and rapidly ticking clock meant empathy was no longer step one of a five-step HCD process — it became the process. …

About

Rachel Romano

Microsoft Design storyteller & strategist. HarperCollins author with pieces in The NYT and The Atlantic. Current mom to plants & a fur child. Views are my own.

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