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Nokia Design

Senior Design Technology Manager, Meego Devices, Nokia
Project Overview
I was recruited to join Nokia Design in 2008. I managed a team of design technologists in the Nokia London Design studio, working on a variety of projects including Symbian Devices UI, S40, and the celebrated N9 device.

I was tasked by the VP of Design to lead the transition of Nokia Design to a prototyping culture, using functional prototypes to demonstrate all facets of our device designs rather than simple static comps.

My Contributions
My teams, distributed in London, Helsinki, Berlin, Vancouver, SF and Boston, worked on multiple device releases across a variety of mobile platforms. Our work was used to demonstrate device UIs for customers worldwide.

We helped create the original vision for the N9, a device with no physical buttons for navigation. We also worked on multiple Symbian and S40 devices across a variety of form factors. Additionally, we created early-stage hardware prototypes of tablet and wearable devices. We also created hardware and software tools that made it easier to share prototypes with distributed teams around the world.

Senior UX Manager
The Nokia N9 was a beautiful device. Only given limited release worldwide due to Nokia's agreement with Microsoft, the N9 made a distinct splash. It received great reviews (here, here and here, among others) and earned a perfect 10 score for its design from The Verge, prompting the reviewer to call it "as natural as anything the smartphone world has yet introduced".

Featuring a then-revolutionary industrial design with beautifully beveled edges, bright colors, an OLED screen, and no buttons for navigation, it was calling out for an interaction model that was a took maximum advantage of the hardware design and allowed it to shine. We designed a home UI that featured 3 main panels - feeds, apps and recents - which were easily accessible via a bevel swipe. The visual language of the design echoed the bright colors and curves of the hardware, using subtle lighting effects to create a feeling of depth and dimension without being skeumorphic. Motion throughout was subtle and organic.

I managed and led a team of 5 creative technologists and one producer developing UX prototypes of a wide variety of features across the entire core UI. Development was done in QML (now called QT Quick), a cross-platform UI markup language built on top of Qt.

My team's role was to bring the design vision to life in working code which could then be used as reference by engineering, as testing material for user research, and by design as well as to refine interactions and motion. Our prototypes helped solidify and refine the swipe gesture, which was core to the UI, as well as the behaviors on home and the recents grid, the shortcuts menu and many other aspects of the core UI. Our code was reviewed regularly by the CEO and used as a sales tool around the world.
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Sample pics of the N9
Senior UX Manager
The Nokia N8 and E7 devices were built using an update to the Symbian OS which was branded "Anna". The Anna release brought many visual updates to the Symbian platform including changes to icons and interactions. The Symbian OS was a pioneering open-source smartphone platform which ran on a wide variety of phones worldwide. It has since been eclipsed in importance by iOS and Android. To modern eyes the UI looks very heavy and clunky, but for many years Symbian was state-of-the-art.

Symbian supported numerous form factors including both hardware and software keyboards.

My team was responsible for prototyping many of the new interactions and motion, as well as creating prototypes for user research studies. We used Flash, HTML5/CSS3/JS, and QML to quickly mock up and iterate on designs that were usable on-device.
Various views from Fire PhoneVarious views from Fire PhoneVarious views from Fire PhoneVarious views from Fire PhoneVarious views from Fire PhoneVarious views from Fire Phone
Views of various Symbian devices.