Samsung Design

Overview

I led the design of Samsung's 'Team 13' Mixed Reality (VR + AR) product design from January 2014, when VR was still early research without many products on the market yet. I worked to discover, design and iterate on Mixed Reality products by partnering with engineers and designers to uncover customer insights and translate prototypes into products. I created frameworks to drive decision-making, defined the product scope and priorities, and collaborated across Samsung to translate opportunities into possible hardware and software products. I designed using various VR headsets, input devices, game engines, and platforms, while also engineering new interactions. I presented works to executives and stakeholders to gain buy-in throughout the project lifecycle. My startup experience at Dekko also provided relevant mixed reality design challenges. Overall, I played a key leadership role in the early stages of Samsung's mixed reality efforts.

Challenge

The challenge was to quickly design a breakthrough MR communication product for Samsung.

The goal was to establish an emotional connection and a sense of "presence" stronger than any previous communication medium. Our vision was that communication would be the killer app for mobile and the next big platform.

My role was to empower the team to explore this within a short 12-month timeframe, encompassing the entire connected ecosystem from devices to the cloud, customer journeys, and personas. Our objective was to design a MR/VR communication product that Samsung could launch quickly, with the belief that this technology would grow faster than anything before it.

My contribution

Product strategy Product design Rapid prototyping

The team

1 脳 product manager 1 x product designer 1 脳 industrial designer 2 脳 engineers

Year

2014 - 2015

Approach

We had 6 months to convince Samsung and customers of the right AR/VR use case, and another 6 months to launch an MVP product. Our assumption was that mixed reality would enable emotional connections through communication, not replace it.

I led a lean UX process with a diverse team to rapidly build and test bite-sized MVPs:

  1. Brainstorm and rethink assumptions
  2. Focus on details when implementing
  3. Document learnings
  4. Synthesize learnings into prototypes
  5. Prioritize ideas best suited for MR

We narrowed from many ideas down to one market vertical - "Life Sharing" - and 4 potential use cases to prototype and user test:

  1. Indoor navigation - scrapped due to tech limitations
  2. Draw on objects - scrapped due to user feedback
  3. Share a virtual object - put on hold for better hardware
  4. Social VR - most compelling use case to focus on

The key was moving quickly through prototypes to gain insights, even if they were rough. This approach allowed us to rapidly test and refine to find the most promising use case in our limited timeframe.

Achievements

We released an updated version of the per diem feature that handled both markets requirements. And has the flexibility to accommodate future market rules and regulations.

Next project