Windows Live Messenger v.9

Windows Live Messenger v9 was realeased in 2008 and was considered as a major facelift of the product. I was one of the four designers at Desktop Communication Services and have participated in the redesign project. My key involvement was to help improving the user experience in contact list management and have hlped introducing social networking elements to Messenger.

Managing contacts information was a daunting task. our design goal was to empower users to communicate with the one they care about and allow them to access their information easily.

Design Area:
• Favorites Contacts
• Contact list management
• What's new feed integration
• Messenger Groups

Design Goals

Identifying design goals and measure of success in the early phase of the design process is always a good idea.

Brainstorming sessions for new ideas was conducted with designers and proposals were presented to the Messenger team for discussion. Design reviews were also conducted with immediate team members to identify the pain points of the current version of Messenger.


Some design painpoints identified:
• Visual clustering
• Contact list management need to be improved
• Multiple search UI on the same screen is confusing
• Tab design need to be re-investigated to ensure it aligns with our goals

Favorites Contact

Everyone has a few favorite contacts. Wouldn't it be nice to have those contacts be easily assessible at your Messenger window? From our previous research studies, we found users are using their own work around methods to manage contacts to become more visible in the Messenger window. In order to help users locating the contacts in the contact list more effeciently, we have designed the Favorite contacts group which would always stay on top of your Messenger contact list, and users could customize preference settings for this group.

Messenger Group

Group was one of the new features to Messenger v.9. It allows user to have conversation with a group of people they keep close contacts with. Users can look up shared discussion and conversation records with the group, so that they won’t miss any important conversations.

Working together with the Social Networking team, an online community website (Group Spaces) is provided for the group to share photos, documents and other information.

Groups Conversation

are particularly useful for group discussion or planning for an event. End-to-end scenarios including how to create a group, inviting members to the group, and sharing information on the web were all considered. Discussion and analysis was conducted to help understand the behavioral differences among users for different types of groups.

What's New

Connecting with friends is one of the reasons why users get on Messenger. We believe the marriage between the news feed and Messenger would be a great idea.

I have worked on the design exploration on how newsfeed could be integrated with Messenger window. Users can now get their freinds' latest updates delivered to them through Messenger.


Search UI clean up

Users find previous version of Messenger visual clustering and the interface was overwhelming. In previous version of the Messenger client, we found multiple search box in the Messenger window, including contact list wordwheeling, searching on web as well as the occasional search UI on the banner ad.

I have proposed new design to the search experience. We now have consolidated the search features in one search box UI.

Contact List Menu improvements

A new option menu is designed to provide means for users to change contact list view easily. In the previous version of Messenger, we have received feedback from users that they were having a hardtime to show bigger picture tiles; they had requested a better interface to allow them to manage their contact list view more easily. visual tile menu was designed to allow users to choose their desired view easily.