Research and service concepts overview. Tactful Calling & Family Wheel iOS apps
Position : Service Design Lead – UX Manager
Platforms : iOS & Android
Responsibilities : Business and Design Strategy, Branding, Creative Lead (App Production Management – iOS)

Leading creative design and managing a small team of UX, visual designers, and app developers, my job was to help Design Research Lab at University of Arts, Berlin and Deutsche Telekom Innovation Laboratories narrow 40 service concepts produced during a year and 1/2 long ethnographic research study on how women use mobile phones and take them to market-ready products for Deutsche Telekom Corp (the national telco in Germany).  After narrowing these ideas down to just six, we then built out the two top service concepts on iOS and Android. The first was Tactful Calling. The main design principal of this idea was to allow users to specify an urgency with an intended call and respond appropriately to the visual cue. Non urgent calls could then be delayed, without interrupting the receiver. While a small detail, we shifted an age old metaphor of a phone call – from a real-time interaction to an asynchronous one. This slight change had great impact, as the service was planned to be further unpacked in 2013 and embedded at the middleware level of all phone calls – when DT was switching it’s phone call technology to a fully digital VOIP infrastructure.   Now urgency flags and scheduling could be visualized on the live calling interface and interacted with before picking up the call, thus allowing the recipient to handle phone call interruptions gracefully.  The second concept was the Family Wheel. With the press of one button a child could begin a calling wheel which would automatically dial until one participant on a list of preferred callers would answer. The app also included a central group call center where families could leave private voice or text messages for all parties. These applications were the first design ideas in over eight years to be brought across the Telekom Laboratory R & D threshold and into market.  I collaborated with the product lead at DT to lead the strategic integration from research to market; as well as managed the UX and creative production for the two apps on iOS.

The ethnography and research stemmed from an initiative to build better family and communication services by studying gender differences in communication practices and technological preferences between men and woman.  The overall project was called Gender Inspired Technology.  Looking closer at how women use mobile phones and noting some of the unique characteristics, the researchers brainstormed over 100 different service concepts.  After narrowing that to just 40, we were brought in to help consolidate and vet them for market viability.   Collaborating with DT product managers on how these ideas could integrate into planned product portfolios, we built out the two which had very timely and strategic appeal for a mass consumer market.  Testing the primary ideas against men, they generally found if women liked it – men did also.  A very short overview of some of this work was given by the lead researcher Geisha Joost, at Ted Global in 2010.