Mathieu Martyn

UX Design


Pearl Platform UX

A new UX that broke away from the tired softkey-based interaction model of the time and scared Nokia enough to have the project killed. I was briefed to come up with a new smartphone UI for Symbian to license and, leading a small but very talented team in a 'skunk works' context, designed and specified a completely new interaction model for phones. The first 3 months of the project were spent concepting - sketching out interaction ideas, creating demos of them and testing them. Once proven, a concept would be added to a fully-functional simulation of the platform.

  • Role: Design Lead
  • Client: Symbian
  • Timeline: 2000 - 01

This was essentially a visual specification for developers as well as a useful tool for demonstrating and testing the UI - we used it to demo the platform to the public at CEBIT, to Symbian licensees and in user testing, including a version localised to Japanese to validate our hypothesis that the interaction model would work for the Japanese market. The OS and 8 apps were specified and halfway through development when the project was cancelled as Nokia, the main shareholder in Symbian, wanted to reduce the competition for their Series 60 platform which they had decided to license to other manufacturers. The press responded very well to the UI and it is discussed briefly on The Register .

The project generated some intellectual property for Symbian, notably U.S. Patent Numbers 8,434,020 and 8,713,476 with priority dates of July 2000, on which I am the sole inventor. The current owner of these patents, Core Wireless, has successfully sued LG for damages for infringment of these patents in their Android devices from 2012 onwards. I attended the court in Marshall, Texas in 2016 to testify for Core Wireless. The case is reported here on the attorneys' website and here in the legal press. Core Wireless are also pursuing Apple for infringement of these patents. The patents have survived claims of invalidity resulting in a precedential decision of the Federal Circuit in 2018 on what is eligible to patent with regard to graphical user interfaces. They have also been cited as examples of how to survive Alice analysis in the legal press.

A description of the interaction model
Interaction Model
Design drivers
Design drivers
Some screenshots from the simulation