Poetry & Polemics in Creating Experience

Session Title

Poetry & Polemics in Creating Experience


Mike Kruzeniski, Microsoft

Session Type: Presentation

The handoff from Design to Engineering is often the point where designers begin to step away from a project to focus their attention on the next. It is at this point however, that the subjective qualities of a design will naturally start to take a back seat to the very real, very hard engineering problems ahead. Without guidance, the purely practical aspects of engineering a new product can become over-prioritized, while the aesthetic are easily downplayed. Over time, a seamless experience risks becoming diluted or splintered, and a product may slowly lose the details and qualities that made it special. Truly, the engineering of a product is not just the phase whereby a design is built, it is a fork that will determine whether a design will even have the chance to be meaningful and successful. To be sure that a design maintains its integrity, the engineering phase needs to be treated as a Design project of its own.

It was this realization that led to the creation of a model our team calls “Body, Heart, & Soul” – an emotionally charged framework that has helped us and our Engineering teams decide what to build, and perhaps more importantly, what not to. It is a model that qualifies, validates, and prioritizes the intangible qualities of our design work right alongside the more practical concerns of our Engineering partners. Not only has the model given our teams a common ground to focus our work, it has given our Engineers the words to connect with our design emotionally and evangelize it.

This session is about the experiences of a small design team making emotion matter inside a big engineering company, taking a new product from concept to market, and how it managed to get its lead software developer to talk about a product’s “soul”.


Mike Kruzeniski is a UX Creative Director for the Entertainment Experience Group at Microsoft, in Seattle. Before joining Microsoft, Mike was a Designer on Nokia Design’s Insight & Innovation team in Los Angeles, where he worked on projects such as the Nokia 2010 View of the Future, and the concept design for the Nokia 8800 Arte. He has a Master’s of Interaction Design from the Umea Institute of Design in Sweden, and a Bachelor of Industrial Design from the Emily Carr Institute of Design in Vancouver, BC.