Building a Mobile Practice

 Parts slapped on with each release created a Frankenstein app.

Parts slapped on with each release created a Frankenstein app.

Project

Mobile Design Team Transformation

Client

Marriott International

Role

Director of Mobile Experience Design

Problem

The mobile team didn’t expect much from design and it showed in the Marriott phone apps (iOS, Android and mobile web). Business owners requested functionality; developers and their project managers estimated level of effort and requested assets; designers delivered assets. The design team also created thick functional specification documents that went largely unread and were infrequently implemented.

Solution

I elbowed my way into the product development process by providing facilitation and clarity in early problem definition conversations. I helped the mobile team separate the “what” from the “how” and made sure that both focused on a user’s perspective rather than the organization’s.

With problems better articulated and largely isolated from execution, I was able to protect the expertise of design once we got to designing user experiences. I also greatly reduced the volume of design documentation at the same time I optimized its effectiveness.

I overhauled how Marriott designs mobile user experiences in three stages:

  • Stage 1: I partnered with process and product owners to help improve their approaches.
  • Stage 2: I introduced and quickly evolved a user-centric design process.
  • Stage 3: As a designer, information architect and content strategist, I established a much higher standard for all user experience work.