Microsoft MSN News

Brand Identity, Digital Design, Graphic Design, User Experience

Black Monday was brought in to build and grow a global creative team based in London, Japan and the United States for a complete redesign and rethinking of Microsoft's MSN News Channel — taking a disparate group of global online news sites and unifying them under a single brand and a cohesive design and content strategy that also offered the flexibility needed for the dozens of cultures and languages involved (43 markets world-wide!). And to add to this complexity we needed to ensure the experience would aid growth in revenue.

This included extensive user research, prototyping, wire framing and documentation for both the creative and development teams as well as tools for a global sales force to use. Much of this was done collaboratively through Agile Scrum and through getting executive buy in for our innovative approach.

One of the most challenging aspects of this project was collaborating with cross-group teams at Microsoft and their partners to create a new experience that ultimately became a showcase for the Windows 8 operating system across desktop, tablet and mobile. During this time, Black Monday became closely involved in Microsoft's Metro Design Philosophy to and was able to both influence this and incorporate it into a news product that people wanted and loved to use, as well as meet the business needs for enticing and bringing customers back to Microsoft Windows in an ever-growing competitive market place.

To solve the problem of growing revenue there was a distinct focus on understanding readers wants and needs through a global user research program. This enabled us to approach the business with a new direction — focused on the right design and content that would enable growth in the user base whilst increasing their time interacting with Microsoft's online entities. The result of this was more value added per user to the advertisers and in turn a growth in revenue. And you know what — it worked as we predicted!

Our solutions for Microsoft's MSN News was proven a massive success and received rave reviews from the industry and users alike and it has since informed the design and user experience for many of Microsoft's online consumer experiences.