No 1 About Project

In mid-2017, Google Play design leadership team decided to overhaul the visual of the product suite. However, they knew that making a case to product and engineering leadership for resourcing such a project would be challenging.  So, they needed a vision – something striking that could be socialized to show just how important it was to update the Google Play design to something completely new and fresh.

The Google Play store won lots of design awards when it first launched, but a few years later it was in need of a refresh.

Additionally, the overhaul provided unique challenges of collaboration between products: Google Play itself is the umbrella for various media: from apps and games to digital content products like books, music and movies which all have their own unique flavor and identity. All of our designers wanted to be a part of the redesign, but how would we make a cohesive, clear vision with so many people involved? Thus, I decided to put together a custom Design Sprint perfect for the job.

No 2 The Process

I structured the week to get kicked off with inspiration to fuel our team of 20 creatives before diving into mood boarding and design development. We brought in motion designers, product designers, illustrators, copywriters, and researchers to all work collaboratively together. The week looked something like this:

Monday – INSPIRATION

We took an optional field trip to the San Francisco MOMA for design inspiration. Especially when working with creatives, it’s important to break people out of the patterns of day-to-day work and look for inspiration somewhere unexpected.

Tuesday – HOT TOPICS

We discussed and clustered what we want in the refresh to come up with patterns and themes. I then led a 4-corners discussion activity to get a pulse check, and facilitated discussion going on key questions (ie: “Our brand tone today reflects our visual design). We mapped out key questions and opportunity statements (ie: How might we make the visual design more playful?).

Wednesday – MOOD BOARDING

The team grabbed scissors and magazines and spent time mood boarding to start thinking about visuals. Magazines made this an accessible activity for program managers, copywriters, and others who aren’t as graphic-design skilled.

Thursday – DESIGN TIME

In small groups, designers worked together to create a pitch deck of their design vision for the product. Heads-down design time is critical to let creative folks do what they do best and to get in the zone to produce their best work.

Friday – SHARE OUT

We all gathered back together to see what each team had come up with. Teams presented to the design leadership in order to decide on final concepts to take forward with a small ‘tiger-team’ of designers.

No 3 Roles

  • Event Organizer
  • Event Manager
  • Program Designer
  • Facilitator

No 4 Testimony

“Claire is an excellent leader, communicator, and facilitator. We worked together closely on the Play Movies & TV UX team where she led program management on key strategic initiatives. Besides leading UX program management, she was the go-to expert everyone consulted on the 60+ Google Play UX team for developing and facilitating design sprints. The design sprints she led on Google Play resulted in a number of new revenue-generating product opportunities that gained support of engineers and product managers.”

— Ashley Reese, UX Researcher

No 5 Results

During my time as a UX program manager, I ran a variety of Design Sprints for Google Play, and facilitated workshops on everything from product strategy, feature roadmapping, new product development, and visual design, and this was one of my favorites! This project was just kicking off when I started this sprint, I was happy to see the redesign happened after I left the team:

https://android-developers.googleblog.com/2019/08/the-google-play-stores-visual-refresh.html

https://www.androidauthority.com/google-play-redesign-1021271/

https://thetool.io/2019/google-play-store-redesign-2019

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