* The employee number should be on the front, because this is often needed for identifying people who security cant stop (for whatever reason), but are doing bad things.
* Printing on the back is expensive, the badge printers that do this cost often twice as much. Printing color is even more expensive, your talking increasing the cost of the badge by about a third. This also leads to other problems like heavy head wear because of the smart card contact, having to define avoidance areas because of the same and jamming issues with the added complexity of using the card flipper.
* Employment classification (Employee, Intern, Vendor Name, Partner, etc) should be printed in text on the front.
* Smaller companies would be encouraged to avoid printing the company logo or name on the badge, as this tells people where it will work.
* Same with the address, and the cost of replacement and expedience means returning the badge is useless. This wasn't true when Motorola Flexpass badges were first rolled out at MS, but its true now.
* Badge photos need to be standardized for various security reasons.
* Your current badge does already emphasize your first name, its not as prominent on yours as it was on mine, but it changes from time to time as they much with the access control software.
Where I'm coming from: I am a security engineer, I previously worked on physical security management and had started out in the industry at Microsoft. I work on systems that print hard cards for a paying hobby.
PS, I was fired from MS for posting an image of myself online where my badge was clear enough to copy. Might be something to check on.
- Why does the circle make it harder to see at a glance? This doesn't seem to be true at all.
- If you can't stop someone, you're not going to be able to read the number on the badge. I don't see any reason why your employee number should be on the front. It definitely doesn't enhance security at all. People faking badges can fake numbers too.
- I'm not sure about your points re: cost or smaller employers, I mean, sure, but I can't imagine that cost would be a huge barrier - more likely changing out equipment would be.
- Badget photo backgrounds probably need to be plain, but as long as it's a photo you can be reasonably recognised from, I'm not sure what it matters. Simply by growing a beard you can become pretty hard to recognise from your badge photo from 5 years ago.
- I agree that the employment classification is probably good to have on the badge, but only because of annoying BigCo obsession about it. In practice, I'm not sure why it would matter much. When I worked at a big company it was just a political tool to remind consultants they were inferior.
I think I see what he is saying. It takes my eyes a moment or three longer to "digest" the person I am looking at in the concept examples, and to my non-artistic not-a-photographer mind, it looks like an issue of framing.
(Don't get me wrong, it does look nicer when round.)
Ever heard of cameras?
I won't ask you to go into any detail that you don't feel comfortable with, but is there more to this? Special circumstances? The above, out-of-context, sounds very... draconian. I'm really just curious.
The actual reasons were likely that I didn't ignore problems the company had previously ignored and a falling out with a freshly ex-roommate who went and harassed my company's management until something happened (I was a vendor). I had gotten a TRO on this guy and my company ignored it and ignored the advice of Microsoft management.
In the end everyone agreed to forget the matter and move on. I have since not had issues with working at Microsoft.
On the employee number - if security needs it, they can flip the badge around. I needed it once in six years, when I needed to type it into some internal tool.
On the employee status, that is done with badge color. Blue badges are FTE only.
One of the interesting things is that I work for a company that for the most part is still small enough to not need badges for people to recognize other employees. We have largely resisted issuing badges with photos because of questions on how to do it while increasing security rather than decreasing it.
You already have blue vs. green badges, so you have to print color either way.
In most configurations I've seen, the badge is designed so you wear it on a lanyard around your neck (approximately no one actually does this) so it has to be printed front and back anyway since it might get turned around. I'm surprised if printing front and back is a prohibitive expense for Microsoft, land of the free sodas and offices with doors that close. It's not a prohibitive expense for more frugal companies.
> Employment classification (Employee, Intern, Vendor Name, Partner, etc) should be printed in text on the front
Everyone who sees badges already knows the color codes, and no one else needs to know.
There are lanyards and attachments that sorta work this issue out, but in the end it comes down to training employees to keep their badges facing out. This somewhat works for Boeing.
Edit: note - this is the retail MSFT stores, not the on campus stores in Redmond or Silicon Valley.
Given I can go to the Stanford Mall and get a discount, then walk a hundred+ yards and not get a discount on a comparable Surface is a bit uneven.
Any company that uses something like rewardgateway.com will get discounts at a similar set of places.
I don't see what you lose by printing both sides.
In Boeing case, its because you are not allowed in many places without a badge somewhere above the waist that is visible. Higher security employers elicit higher security practices from their employees.
Why is that? Curiously enough, I know some MS employees and many of them carry their badge in their wallet. In the years I've known them they haven't mentioned anything about problems with security.
That retains the ability to uniquely identify people without stopping them (assuming it's not faked) whilst not leaking their employee number.
* the current badges aren't broken (AFAIK); is it really a priority to fix them?
Yeah i seriously doubt that
You should be able to find email address in the corporate directory services, it's not like people are going to memorize them from looking at a badge. We already have business cards or mobile devices w/ NFC if it's necessary to transfer the email address in a persistent form.
Plus having names instead of email serves the more-important purpose of allowing people to more easily socially interact in meetings, social gatherings, etc.
Since it would almost be impossible to completely anonymize the purpose of the badge (especially with the request to return to Microsoft) using the current visual branding certainly beats using the 1988 visual branding.
I can't speak to "Former Metro" branding but it certainly looks pleasing enough.
Probably not with NFC itself--it'd be somewhat physically awkward to tap a card on a lanyard around your neck against someone's phone.
But since a conference is exactly the sort of situation in which you want to leak contact information promiscuously, putting RFID chips in the cards would work well. Or just putting QR codes on them.
(Doing it with QR codes would actually serve a great double-purpose, if you got the app for it right: you'd say "hold still for a contact photo!" and then get a record of their face and their contact information, associated together.)
RFID chips depend on the sensor sending the power for the reply. Low-power sensors require closer contact; high-power sensors can operate from a distance.
For example the name. All his designs use short names because they look beautiful. But in real life names can be much longer.
And ofcourse the pictures. It's nice to have round pictures but it is almost impossible to get nice round pictures from every employee.
So when you are designing (and this doesn't only apply to graphic design): test your design using a lot of different content:
Will it still work with longer names?
Will it still work with middle names?
Will it still work with bad / rectangle pictures?
Maybe you could use face detection to get the right crop center but even then there will be a lot of errors and waisted cards.
Most people have a valid ID picture so it's easiest to use that one.
- I don't follow the circle photo fad. It seems like an unnecessary complication (implementation and design element)
- By moving information to the back, you're assuming that the facilities which create these badges have the ability to do double-sided prints on the badges, and if they have the technical ability that it won't increase the time or work required to print a badge.
- You're assuming that the badge printer can print completely to the edge.
- Removing the "Employee" text and relying on the blue color is an accessibility problem (color-blind people need this information)
- Customizing your badge photo adds security policy complications.
Not necessarily. I done some badge printing for a very large organisation about 8 years ago. Our office alone had >2,000 people. I bought both single-sided and duplex card printers. The ones with the duplexing units were only marginally more expensive than the single-sided ones. They all used the same dye-sub ribbon (if it has a duplexer - "flipper" - it doesn't need a special ribbon, it prints one side, flips, then prints the other).
Granted, double sided printing meant each card used twice the ribbon. The dye-sub ribbon was laid out in 5 consecutive panels - C, M, Y, K and UV coat (with an optional sixth foil/fluorescent/hologram panel).
Ultimately, we had our card supplier (a very large smartcard/USIM supplier) pre-print our card backgrounds before cutting the cards and personalising (writing the card certificate) so our remote branch offices could use very cheap printers to print only a low-res photo and text content.
Our printers were <£1k each. They had integrated magstripe encoders and smartcard+contactless interfaces.
It depends on the colors badges can be, apart from blue. If they can be yellow or green... that might be a problem because of tritanopia and tritanomaly. But I only know of blue and orange badges. So true... those orange badges might appear red to someone with tritanopia... but he's not going to mistake a blue badge with an orange-red one.
You are still right for the fully achromats out there. But a shading level difference between the orange and the blue badge could be enough. Otherwise, a simple indicative letter is enough (E for employees, I for interns and C for contractors would be more than enough).
Again... if there are more than two colors for those badges (green, yellow, red?) the problem of relying on color to convey information could be more problematic.
If you're catering to the extremely rare achromats, there's a heap of accessibility options you should be considering first, including braille for blind people.
In the general population, blind people may outnumber achromats, but in the tech worker population, I'd say that relationship is inverse.
An achromat can usually manage to be productive in an office setting, often without alerting others to their condition.
Blind people have it much much harder and thus are less represented at a large tech firm like Microsoft.
amazon badges have your alias in Comic Sans, just to troll you.
Qualcomm badges have a large T for contractors, N for non-US citizens, for example. Both are on colored backgrounds so you can tell by color or letter.
Since these photos serve a purpose (identifying the bearer, not making the bearer feel good about the photo) they probably need to be standardised and use something like passport photo criteria. (Although perhaps gently relaxing those standards).
There's no accessibility or diversity information either. It'd be nice to at last think about the needs of visually impaired users, for example.
But the cards are nice! Nicer than the original example.
and what diversity info would you need to show?
What happens to people who wear face coverings for religious reasons?
I'm not asking designers to solve all these problems, just to show that they've at least considered them.
Also, there's a reason why badges photos are taken from the same angle. It makes it easier to identify you from your photo. It's harder to recognize someone from an odd angle. Same goes for photographing on a white backdrop. Your personal photos have all this distracting scenery to impede identification.
This is not design. Design makes things work better. This is just decoration.
Seriously, though, the first thing I thought when I clicked the link was, "Oh, Apple's badge flipped, with iOS 7's circular image mask."
For some reason, I have a hard time remembering names (but never forget faces), so I often glance at badges to try and remind myself what the person's name is. It's always a bummer when the badge is flipped around and I can't tell who it is.
* The 8-bar company logo
* The country of issue
On the back is a magstripe (not really used any more) and central return address in case it is found.
It has an RFID for door access and to store cash for vending-machines and the restaurant.
No employee number anywhere. I have to remember that (along with the passwords for seventy-six different systems.)
Contractors have a yellow background for the name.
ID cards have to be on display at all times, so many wear them on a lanyard or clipped to a belt loop.
Employee number isn't sensitive information.
And most card suppliers doing 5k+ cards will offer card pre-printing services, allowing you to have sheets of [blue, green, whatever color] cards printed and die-cut, leaving you to simply print the photo and text.
* Dual-sided, so it's never facing the wrong way out. (No dual-sided printer required, they are glued onto the underlying RFID card.)
* RFID, so there is no sensitive information on the badge.
* The face takes up most of the badge, so it's easy to check if it looks reasonable when someone is following you through the door.
* The face is 3D, which is just plain cool.
* The first name is larger than the last name, making it a little easier to glance over at someone's badge when you've forgotten their name. (This happens to me with frightening regularity.)
Probably time for a redesign...
Depending on how much it ends up changing, old employees might not be forced to get a new badge. In that case, it'll eventually be a funny way to differentiate employees from before/after the "Reorg/Satya Epoch" haha.
Also, I'd have made the last name much smaller.
Take this as constructive criticism, this is the kind of thing that you can waste a lot of time on without scoring any points with your users/customer/management.
And an RFID is just another thing to carry, same as a card (ID cards often have RFIDs in them anyway)
Badges are still not antiquated, they convey other information once you are in the door.
Seems pointless. Microsoft have updated their logo four times in the past four years. People update their favourite photo once every couple of months. It also require that corporate directory services allow updating of photos significantly more often, just so people can have a photo of themselves they like. Finally you've ignored practicalities of printing logos. Sounds like a typical design with no understanding of the limitations involved or requirements.
Most of the offence here seems to be because you didn't like the photo (because it's passport / security style instead of Faceboook / Instagram esque?) and the 8 bit colour printing. Both of these are intrinsic to the requirements caused by printing badges.
By the way, the logo was valid in 2012, not just 1998 - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft#Logo
- First and last names are not as important as one's email address
- The logo is a security risk; should a badge go missing, it's a clue as to where to (mis)use the badge.
Why do you care that your badge picture is ugly? Seriously? Do you also expect to take a picture of you kayaking at the lake to the DMV?
Cattle wear numbers on their ears. Prisoners too, in some prison systems (but not all). How can people accept to wear a number on them, I don't know. Even a name; what's a name? I resent being defined by my birth name. I have many names, pseudonyms, handles, etc.
I'm not an employee so I never get a badge with my picture on it; when I go to clients' sites they usually give me a "guest" badge that I promptly put in my coat's pocket, only to give it back at the end of the day.
It's never happened that I needed it for anything anyway (and that includes Microsoft (France)).
Letting random people wander your building, including competitors.
Funneling everyone through some centralized reception area, so most doors become exit-only.
Being small enough so that everyone knows everyone, and everyone knows "the new guy" immediately.
Access control may be a necessity (although in most companies here in France if you can tell a good story to the receptionist she'll let you in without even checking for an id; and if you show an id that's been obsolete for over 15 years, such as mine, and which would be, for this reason, trivial to fake, she'll also let you in with a big smile and a joke about how different you look from your picture).
But wearing a badge? Voluntarily? At all times? In nuclear reactors, perhaps (I've never been there); but in most other businesses, I find this ridiculous and insulting.
Smartphone NFC is also orders of magnitude more complex and fragile compared to traditional RFID tokens for opening doors. Saying that NFC would "suffice" is nonsensical given that blank RFID-enabled badges run approximately $3 when you're buying in bulk.
NFC requires that everyone who uses the system (incl. cleaning staff, contractors, etc) has a compatible smartphone. It is braindead stupid to assume that all of the people who need to open doors in your building:
1) own smartphones which are
2) not iPhones
3) always charged
4) not experiencing a glitch
5) never left on a desk or in a bag
Keyfobs are a common alternative to badges and similarly cheap. Because they are extremely simple single-purposes devices, they are, like badges, many times more reliable than smartphones as access tokens.
However, most large corporations are going to use badges because 1) no need for separate name tags, 2) quick and easy visual indication of who belongs and who doesn't, and 3) you're not as likely to take it off and leave it somewhere where it could get stolen or you might not have it when needed compared to keys or a phone.
There's no reason you can't use both. I've also never worked anywhere that didn't have RFID tokens to open the doors, they can't be very expensive and they are reusable.
I've challenged plenty of people trying to tailgate (either on me, or someone ahead of me). I was not shy about calling people on the fact they weren't displaying a badge; we had leaks where I was working, and it wasn't much fun.
Most people took it well. Of the ones who didn't, all but one were non-employees trying to sneak in.
Cost. Now everyone who needs badge access _also_ must have a smart phone.
I guess you could make it a condition of employment, then you'll probably pay each employee a stipend to have a phone and that's probably more expensive per employee than a badge.
And you'll run into guys like me who really don't _want_ to carry a phone 24x7 and get surly when we're told 'it's a condition of employment'.
In a medical setting they are very important. They convey the person's title (RN, LPN, DR, Janitor) and name. That way the janitor doesn't try to pass themselves off as a doctor and offer you medical treatment. Same as why patients wear their name on their wrist, in case charts get mixed up the medical staff checks the patient's name before giving medical treatment, the patient can't be trusted to verify their name. They could be drugged, senile, or otherwise confused or just not listening. I've learned from food service people will say "yes" to just about any question without actually listening to you. "Did you order the such and such?" "yes" brings them the such and such "this isn't what I ordered."
That doesn't seem right.
Other than that nice job. I don't think it will be implemented.
Oh, and NFC tag for auto check-in, computer log in, cafeteria, snacks, etc.
Microsoft is known for hiring young gullible people and indoctrinating them with the idea that MS is a good company rather than the reason the software industry was held back for decades, using illegal tactics. If it could have killed open source it would have.
Edit: Also, the employee number shouldn't be on there for the same reason.