This project was started as a concept exercise to create a strategy on how Nokia’s accessories should be presented in Windows Phone system and what would be the role of these accessories in Windows Phone software system.
As a lead designer for the project I came up with a framework approach that tried to make the devices blend seamlessly with the system. Upon initial connection users would be lead to a short welcoming screen that then would allow them to further personalize their accessories – but only if needed. For the normal people the beauty lied in the way how the devices simply were to work without any configurations.
The project has since developed onwards, but the groundwork still remains in much what is shipping today.
As with many other projects, this one started with life cycle thinking that derived heavily from the work down with Lumia Highlights. As such, I’ll skip parts of the process itself and instead give glimpses on what other aspects we as a design team considered.
It dawned to us pretty quickly that one overlooked aspect was how to find accessories that work well with users’ phone. Given that many accessories were really good on their own, it was a shame that people couldn’t find them. For that, we took a look at what it might mean to have a social accessory store that was not only available on users’ phone but which had web-presence as well.
One thing the design eventually came to aim at was to make devices as invisible in actual usage as possible. With the risk of sounding cliché, we saw that people should not care about their accessories and concentrate instead of just simply using them. Thus, the role of the software application would be to introduce users to the possibilities of their new accessory, feel good about their purchase and, if necessary, adapt them to their liking – but just once.
As the chose approach was to make device configuration invisible in use, we added the management features as part of the system settings. Since it seemed to make sense to treat all accessories equal and provide a holistic approach to their use, the resulting application model was relatively simple.
Some touch points still remained, just as the first time use experience which we aimed to put special attention to. The emotional reasons for this were to give users’ a good feeling of their new gear but also to make sure they could be certain that it would work properly with the device. While there was some marketing involved in the decision too, it was also clear that depending on the particular accessory it would have been perplexing to deny users all feedback after setting the device up.
For the users that would wish to customize their accessory, we then offered possibilities to do so. Given the nice industrial design many of those had, we wanted to celebrate that by providing the configuration options in visual form, highlighting the usage at the same time. A selected, named button (or other control) was highlighted to show exactly how user could interact with the device.
Further, since Windows Phone offers a possibility to create dynamic short cuts, we also figured it to be practical to provide informational Live Tiles for users to better follow matters such as battery status of their accessory.
As mentioned before, we spend a good number of hours trying to figure out what would be the best way to provide the out of the box experience to our customers. Multiple concept videos of varying fidelity were made to study how the animations would work and how those would work together with the operating system.
Eventually we ended up with a rather conservative approach, partly due to technical constraints but also to play nice with Windows Phone’s rather minimalistic approach to UI design. That ruled out some of the more outlandish ideas.
As with many other projects, this one has now moved on to other designers in other teams. My changing role lead me to lead a team of designers who now work on projects such as Storyteller, Creative Studio, Selfie and others – all these being under the area of Photography apps.