In early March 2010 I started my career as a contractor at Microsoft. Two months later, I was hired full time for the B-Design Team (Microsoft Bing). One of my first projects was the BingBar 7.0. The BingBar 7.0 was unique since it made great content available in Bing through a set of snackable apps directly accessible from the browser. In addition, it was extensible with 3rd party apps such as Facebook. The design was meant to be simple and provide basic task completion. As a Designer II, I was responsible for the interaction design, visual design, and feature design of the BingBar.
Traffic and Maps
The BingBar apps were housed in drop down containers with a unique mezzaluna “half-moon” design. The design was purely for aesthetic reasons, but it added some softness to the drop downs. In this example, the user can quickly check traffic from the bar to see how it might affect their commute.
The BingBar 7.0 app used light blue as its primary color palette to complement the look and feel of Internet Explorer 8 and 9. In the Finance app, the user could quickly scan through their favorite stocks and quickly scan the trends with the contrasting green and red color accents.
We decided to incorporate Facebook since it was the most requested action for the BingBar 6.0. Instead of navigating to Facebook, the user could check their feed, write a post, view pictures, and view notifications directly from their browser’s chrome.
The mail app was similar in spirit to the Facebook app. Users wanted the ability to quickly glance at their incoming mail, so from within the app the user could click individual messages to open the web version of their email provider (Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo Mail, etc.). In addition, the user could compose a new message.
Keeping with the theme of glanceable snackable information, the weather app displayed their forecast to the user in a visually beautiful way. We sourced more than two dozen images representing all sorts of weather states from sunny to blizzard.
Before mobile phone games were the buzz, there were flash internet browser games. These casual games were provided to signed-in members of MSN and Bing. The games app was an inventory of all the games we provided with our service. The user would browse to the game they wished to play and with a single click could start playing.
News has always been an important part of Bing. As a content aggregator, Bing provides news from thousands of news providers. With the news app in BingBar 7.0 we gave users a quick way to navigate the top news from a wide range of categories.
The Bing Rewards program allowed users to perform actions and get points in return. These points then could be used to redeem goods and gift cards. The rewards app allowed the user to quickly scan their points and see which offers where available for them to complete.
The BingBar 7.0 introduced a toast notification mechanism that kept users in the know. It alerted them to all sorts of incoming events such as: traffic alerts, Facebook notifications, new emails, weather alerts, and much more.
The BingBar 7.0, like its predecessors, provided an entry point for search. The drop down from the search input box provided search previews (such as image preview) and search term autosuggest.
Design contributors: Paul Ray, Christina Koehn
To view my older projects (2005-2009) visit my old site.