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Windows Live Mail: Photomail

Improved user experience for sharing photos. Delight customers in ways that go beyond what they can do today.


Customers were facing the following pain points in mail messaging when sharing photos:
— File size attachment limit.

— Hard to organize and download photos from multiple emails.
— No visual cue on what attached photo(s) look likes.
— Time consuming. Limited engagement.


I was the user interface designer working on the photo sharing experiences that lived within Windows Live Mail and Hotmail for Wave 4 release in 2009 - 2010. I created a design experience that allowed customers to quickly and easily share life memories through text, photos, and/or videos without the worry of file attachment sizes.

Created the ui in Windows Mail that enables customers to share photos in a variety of layouts. The photos are stored online and play in a slideshow. These photomail albums appeared in the Windows Live Services of: Mail, LiveWriter, Hotmail, and Windows Live Home, Profile, and Spaces.

Target Audience:
Broad customer segment. Design must appeal to the sender and the recipient of the mail message. 


I thought through the emotional and mental model a customer has when sharing memories with their family and friends. I evaluated the competitor landscape and evaluated the current user experience. I mapped out task flows, wireframes, and low fidelity mockups. I partnered with pm/dev on an interactive prototype for Windows Live Mail's photosharing experiences through three usability tests. I reviewed the ux designs and collaborated with Windows Live Mail designer, design lead, business owners, content writer, and developer stakeholders to refine the user experience. Through the usability sessions my user researcher conducted, I was able to validate the customer's desire to have different photo layouts, add captions, and re-order photos. It also showed customers did not like having their photos deleted after 30 days.

I did early explorations and visualizations of photo album templates and worked with the visual designer on the final styles that would be shared across Windows Live Mail and Windows Live Writer. The final deliverables can be seen on the Live Writer Project. I designed the command toolbar for formatting the photo album to be quick and easy for the customer to identify and customize the album style they want.

Worked with two product managers, one program manager, usability researcher, content writer, and design manager. Collaborated with two visual designers and product designer on visuals and iconography. Updated designs based on feedback from customers and business stakeholder and technical reviews. Worked with development team in bi-weekly meetings and standups. 

Final deliverables included final mockups, design spec, redlines, and visual assets used. Reviewed builds and logged and helped triage bugs for final polish.  



— 30% increase in photo sharing via photomail instead of file attachments. This saved company file cloud storage costs.
— Deepened customer engagement for using Windows Live services and feedback from customers and reviews was favorable.
— Design used platform ribbon control which improved user experience consistency and maintenance costs.

View video of Windows Mail (Photomail)

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