In December 2021, I started my journey with Microsoft. Joining the Microsoft Search, Assistant and Intelligence Team, I've been creating and innovating AI-infused products on Microsoft Teams, bringing 0 to 1 products to life, finding and defining values we bring to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.
Microsoft Teams Meet App
0 to 1 product design of a brand new product which is part of a paid SKU (Teams Premium) on Microsoft Teams as the destination for meetings with AI-assistive experience, for our meeting users, particularly those with >10 meetings per week.
Platform: responsive web & desktop
My role: I worked with another designer who focuses on aligning Meet App with Teams framework, while I focus on designing and shipping the MVP and iterating post-MVP
Timeframe: 6 months and continuing, MVP is in internal beta, releasing to public in August 2023
Hundreds of millions of our customers come to Teams to meet and collaborate. X of meetings happen at Teams every day/week?, Y% recorded, but these meetings aren’t all productive enough - customers got burned out in lengthy, ineffective meetings, while saved recordings taking expensive cloud space paid by Microsoft (yes, we offer it for free) without providing much value to either the customer or the business.
What if you can join less meetings because AI “joins” for you and gets you what matters the most to you - any asks for you, things you need to follow up on, or the whole team can get the time back by cutting some meetings because AI syncs the issues and blockers and you just need to act on them?
The goal of Meet App is to get to the root cause of meeting ineffectiveness, and offer a destination for meetings with AI-assisted meeting experiences.
Part 1: Making an MVP
The target audience debate & MVP scenarios
The majority Teams enterprise users have 4 meetings/week. Before deciding the target audience group for MVP, the team had a debate on who we should focus on.
Although I’ve always believed heavy meeting users with >10 meetings per week might have more advanced needs that we could help and offer our unique value, I committed to the decision our team made for MVP - we focus on users with 0-10 meetings per week, solve the problems for them, then seek opportunities to extend to many post-MVP.
Based on the initial research the team did, with a near-term MVP shipping goal, I worked with the product team, and the framework designer, and defined the following scenarios to be included in MVP for us to learn and iterate:
Teams meeting user data and Meet App MVP scenarios
The MVP experience
Once we had the scenarios defined, we explored and reviewed with the team and various stakeholders to lock down a MVP design in 3 weeks. Here are some snapshots of the MVP experience. This article will focus more on post-MVP work, but I would love to share more if you want to learn more about the MVP design.
MVP experience slides, click arrow to view more, click image to view larger
Part 2: But will you pay for it (or just switch to it)?
As we roll out the MVP experience to Microsoft internal users, our colleagues get to try Meet App. While we are seeing pretty good retention (almost 50%) and okay WAU, none of my non-Meet App peers (PMs, designers, and devs) who tried Meet App would say they’d use it. Did they love Meet App? Some said yes, but they are hesitant to switch from what they use everyday - Calendar - to Meet App. Sounds like it’s good, but not good enough for them to adopt this new tool.
Meet App is part of Teams Premium, so yes, users are supposed to pay to use it. We ran a couple of user studies for the MVP, and the results were good - participants were able to perform the tasks we asked smoothly, and said they love Meet App, especially the Recent section where they can grab files and go. Why are we receiving such polarized feedback? To find the answers and make sure we are really bring value to our customers, I started the digging.
The retention is good, WAU is okay, so what do all these users come to Meet App to do? I looked at some of the top events, and when combining with the user research results, I saw something really interesting.
I came up with two assumptions:
Meet App is doing great at providing shortcut entry points to meeting related elements such as files, meeting chats, and Recap.
With the current UX, customers come to Meet App expecting and also ending up using mostly Calendar-like features they are familiar with.
And, based on some of the other investments the team is considering, we also mapped the the opportunity areas:
User jobs and opportunities under each pillar
I then started rounds of explorations to bring Meet App's unique value to customers, based on the opportunity areas we aligned with product team to explore and experiment on.
Opportunity areas to invest in, according to discussion with product
#1 A Catch-up-centered Meet App experience (Goal: Premium value/Revenue)
The first opportunity, or direction, is to go chasing where the data and customer feedback leads us to: Catch-up. But do people catch up on their meetings at all? And how?
I did an exercise with the product team on Why Catch-Up, including current journey (existing solutions and painpoint), brainstormed solutions, and motivation for each of these reasons we catch up on a meeting. We noticed that, even for the ones with lowest motivation (the “I need inspiration” ones), we have a clear intention in mind, because we always know what we need inspiration for, just like how we would go look for video or image references on YouTube and Dribbble.
Why catch-up scenario and solution mapping with user motivation, click to view larger
Now that we know people have a clear intention when they want to revisit a meeting, we know the search experience needs to work. But we still want to suggest a few top meetings we think users might want to revisit - M365 has all the powerful people, projects and meeting relationship relevance science, and now that we have Copilot, we do want to try and iterate our suggestions. And the top insights for these meetings need to be intelligent. This new exploration also shows a smooth phased plan transitioning from the current MVP version to the vision while validating bit by bit. So yes! This is finally the direction we want to dive deeper. And to start, we want to focus on scenario 1 and 2, with higher motivation.
This time target is everyone, but mostly contributing collaborators and decision makers.
Catch-up mental model deep dive I did to understand how users catch up
The Teams Premium research on customer willingness to pay for AI
On the other hand, we happened to find a user study about our top customers willingness to pay for AI features, done by Teams Premium team. And customers liked video short, or key moments of their meetings! This again validated our assumption on we don't revisit a meeting for a whole meeting, it's certain moments we are looking for. And here's the exploration for this direction.
#2 Emphasize Start value, make Meet App a destination for all meets (Goal: AU & Teams pre-pin)
We received a business requirement from leadership to integrate Calls (a pre-pin app on Teams, along with Chat, Calendar, Teams and Activity), Events, Microsoft Places, and other meeting capabilities on Teams.
Currently Calls has its own app with a significant pre-pin place on Teams. But very few people use that. Normally, information workers like us would just call from Chat. The most valuable user jobs in Calls app is actually to make a quick call, and probably view history (and call someone back). It's centered around Start value (and nobody uses it).
Looking at our competitor Google Meet or Webex, the core user jobs are always super clear - it's to Start or Join a call.
Current Calls app on Teams
Also, currently, although we mostly call someone from Chat, but when we do multi-person call, we have to call one person from chat, and then meeting started, we click People (which is very hidden during a meeting), search for these other people we want to add, and request them to join. It's very difficult, but all our competitors have a simple entry for multi-person call, it's just so natural to have it in Meet App. So we created this new concept centered around Start value.
Start-centered exploration, you can see a demo here!
But there's more to just Calls and scheduled meetings, what if we can meet Async? This idea came out a couple of years ago (but then everyone was obsessed with it lol), and there are teams started adopting it, even competitors succeeding in this area. Microsoft is behind. And if we are ever going to to it, it's Meet App where it should lands at.
I was inspired by my peer designers who work on another project. They record their design updates (mostly exciting explorations) weekly and share to a group to get stakeholders' feedback. Most of them are already recording by starting a meeting with themselves, record it while sharing screen and showing their face, talking, and then share the link of the recording to dedicated group. See, people are already using Teams meeting to do so, the idea of making an Async experience and promoting it in Meet App so we can significantly reduce meetings excites me so much - many of us are burnt-out by heavy load of meetings we are having daily, this could be something that actually brings wellness. I added the Async to the Start-centered Meet App exploration.
Start-centered exploration, you can see a demo here!
#3 Copilot-assisted Meet App (Goal: Premium value/Revenue)
We also received a business requirement to integrate Copilot into Meet App. Meet App has a business goal to generate revenue, and in Microsoft, if we are not creating our own SKU, we have to choose which SKU we want to be added to. Of course the original decision is we are part of Teams Premium, but since that division isn't selling well, the team is considering shifting SKU, this is where the Copilot SKU came in.
Again I asked why, not to wait for product team or leadership to give me an answer, but to really think of how Copilot can bring value to customers. One of our four pillar that we have been struggling and debating for long is Prepare. Because we tried but haven't found how Prepare in Meet App can offer its unique value rather than being a duplicate of Calendar - Calendar is so good at time management that we can never beat them, and we shouldn't really compete with them anyways. What if Copilot can provide the Prepare value that's been missing?
Copilot-assisted Meet App exploration
We have aligned these opportunity areas and are bringing them to higher leadership to ask feedback. I'd love to share the end results if we get to meet and talk ; ).
Mobile Teams Copilot Innovation
Innovating on unique value as well as interaction patterns for Copilot on Teams mobile to make it useful, usable, and enjoyable, advocating designing LLM experiences more accessible to as many people as possible.
My role: I worked with another designer who focused on output pattern design only, while I focused on: 1) identifying customer segmentations and their stories based on user research done, 2) defining overall design goals and principles, 3) input prompt design
Timeframe: 3 weeks