Posted on May 4, 2010

Role: UX Designer // Company: Microsoft// Software: Photoshop

While at Microsoft I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to create the new look and feel for the main MSN portal which is viewed by over 400 Million people each month. This was the most significant redesign of in over a decade.

A selection of the designers on the UX team were asked to create proposals  and I was delighted when the design I put forward was selected as the main direction for the redesign and UX updates.

The brief for the redesign included:

  • Creating a clear visual hierarchy
  • Exploring navigation options
  • Consider Page Load Time
  • Integrating Social Media
  • Making the design feel more current, fresh
  • Getting content above the fold

This was achieved by:

  • Using tabbed modules to maximize screen real estate and allow for more content above the fold
  • Using tabbed modules also allowed content to be grouped by type making it easier to navigate and enabling the introduction of new sections like social media and local onto the main homepage where space is at a premium
  • Increasing the guttering, margins and white space to give the design a clean, modern feel
  • White space was also used to give the content space to breathe and make it easier to digest, browse and reduce the sense of ‘clutter’
  • Removing the heavy ‘corporate’ blue colours and replacing them with light, subtle colour and  glow highlights to give a more friendly feel. Strong primary colours were used as a navigation aid
  • The amount of link text was reduced by using action words in consistent placement and a new light, ‘friendly’ link text colour.
  • A variety of image shapes and sizes e.g. horizontal vs. vertical helped to give visual interest and create visual hierarchy to the page

Detail of tabbed modules


Roll over in selected menu  category revels Channel teasers


Special feature page with the use of horizontal images in the Blowout to allow for more content  above the fold with minimum impact on the page real estate