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14 Mar, 2010

Microsoft Local Impact Map: Surface Edition

Stimulant followed up the excellent reception of the Microsoft Local Impact Map Silverlight with a special  edition for Microsoft Surface. Drawing on our previous experience with many Surface projects, we saw incredible value in presenting this application in a new medium.

We knew that the Local Impact Map would be used to facilitate conversations about corporate social responsibility between Microsoft and representatives of governments and NGOs. How could we make the map even more collaborative, emotionally engaging, and aid in forming strong conversations around corporate citizenship?

The challenge called out for a fresh approach: build a version of the Local Impact Map for Microsoft Surface. In this way, Microsoft representatives can kick off interactions with their government and NGO contacts, letting them learn how to use the application simply by watching, and then let them explore the map as the conversation continues. All the while, the participants are literally able to look each other in the eye, and neither is in exclusive control of the device, the software, or the content. This makes for an emotionally equitable experience for all concerned. This human emotional connection and transparent communication style is exactly what Microsoft wanted to convey.

The Local Impact Map: Surface Edition shares the same hand-made look and feel as the online application, and is fed by the exact same data sources. We completely refactored the interface to make the Local Impact Map appropriate for Surface, and this laid the groundwork for further innovation.

We chose the metaphor of a lens as the cornerstone of our multi-user interface strategy. Onscreen lenses allow for viewing in greater detail. Each lens can even display different styles of data visualization from other lenses, rather than repainting the entire screen with a data visualization that only one user might be interested in. This also allows local content to be freely oriented towards any user. Global filters allow users to hone in on the citizenship topics that matter most to their constituents and communities. Rich support for photography and videos also helps put faces on those helped by Microsoft’s charitable efforts worldwide.

The Microsoft Local Impact Map: Surface Edition is rolled out on Surface units in Microsoft facilities all over the globe.

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