Visual Design + User Experience

Samsung's Next Generation Smartphone


Samsung had approached SCAD to sponsor a collaboration with the intention to research the future of the smartphone. With 2019 slated to be the year of smartphones with foldable display technology and the recent release of it's own - Galaxy Fold, Samsung reached out to SCAD to come up with unique ideas that could be incorporated into their foldable device and make use of the breakthrough technology to it's complete potential.


I was part of a team of 16 students that had researched and developed mock concepts that recontextualizes the idea of communication as we know. My role in this project was of a Visual Designer primarily prototying the finalized concepts and tying in the overall aesthetic of the solution. I have a special focus on the primary research that is being conducted and eventually making an attempt to visualize the huge amount of data that we have received.

  • ClientSamsung
  • Duration10 Weeks
  • RolesUser Experience Research, User Experience Design, Front-End Development
  • ToolsSketch, Principle, Illustrator, After Effects, Figma
Vision Vignettes
Challenge

What does the future look like?

Samsung set a project brief that had asked us to gauge the expectations that users will have with the new foldable display technology present in the Galaxy Fold. We were asked to explore the pain points and figure out how a user could take advantage of the unique form factor while communicating in their daily lives.


The scope also entailed redesigning the native communication apps present in the Samsung UI such as Phone, Messages etc. We had the liberty of using other apps in order to address these new use cases while still focussing on the core essence of communication.

Research

Learning about tomorrow

Our research goal was to understand how people use and interact with the given communication tools that are present in front of them. Since this was for the new Galaxy Fold smartphone with it's unique folding mechanism, we utilized multiple techniques to investigate this interaction. From conducting conventional interviews to A/B Testing, we even sought to gain inspiration even from the physical world.


One of the unique tests that was formulated and conducted by my team-mate Chris and I, involved participants following a sequence of activities grounded in studying their natural interaction with objects.

Affinitization Session
700
Data Points
137
Participants
77
Themes
35
Insights
The Folding Test

This was one from amongst the 6 research methods that we employed as part of our primary research. It involved a series of activities that were based around the simple objective of folding various objects. The intention of which was to record the interaction of the participants with the material world that has an innate nature to open and close. Each session lasted about 20 minutes followed by a documentation of their experience and a follow up interview.

The Folding Test
Data Entry + Visualization

One of the asks from our stakeholders was a complete digital archive of the research that had taken place, which was assigned to me apart from my regular duties. I spent about 24 hours digitizing all the data and the hierarchy that was generated post the huge affinitization session. Apart from archiving, I also managed to create a quick visual for the sake of the presentation using all the data points, themes and insights.

Rainbow Spreadsheet

Post our primary research and synthesis, we used a rainbow spreadsheet in order to have all key observations (top-level and second-level), related to user needs, behaviors, aspirations, and struggles in one place. For each observation, a cell of the user is colored. It gave us a visual synthesis of which applications have similarities and which do not.

Personas + User Journeys

Based on all of the input that re recieved throughout our primary research, we developed three personas to represent our user group. We began by gathering around 700 data points from the interviews and research. These data points were narrowed down, and clarified to better form the structure the three personas.


These personas help define the audience which we are attempting to design for, the Millennial. Each person, Quinn, Danny, and Lindsey all have various attributes, goals, struggles, and personalities associated with them. Using these personas as a basis, we were able to better identify common struggles and pain points faced Millennials’ face in their digital communication habits. By discovering our persona’s true struggles, we are able to create a much more impactful and useful solution.

Solution

One app to replace them all

Samsung Uni (You and I) is a communication experience that combines your native audio/video calls, text messages and contacts, all into one streamlined app. We incorporated humanistic micro interactions from real life observations, to bring more emotion to the smartphone. You are no longer being bombarded by fragmented information from multiple apps, but instead it is a cohesive experience that organizes, curates and delivers what is most important to you.


One of the primary features is when you open Samsung Uni, you are welcomed with a Communication Feed, a space where the people you are closest with and the conversations that are most important to you are highlighted first. The Feed is populated with your most important conversations and brings them to life by giving you instant access to smart content created through AI technology.

Message Drawer

The conversation has a “drawer” at the bottom of the user’s screen which compiles all relevant information from the above conversation and provides recommendations based on what the topic is. If two users are planning a dinner at a specific time and want to stop at a couple of places beforehand, messages would take that information and seamlessly organize it in the user’s drawer. When the user swipes up from the bottom of the screen, they open the drawer and are prompted with a curated visualization of what their night is going to look like.


HMW use native apps to mimic the fluidity of the real world communication?

Message Drawer in Action

Workflow

Workflow is an intelligent assisted way to sort and organize your messages. Based on context from your calendar application, as well as machine learning over time, paired with preferences set by the user, the sub-feature Workmode is able to only disturb you with messages that are most pertinent to your workday. Users can receive unobtrusive notifications on the small screen of their device, and unfold to view richer content inside.


HMW help users to focus while multitasking?

Predictive Multitasking

Your phone recognizes what you’re currently doing on your phone, and when you open it to the larger screen, multiple apps will open based on your current needs. For instance, when making dinner plans, when you unfold your phone, you may be prompted to open the website for the restaurant, and your calendar.


HMW create a notification system that helps the user stay focused?

WorkFlow + Predictive Multitasking in Action

My Process

Facilitating a Visual Experience

My role within this collaboration was of a Visual Designer. I along with others in the team were accountable for tying in the overall aesthetic of the app. Once we narrowed down the features that were going to be part of the final solution, we began to ideate how such a solution could take place. We created our own custom branding guidelines that was based off Samsung's new One UI.


We used a lot of different sources for inspiration just to get a gist as to the direction we wanted to go with. Being a Samsung product, we wanted to make sure to look into the history of the UI elements and aesthetic that was followed—note down what we liked about it and what we disliked. Gaining inspiration from the real, material world was something that we wanted to inculcate within the app.

Information Architecture

We created both a current and a future diagram of how the user navigates through the interface. We knew that it was important to clearly understand how communication apps work on Samsung devices today, so we mapped out a system architecture for Samsung One UI. This helped our team to visualize where our solution could have greatest impact. Our future system architecture showcased all of our finalized solutions in one holistic diagram.

Forming the Narrative

This was perhaps the most crucial part of the project. Quite often we get tied up within the solutionist mindset and forget what the true meaning behind our work. It was necessary to figure out what our core intentions were and the direction we wanted to take our solution towards. Post completing the various research methods and analyzing the data, I led a storytelling workshop to decipher the current state of communication and how we wanted to impact it with our product.

Taking cue from the Sigmund Freud’s analogy of the iceberg, we organized our understanding of the communication behavior of today’s generation into a form that is easier to understand. Freud deemed the human psyche (soul, personality) as a tripartite structure. They were three parts that played off each other in varying manners resulting in how the person would interact with the world. Like an iceberg, only some part of the psyche was visible in the real world or the conscious mind whereas most of it was within not visible or within the unconscious mind.

  • Connection (Id)There is an innate sense of connection that exists within all mindsets. This need to be able to connect with anyone in this digital world is instinctive and at this point, a basic human requirement.
  • Convenience (Ego)This part always tries to reason out with the instinctive connection. Convenience is what dictates how we connect with anyone. Looking at it from a pragmatical perspective, we look towards channels of communication that fit within our lives so as to foster that connection with other people.
  • Emotion (Superego)The governing constituent that influences the behavior throughout. The way we feel and emote points us into a direction of fostering a connection. This influences the our present cognition and our innate instincts into doing things that are morally good.