A Design Team with Soul – Laura Kern

Sometimes it really feels good to be where you are. Like now. I wouldn’t trade the positive press and love letters from customers that Bing design has been getting for much of anything. (“Microsoft is out innovating Google, especially in design…”) I don’t say that to sound like a marketing sound bite, but because I need to savor it… it’s been such a l-o-n-g time coming. It’s been just as hard to convince our internal critics that there is a viable v-next user experience as it has the externals, which is good, it’s kept us buttoned-up. But we’ve turned the corner now.

The recent praise is somewhat funny because we’ve come from a really, really humble place –  in fact we are still in a pretty humble place– scrambling and scrappy to get our work out. Sometimes it feels like we’re doing gymnastics just to make it happen. This is such a fast-paced, innovative environment and the market pressures are incredible. But it’s the tangible chance to make a difference that really keeps us going. We’re willing to be ultra-creative in our design work and our business process.

Despite the pressures, we’ve built a design team with good soul and we’ve really found the beat to the music. We’re going to where there is true delight, letting our character out and developing our voice and it’s a really rewarding exercise. We’ve brought design thinking to the table, diversified our team, and spent the past three years developing a culture that can support it. Frankly, it’s been transformative.

We have so far to go; search is so young; access to information is so important; our job is far from done. When I look at what we have out on the live site compared to the ideas and projects we still have in house, I wish we could move even faster. We are going to help customers with key tasks and solve some of the dogged frustrations with current web search. What for design? Data visualization, harnessing modern browser capabilities, and deep design esthetics… I can’t wait!