One of the most challenging and fun projects of 2014 was to strategically map out and design the interface for the amazing dual screen YotaPhone 2.
Yota’s first dual-screened device in 2013 was arguably one of the biggest innovations to mobile handset design since the touchscreen but it was hampered by poor UX and UI. Feedback was unanimous in that it failed to deliver on its tantalising promise.
Yota Phone comes with two displays - a full colour and a black and white E-ink display, which was made fully-touch enabled in contrast to the first generation that utilised haptic sensors.
There were three known problem areas that we were drafted to help fix:
1.The usage rationale for the e-ink display had not been adequately developed, rendering its perception as gimmicky amongst some users.
2.The interaction between colour and black-and-white displays was unintuitive and cumbersome.
3.There were not enough dedicated apps and features available to do this innovative device justice.
We used a user-centric design process to solve these problems as we attempted to establish where the real benefits and opportunities lie for the e-ink screen.
We recruited a number of existing Yota Phone 1 owners to:
• Keep usage diaries to log problems
• Let us observe them using it
• Contribute co-creation sessions and design workshops
From this process we established some clear product benefits and needs that then drove the UI design envisioning programme:
• Sustained reading vs. backlit devices
• Daylight legibility
• Always-on, glance-able UI
• Personalisation (enabled by always on)
Workshop concepts were quickly followed on with screen design concepts and mini-prototypes, with some further validated by users. We then worked closely with Yota Phone’s engineers toimplement the new designs and a series of on-device applications, with further rounds of user-tests employed at various stages.
The device received a successful relaunch in December 2014 with positive feedback from both users and press regarding improvements made. Usage data is currently being monitored and compiled by Yota.