Microsoft Application Archetypes – developing guidelines around types of application. Microsoft is working on expanding their user experience guidelines for the next generation of Windows “Longhorn” with a concept called application archetypes.
The one-size-fits-all approach to the Windows user experience is becoming less useful. We're planning a new approach that recognizes a set of different models for “Longhorn” applications. We're calling these models archetypes, meaning “something that serves as the model or pattern for other things of the same type.”
Interesting to see the different archetypes they've defined: Document editors, Database apps, Production/development environments, E-commerce, Information/reference, Entertainment apps, Viewer apps, and Utility applications. The most interesting part – the lines between the desktop and the web really seem to blur with some of these, and IAs and others with a web focus will need to embrace and extend to stay relevant.
As well as general guidelines, the team is working on a book of “user experience recipes” for different archetypes – taking design patterns and showing how they integrate together for a particular purpose. The recipes are heavily based on scenarios following a particular user through several tasks (I wonder if they have personas for each application archetype?) You can see the sample recipe for Database apps.
(on an interesting sidenote, check out the graph at the bottom of the article showing how people rated it. One for Widgetopia…) [ia/ blogs]