Working as a UX designer at Samsung HQ my team’s primary focus was Samsung’s premium devices; the Galaxy S, Galaxy Notes, and Galaxy Tablet models. My role included managing and designing Android and Samsung mobile UX based on user research and creative ideation. Working across multiple products, I collaborated with a wide range of teams, including developers, PMs, researchers, and marketing. My team and I successfully delivered 20+ products that 1.3 billion Galaxy users use regularly.
The project in this section includes the first dual-edge screen interface, Dual-SIM system design, and Bixby: AI virtual assistant.
I participated in Galaxy premium models' user experience throughout the phone, phablets, and tablet devices. The devices that I worked on now have one-third of the mobile market share worldwide.
Due to the nature of Samsung’s worldwide product offering, my work involved tackling complicated technical restrictions and specifications and understanding how to make these elements work together in order to create simple solutions that enhanced the user experience.
Samsung Mobile releases a premium model every spring and fall on Galaxy Unpacked, and every project milestone is tied to the release date. During that time, every department's focus is on upgrading the design, enhancing software and hardware, and finding a new strategy for marketings. As a UX designer, I've gone through the process above to manage user experience and add value to each product. Below is an overview of the work I've done throughout this process.
The development, research, PMs, marketing, and the UX team grouped and discussed what we could do until the next model. After that, I started to research qualitative data such as user behavior, design trends, and interview as well as quantitative data to understand the inherent problem and explore users' needs.
My role involved making concepts and prioritizing solutions based on research. I presented design recommendations to all stakeholders with insights on how they could impact and add value to users and enhance the overall experience. After reaching consensus, I facilitated several workshops and brainstorm sessions to ideate based on research findings and competitive analysis.
I focused on designing actual flows and detail. In this phase, I had to consider both Android Material Design and Samsung's design system so that the UX Galaxy devices would retain their unique style while maximizing usability.
About one to two months before releasing a device, we went through the verification session. The verification team’s role was to challenge developers and designers about bugs, inconsistencies, usability errors, accessibilities, legal issues, and localization. In this period, the UX designers had to focus on not only design but also the technological specifications. I closely worked with engineers to draw solutions.
I documented every design change and solution for managing records and UX continuity. After going through this process, we released the model to the market through Galaxy Unpacked. We measured success by data, media reviews, numbers, and then embarked on the next project!
The Edge devices were launched for the first time in the world by Samsung Mobile, has a curved edge based on flexible display and innovative hardware. For the product, the Edge UX also needed to be equally innovative and creative. Various departments such as UX team, Marketing team, Engineering team, and PM gathered to discuss innovative features. I designed and managed the edge interaction called People edge which connects top 5 contacts more closely to users. Also, I came up with an idea based on emotional communication, namely, OnCircle.
Since it was the first mass producing flexible display device, we had to work closely with a marketing team and had to come up with a creative UX that utilize the edge screen. We found out that more than 90% of communication comes from the closest five people. We decided to define curved panels as both quick contacts and notification panel to quickly communicate with your closest ones.
The product was selected as a Best 100 of Good Design Award 2015
Multi-SIM is a feature mostly used in China, South East Asia, Europe, and South America that allows users to insert two or more SIM cards in a mobile phone. The primary use case is if a career in a nation only supports limited area data coverage, the user uses two sim cards from different careers and switch based on the coverage. For example, if they live in Germany covered by Orange and need to go to work to Swiss covered by Vodafone, they insert two sim cards from both careers, and switch depends on where they are.
I defined how the device works in terms of a data network, Wifi, and payment management for users to manage their payment plan by switching SIM cards and preventing an additional network connection. I mostly participated in every feature that multi-SIM effects such as Quick panel, Messages, Settings, Contacts, Phone, Call, etc. To do this, I closely worked with all the designers in charge and the development team to define the principle.
Although the concept is simple it is essential to understand users who use multi-SIMs and developmental restrictions. In other words, a designer needs to understand what type of users use multi-SIM phones, why they use it, and what apps they use on their phone, as part of the needs and use of the actual users in a comprehensive way. To do this, I communicated with local Samsung Electronics research centers and branches to better understand the local users.
I designed the system, defined the behavior, approved, and enhanced the experience of Multi-SIM cards mobile phones that were not established in the past, and every Samsung multi-sim device could have a consistent system. And therefore, the structure became a global UX that referred to other companies' Multi-SIM phones, including Android, Huawei, etc.
Bixby is a virtual assistant developed from 2016 to 2017 and applied to Galaxy S8. At that time, Samsung tried to renew a virtual assistant system to enhance the performance of voice recognition and personalized experience by AI. The messages team is selected as one of the three apps (Calendar, Gallery, Messages) to pilot launch for the demonstration. The team had to build this AI virtual assistant from scratch. I collaborated with AI team, developers, and pear designers to develop initial instructions to enable users to operate every function by voice in the messaging app, built over 40,000 utterances and workflows.
AI team and I gathered to discuss about how we can define the principle so that designers can create instruction with voice UI system.
1. Natural spoken utterance
The assistant should understand when a user is natural or ambiguous in their spoken utterance. It led us to design one standard instruction and varies into 4 to 5 different variations in each of every function.
2. Error recovery
We see many cases that when making an error, an assistant will answer, “Sorry, I cannot do that.” But many of the cases, they can still cover the mistakes by analyzing previous behavior or asking questions to complete tasks.
3. Feature prioritization
One of the pain points users feels when using voice is time inefficiency. And it takes even more time when the assistant ask back what they really meant. I compared the usage data and listed down all the functions, and prioritize features to run by instruction.
AI team and I gathered I listed all the features of the messaging application and started to map instructions in an excel chart. I listed down all the screens and functions on the screen, established the basic utterance, and I started to work on combinations. It was 40,000 only for messages to complete tasks.
After creating instruction, I began to work on a flow chart to see how the assistant work. The touchpoint of users might seems simple and clean. But the hardest part for designers to create flow is the combination of different functions and apps. For example, when a user utters “Hey Bixby, send dad photos from Tokyo and say I love you.”, I had to define all the side cases, including errors and questions.
After launch, Bixby gained positive feedbacks from multiple media and the public. The system is integrated not only to mobile devices but smart home appliances such as Smart TV, Robot vacuum, refrigerator, etc. to control by voice by phone or Samsung hub.