SMART Mobile Enablement
While at SMART Technologies, I designed the SMART ME mobile app, the first integration of mobile into the workflow of a SMART Interactive Flat Panel (IFP) with embedded intelligence.
While SMART Technologies had always focused on building and selling their products into the educational market, they had recently advanced their hardware offerings from projection-based display with remotely connected compute, to large-format, flat panel displays with embedded intelligence, and they desired to shift their focus to the enterprise market. They had developed a partnership with Microsoft and had had early success integrating new whiteboarding functionality into the Lync platform and selling the package for remote meetings.
SMART desired to make the platform more useful for local meeting attendees by adding the ability to pair devices to a SMART Board to enable those paired devices to contribute content, take control of meetings, save meetings, walk away and restart a meeting with the same content on a different board, or to share meeting content with people not present. SMART tasked my product team with quickly conceiving and developing an MVP.
I was hired by SMART as Lead Experience Designer for Enterprise Software after the development team had already attempted to make progress toward an initial solution under guidance from the product manager. On my arrival, I added a different perspective and helped to do a bit more research, establish goals and refine our requirements. I mapped user type needs and workflow across both devices (controlling board and paired personal mobile device) and drove scoping conversations. In close partnership with executive team, product manager and development team I designed all interaction for both the board and paired devices, designed the UI and visual for board and devices and did validation.
Prior to my arrival, the product and development teams had already established and committed to solutions for a number of problems, but were still not committed to any set of functionality that would satisfy needs for a minimum viable product. I proposed and conducted a few days of research in which I attended business meetings as merely a disinterested observer — from informal whiteboarding sessions, to discussion meetings, to formal presentations , etc — taking notice of common participant behavior. I classified behaviors, noted most common behaviors, discussed with product manager and development manager, and we decided on a preliminary scope recommendation, what that would require from an experience perspective, and what that would require from a technology perspective. I created a high-level workflow map while the development team did initial estimations, and we presented our recommendations and rationale to the executive team, which gave us approval to proceed.
Upon project plan approval, I fleshed out a workflow map, detailing screen flows and per-screen content and behavior needs to be addressed. This map would also serve as our checklist and was updated daily with comments, new/revised direction, and iterated screens.
This map is displayed here:
Interaction design, behavioral specification and wireframing proceeded as prioritized from the workflow map. Wireframe screens were printed and used as paper prototypes for testing, then iterated as necessary. Miscellaneous samples from the behavioral specification are shown below:
As behavioral specifications were in flight, I designed the UI/visuals of the iOS and Android versions of the application and worked closely with developers to implement. Several screens of the final visual specification are shown as follows:
Below are several final screens from the MVP release:
The MVP was delivered successfully and on time and planted a solid stake in the ground from which to iterate, expand and improve. The mobile applications and their connectivity and interaction with the board continue to be improved as an integral element of SMART’s MeetingPro software package, and still follow the fundamental models established in this first release.