One of James' Far West Publishing Systems projects was analyzing and documenting a Taiwanese Raster Image Processor that was to form the core of Microsoft's TrueImage initiative. He used his Information Refinery utilities to programmatically diagram data structures and pointers onto large printouts posted in the Taipei offices, which could be reprinted weekly with changes shown in red. The state of the overall coding process was shown, and insights such as the 13 levels of indirection made apparent.

Deliverables included code analysis to Microsoft management, and porting guides to printer manufacturers.

Microsoft Windows Printing System

Not satisfied with performance of Postscript-like technologies, Microsoft assembled a team to completely revamp Windows printing, with an emphasis on customer ease and printing speed.

The Windows Printing System was initially distributed as an upgrade to popular Hewlett-Packard laser printers. Code was loaded into the printer via a font ROM port.

James had responsibility for managing all documentation, including functional and technical specifications, and online and printer user materials.





He was also the lead UI designer and an advocate of rapid iterative usability testing.

One of the results of the testing can be seen in the use of small representational graphics to supplement command names. This was new for a Microsoft products.

The printing team successfully promulgated the IEEE 1284 standard supporting bi-directional printer communications. The UI capitalized on this by graphically showing the state of the printer on the PC, for which a patent was granted.



This screenshot shows James' belief in providing users directions on what to do when there is a problem, rather than simply describing what was wrong (or worse, displaying a cryptic error code).