Bing Dictionary

Windows® desktop client

The Bing Dictionary desktop client is one major product of Bing Dictionary known as the new “dictionary” vertical search of Bing in China. It’s a collaboration between Bing, MSN, and Microsoft Research. My role in this project is the key designer and hybrid program manager.

Software development methodology

The development of the Bing Dictionary desktop client lasts almost one year.Having compared the suitability of different development methods, our team decided to adapt a modified version of the waterfall development model.

Product Definition

The Product Definition Stage provides vision and scheme for the whole project through needed preliminary study. I played a key role in background research, user observations and competitive analysis.

Meet our users:

Ethnographic Research

The ethnographic research is focused on observations of users in their own environments rather than in a usability lab. I dropped by and interviewed 19 participants.

Key Findings
Active English Learning vs. Passive English Learning

Lifetime endeavor ( learning English as an interest) /a short time endeavor
Task-oriented ( just want to finish a task) & people who never use English afterward
Why it matters?
56% people continue to learn English for different purposes. It could be the first cut of user segmentation

User Segmentation

Study our competitors:

Benchmark Competitive Analysis

This study is a user research report that focuses on the current desktop translation software. User experience structures the study and conducts it to ascertain what users in the target market find practical and easy to use about the product.

Competitive Overview

User Study

We had 5 participants to use Kingsoft PowerWord.
Traditional user research lab study, which typically times users on completing tasks, counts how many errors they make, and measures how much help they need and their levels of satisfaction.
Key Findings:
1. People liked the idea of using tabs to group information. It was convenient to see the clear categories.
2. People were confused by multiple options to choose.
3. People liked the summary and common definitions in popup window.

Our Opportunities


The Requirements Stage clearly defines the requirements and features for the product, and provides for ready traceability of each feature.


In this stage detailed features and development specifications are produced, providing guidance for the product implementation phase.


Designing My Own Dictionary

The purpose of this brainstorming session is to find out new possibilities for designing translating tools. We try to re-define the problem as broadly as we could, and let users design for themselves. We invited attendees of diverse background, even several who had no idea about what a typical translating tool should look like.

To consider broadly all kinds of language problems we face in desktop experience, we provide five directions to start thinking: “Listen, Speak, Read, Write & Translate”. 8 attendees were divided into two groups. Both groups were asked to generate as many ideas as possible in 10mins.

In this session, we asked all attendees to think about solution ideas that can possibly solve one or more of the problems we listed in session one. Each idea was written down or sketched on a sticky note, and then sticked to the white board around the specific problem solved.

The purpose of this session was to find out individual interpretation of “Cool”, and explore one step further why people think so. The assumption was that things people consider cool, no matter if it is a physical object or computer software, can possibly share certain characteristics.

Implementation & Verification

Realize our ideas:

Implementation Stage

The Implementation Stage involves coding, BVT and performance testing. We created several killer features that ensured our success in the market.

Killer Feature 1
Auto-complete with one-line definitions

The 'Autocomplete' feature in Bing Dictionary helps you by suggesting terms as you type with previews of the definitions.

Killer Feature 2:
Personalized themes

Personalization involves using technology to accommodate differences between individuals. It’s a great and valuable feature that can make users feel cool and different about the product.

Killer Feature 3:
Mini mode

Instead of the big and heavy main window, the client allows a minimum bar-styled editing window. It can float on the desktop without being obtrusive.

Killer Feature 4:
Intent Detection for Language Assistance

Today, language assistance clients such as desktop bilingual dictionaries and translation applications, often offer features that operate throughout the entire desktop experience. For example, as one reads a document, the words under the user’s mouse could be translated or defined by such clients, which could provide a useful language assistance experience. However, often such augmentation distracts and / or frustrates the user from their work if the assistance is unwarranted. The problem this invention addresses is how to effectively provide intent-based language assistance to users while they read or write at any time during their desktop experience. So when users want language assistance they get it, and when they do not want it, it vanishes, as intuitively as possible.

All about bugs:

Verification Stage

He Verification phase ensures that code meets the requirements established in the previous phases. This is done through code review, testing, bug triage and bug bashes.

Bug bash

We held a bug bash that lasted for a week. We released our client internally in Microsoft Research and collected feedback and bug reports from initial users.


The exciting moment:

Release to Market!

After a year’s development, our client was finally shipped on May 19th, 2011. From May 19th to June 8th, MSN China hosted a series of media workshops in Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu and Guangzhou, to introduce Bing Dictionary Client. Lots of local mass, IT and Online portals showed high interest in our product features.

Coverage Results

As of June 23th, a total of 462 clippings have been collected with 108 originals and 354 reshipments, including 25 print clippings. Clippings cover from IT media to lifestyle media, and they are 100% positive/neutral in tone.

Traffic Log