Lions, Tigers and Bears - oh my! Microsoft is evolving the exam UI!

Lions, Tigers and Bears - oh my! Microsoft is evolving the exam UI!

Briana Roberts (Microsoft)

We have a great opportunity for you to learn how we are updating our exam user interface (UI) for a more modern look and feel! We are working hard to create an exam experience that provides the best design for its purpose: to certify people on Microsoft technologies!

We are taking the time to invest in UI changes because, in the long run, it will help us tell a better visual story and make the exam experience better for you! Our resident expert in all things UI, Samantha Lindsey-Ahmed, abides by the idea that "good design is obvious, great design is transparent."

We hope that the changes we make essentially lead to a design that is less noticeable, so you - the candidate - can really focus on the content!

There are three main goals we hope to achieve as we evolve our exam UI. Did you think I was just going to list them!? Smile For that you have to check out the video!

Comments
  • maria_rutgers.computacenter.com
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    What's with the queen and magician outfits? I'm an adult not 15 years old anymore.

  • EdBaker
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    Sorry but I have to agree- the superhero costumes dont work for me, i am all for humour but this is a little childish and silly , even for me!

  • KevinM
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    So I'm just going to throw this out there...I've taken dozens of exams over the past 10 years, and I never had any issues with the old exam interface.  And it wasn't because I feel "threatened" or or "scared" by change.  It's because the previous exam format was very simple and universally understood.  As "Super Sigma" pointed out, the exam UI was revamped last year to incorporate the Windows 8 "Modern" design language, and it was a disaster.  Tying the exam UI to the design language used in the OS UI is a terrible idea, not least because the OS UI has been so poorly received, but also because the OS UI is prone to change with every OS release.  With the new "rapid release" cycle, you're going to be stuck revamping the exam UI with every OS release, potentially every year.  That's a TON of "change for change's sake", which you admit that you always want to avoid.

    Here's a question that I've had for awhile about Microsoft Learning:  is your focus on learning, or certification?  Because it seems like the overwhelming majority of your effort these days is in regards to certification and certification exams.  I see less and less focus on actual learning.  As an example, you still have exams that have been in the market for nearly a year and a half for which there is almost no learning material.  While you may find bits and pieces on MVA, MVA is mostly useful for someone trying to pick up a 100- or maybe a 200-level knowledge of the technology.  It is nowhere near as in-depth as the books and other learning materials that Microsoft used to produce.

  • KevinM
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    I hit submit too soon.

    Anyway, the point that I wanted to make is that MSLearning should be spending more time working on actual learning-related activities and resources, and less time focusing on getting more people to take/enjoy certification exams.

  • Jason Krause.
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    My only concern is that these design changes will not look any better on the 15 inch screens that test centers have not upgraded in 10 years. I like to be able to read the question and answers in a single screen, so scroll bars are not my friend.

  • Briana Roberts (Microsoft)
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    @ maria_rutgers and @EdBaker - thank you for your feedback! I am sorry that the costumes are posing a distraction. Nonetheless the content of the video, and the content in the rest of this video series is informational and provides insight into changes in the certification process. If you have suggestions for future episodes, please let us know. Thanks!

  • Briana Roberts (Microsoft)
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    @Jason Krause - I understand your concern, absolutely! We are doing our best within the real estate that we have. We have received lots of feedback about scrolling. I believe the new design really addresses a lot of customer concerns we've heard, so I think the new design will absolutely offer an improvement. Thanks for assuring us that the concerns we've heard are true concerns vs an outlier frustration.

  • oynx.hotmail.com
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    New technologys from the exam provider? I question that. Having managed a test centre for the last 6 years i have first hand experience of how the candidate experience works. Buggy. We have seen how the provider deals with new UI's and delivery methods, anyone remember the farce that was the 2008 server live test environment. Kept dropping the secure connection after each question.

    Please concentrate on the quality of the test material and get rid of the outfits as i find them inappropriate and distracts from the message you are trying to deliver. This looks like a childrens televison show from the 80's.

  • Davin Mickelson
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    Geez - I thought it was fun. A bunch of stuffed shirts commenting here. Mild harmless geek fun while giving important information.

    I am really excited to hear that the exams will open up for 16x9 monitors and at larger resolutions. I am wearing out the scroll bars. As well, one of my favorite testing centers has large 16x9 monitors but the screen resolution is cranked down so low the words are giant and I still have to scroll. Such a waste.

  • Briana Roberts (Microsoft)
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    @Davin Mickelson - thanks for your feedback and thanks for watching! Happy to see a smiling face; we just like to have a little fun. Please let me know if there are any future topics you'd like us to cover. Thanks!

  • Briana Roberts (Microsoft)
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    @onyx.hotmail.com - Our focus is always first and foremost quality exams. The content of the video is informative and all our videos provide updates about changes to the certification program. Hopefully you will listen for those messages. Thanks!

  • Davin Mickelson
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    BTW - I was extremely excited to hear that test takers will eventually be able to copy/paste content from the exam question/answer into the feedback form. That is so huge!

    It is going to save me a lot of typing from memorization at the end of the exam for minor typos, etc.

    I probably won't offer feedback until I answer all the questions (gotta get through first!) but so long as I can still mark a few of the questions for feedback at the end, it's all good for this exam veteran.

  • wsantosf
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    Require 24 inch monitors, mice with scroll wheel, reduce scrolling.  Extra bonus if longer multiple-choice answers can be shown side-by-side for comparison. In the real world we'd sometimes print code to look at, being limited to a monitor needs to take that into account. And I still think certifications will not be taken seriously until we get back the total number of people who achieve each cert by country.