Google [MAY '16 - CURRENT]

Senior Android UX Engineer

Previously: Android UX Engineer, Design

Overview

What is a UX Engineer? See UX Engineering at Google. Similar titles are Design Technologist, Prototyper and Creative Engineer.

Public projects
Other responsibilities
  • Designing human interfaces for machine learning and probabilistic algorithms
  • Front end engineering: custom views, touch processing, complex layouts, smooth motion
  • Prototyping with: Sketch, After Effects, Android, embedded software, hardware, BLE advertising + GATT servers, wifi direct, mDNS, Bluetooth A2DP & HFP profiles, orientation sensor and heuristics, sensor hub

Rotation Locked Mode in Android P

I identified the pain point, researched prior art, prototyped solutions, formed a team, owned the interaction+visual+motion design and final production code, brought the feature to launch in Android P.

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Identified pain points, developed solutions, iterated on UX, sold the idea

  • On my own initiative, researched prior work and pain points with auto-rotate on mobile platforms, proposed initial solution, shared summary deck with Android leadership
  • Iterated on formfactor and interaction to make a feasible draft solution
  • Built a functional, livable prototype with logging, shared internally to gather interest, users and stats
  • Commissioned a study with the prototype to understand usage, iterated on results

I formed and advisory board + team, brought feature to greenlight

  • Gathered interested parties to form an informal UX advisory and sounding board including many from Android UX leadership
  • Got PM support and architecture + review support from System UI
  • Pivoted on the design and supporting prototypes to find a better fit in Android ecosystem
  • Proposed a complete solution to Android leadership which was a greenlighted design for P

Created design assets, built production code, launched in Android P

  • Worked with designers to explore iconography and motion, I designed the final icon + motion assets
  • Built, tested, and integrated final production code including complex changes to Window Manager logic and System UI
  • With PM, collaborated with several teams to launch, a few examples:
    • Sensors team to resolve power issues
    • Security and logs to turn on logging support
    • Developer advocacy to lock down developer and partner communication, example
    • Several Google apps teams to advise on rotation UX and aid with rotation bugs
    • Launcher to fill the recents button in the navbar with contextual elements
Highlights

Ergonomic, media default volume in Android P

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I identified pain points, developed early solutions, sold the need for change, iterated on the UX with the P volume working group, created robust take home prototypes, bridged complex design decisions across Audio System, Bluetooth, System UI and Chromecast, launched the changes in Android P.

Identified pain points, developed solutions, sold the need for change

  • On my own initiative researched + audited platforms and code to come up with volume and Bluetooth audio pain points, shared summary deck to gather interest
  • Reverse engineered a mechanism to proportionally mirror media volume level across all streams. Used this to build a liveable prototype, demonstrating the idea.
  • Planted the seed for the need of volume improvements by sharing the above prototype and selling the idea person-to-person. This helped elevate volume UI and audio core interactions as a focus for Android P.

Iterated on the UX, created multiple robust prototypes

  • Iterated with Android UX to design and explore visual and interaction changes.
  • Created prototypes used in a study to evaluating volume proposed models quantitatively. Architected specialized logging of volume use with complex interactions like media playback and audio device dis/connection. As a testament to improved experience and prototype quality, many participants chose to continue using the prototype at the study’s end.
  • Proposed, designed and prototyped many interactions, including the final ringer mode toggle, intro ripple and vol up + power gesture
  • Proposed, fleshed out initial eng/design details, provided guidance on multi-device interaction and Chromecast integration. Helped drive decisions on complex issues.

Android P Sandbox Google I/O ‘18 Lead

I created the final display content, designed demos + built an associated notification demo app (picture below), setup the exhibit, trained others on materials and lead the press walkthrough for the Android P System UI Sandbox at Google I/O 2018.

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Highlights

Fast Pair

Easy headphone pairing via BLE and Nearby

Apple removed the 3.5mm headphone jack in the iPhone 7, setting the precedent for Android OEMs to follow. Mobile use of headphones and speakers of all forms one day may be wireless only. Today’s pairing process, however, is painful. I explored how to make pairing better in Android and bootstrapped a project across Nearby and Android Bluetooth to bring these changes to life.

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Identified pain point, validated need, developed solutions

  • On my own initiative researched + audited Bluetooth pairing across platforms
  • Ran desktop study to observe pain points in the pairing process
  • Built a functional prototype to demonstrate a first pass at better pairing UX. Demo used an Estimote with a custom Eddystone broadcast. On Android, BLE ad detection is then used to bootstrap an A2DP Bluetooth classic connection where the pairing acceptance dialog is suppressed (by aborting an ordered system intent). Distance between devices is ensured by using low ad TX power.
  • Built a robust prototype by electrically modifying headphones to power an nRF51 BLE advertising dongle. Wrote firmware for the nRF51 that implemented the proposed technical solutions. Created and shared a demo video reel.

Iterated on the UX, created multiple robust prototypes, fleshed out spec, launched

  • Fleshed out and iterated on interactions, targeting the major problems along with the corresponding technical requirements.
  • Worked with Bluetooth and Nearby to flesh out a future-proof manufacturer specification based on future features and OEM feedback.
  • Demoed prototypes at two major internal events.
  • Owned the vision, research, interaction, visual and initial technical design proposals. Got interaction greenlight from Android UX.
  • Designed and validated BLE signal normalization techniques across devices.
  • Teamed up with Nearby team to put this in the upcoming release of Google Play Services to coincide with the Android Oreo release.
Highlights

Dismiss on capacitive, resistive, rotary headunits

Built 50+ prototypes to bring home card dismiss to Android Auto Projected, across its various input methods: capacitive touch, resistive touch and rotary. Prototypes explored interaction, visual and motion options. Ran a study and iterated with feedback to get buy-in from stakeholders in UX, PM and Eng on interaction basics. Once roadmapped, gave feedback to UX team during IxD and VisD iterations. Aided with bug fixes in final implementation.

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A few insights I developed through prototying that guided the final implementation:

  • Long press is the best available trigger to start dismiss with rotary and resistive touch
  • Don’t provide an undo mechanism, no secondary signals; too complex while driving
  • To improve dismiss discoverability on rotary and resistive, use vivid motion to enter dismiss mode and distinct aesthetics to differentiate it
  • Motion to expose dismiss mode should not translate the card, resistive users will find it moving under their finger
  • Avoid zig-zag rotary highlight pattern when possible to a better first experience, however users will figure out the pattern after a few uses
Highlights
  • Android Police report on dismissing cards in Android Auto

    There’s a new version of Android Auto rolling out and this one is definitely worth the download. Version 2.2 brings one of the most requested features to the Auto interface since it was launched: Notifications can now be swiped away from the overview screen.

tags: industry software design data-science statistics matlab UX Android web coffee-script