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Windows Workflow Foundation API Usability Lab Video – Part 1

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The Windows Workflow Foundation team held a usability lab for their technology.   This was an API usability lab where the lab participant was responsible for building a workflow application and providing feedback on the APIs.   In the first part of this video, James Conard the evangelist for Windows Workflow Foundation, has a brief chat with several of the people involved in this usability study.  In part 2 of this video, you will see the participant (Michael) actually writing the code to use WF and talk about his experience.  The people you will see in this video are:


Steven Clarke – Usability Engineer

Dennis Pilarinos – Program Manager, Windows Workflow Foundation

Nancy Lincoln Perry – Usability Engineer

Moustafa Ahmed – Program Manager, Windows Workflow Foundation

Michael – lab participant


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  • Well, we already know they throw chairs... (j/k!) Tongue Out
  • Oh, come on, we know it's the World Wildlife Fund Wink
  • Would mind seeing more videos with Nancy Lincoln Perry..... Wink
  • I never said I wasn't referring to them. Smiley
  • Speaking more seriously, this is an interesting process. Are the results of these studies used in any broader way beyond the products being tested? For instance, do they influence future revisions of the API design guidlines of the .Net framework or something along those lines? Is there a company wide repository where architects and developers can gleam the data for common patterns--a more collective body of knowledge, so to speak?

  • I'm not sure about a company wide repository, but Steven Clarke (who was in the video) is a usability engineer involved with all of the WinFx components.   So he helps identify common themes and areas of inconsistency acrosss Windows Workflow Foundation, Windows Communication Foundation, and Windows Presentation Foundation.

    James Conard
  • User1301jorgen_veis​dal http://goog​le.com
  • In response to the question about whether or not we generalise the results of these studies to other APIs, the answer is yes, we do. There are a couple of ways we do this.
    1. I work with Krzysztof, Brad, Joe, Mitch and others on the WinFX review team. Whenever we're reviewing an API, I'll look for API designs that I think will exhibit the same issues that have been observed in the labs. We'll discuss during the review the extent to which the same issue may or may not manifest itself in the API we're reviewing and the API team will decide whether or not they will make changes.
    2. When we observe patterns of behavior across multiple studies we roll these up and produce a design guideline that aims to inform API designers how to avoid the same issue.



  • Cool. Thanks much for the reponses. Smiley

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