I had the pleasure of meeting with David Alexander from the Sway team, to talk about how Microsoft came up with the wizardry and magic that Sway uses to make our presentations look so good. Sway is an online service that helps you to create, curate and express your ideas in exciting and interactive ways. Sways are easy to make, offering a range of different ways and behaviours to present your content. Intelligent design guidance is applied as you build your Sway –  understanding your intentions for your content. It’s easier for me to tell you to go and experience it for yourself and see what you make of it. To begin with, you create Sway’s using a free Microsoft account. The account also helps you bring in media and content from other sources.I certainly had fun with it at the Microsoft Ignite conference, “Live Swaying” my Ignite experience.

The people behind Sway are a dynamic team, and as responsive as the product they work on. They listen to what we want though various channels such as sway.uservoice.com and the Sway group in the Office 365 Network.
But there is a certain way that they listen. If I ask for a feature request, the Sway team are looking for the intent of what I want the feature to do. Sway doesn’t just give me a tool that requires me to know all about pixel sizes, how best to crop an image or requires me to think ahead about the different devices or screen sizes my content will be viewed on. The features the Sway team create focus on the intent of what I want to do with content.
In this interview, David talks about a good example of this when the Sway team was asked to provide cropping handles for pictures. He talks through a line of questioning that finally gets to the intent – focusing on people or objects in a photo. So now we have Focus Points.

Another use for Sway that David introduces is to share an annual report. Content embedded in the Sway points to live documents, graphics and reports. Changes are displayed in the Sway whenever these documents and sources are updated. In this way, a Sway can be used as a dynamic dashboard for reports. Rather than creating a Sway for each month of reporting, the Sway can display the current state each time it is loaded. Always the up to date state of the business.

In this interview with David, hear more about:

  • Creating features for Sway with design intention in mind.
  • Later in May 2015, you will be able to log into Sway with your Office 365 account to share content from your intranet or keep your Sways private within your organisation or school.
  • How a Sway becomes discoverable and a tip to get it indexed by search engines, in the context of a blog post or web page.

Follow David Alexander @msftdavid and @sway for more developments – Many thanks for your time David.


Learn even more about Sway in these sessions from the Microsoft Ignite conference.



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