DESIGN AGENT - SKY ORTIZ
ROLE - DESIGN LEAD FOR IOS
I was asked to take over as Design Lead for Hangouts on iOS last January. I joined a team of talented yet discouraged individuals given the ratings for the app had fallen from 4 to 3 stars after it's recent release to a somewhat frustrated user base. The decline in ratings was mostly due to unfortunate crashing issues caused by a recent iOS update and some newly introduced confusing interaction patterns.
I decided that my highest priority as the new Design Lead would be to rally the engineering team by involving them straight away as equal partners in the creative thinking contributing to the vision of achieving product excellence in the next version of Hangouts.
My design process started by performing a complete design audit on the current version of Hangouts in order to identify and provide guidance on confusing user pain points. After presenting the audit findings to leadership, I set about creating documents with our project managers that clearly communicated strategic product planning for our next release to the entire Hangouts team.
All of Google branded apps were moving to Material design standards, even on iOS. With this in mind I chose to work closely with the Material team in order to overhaul the entire application interface, while paying careful attention to adhere to iOS platform specific learned behaviors where possible.
Implementing a thorough design process was key in the production of valuable project assets such as detailed visual specs, easy to follow user flows, and working prototypes for complex interactions.
This was definitely my most challenging project yet. The payoff of forming strong team relationships around a focused design goal came to fruition in the delivery of a far superior version of the product. The launch of Hangouts 4.0 has been the highest rated version of the app to date, maintaining an app store rating of 4.5 stars. I can't say enough about how proud and fortunate it has been to work with such passionate human beings on this achievement.