Mathieu Martyn

UX Design


TU Go Web Client

The TU Go service puts your phone number in the cloud so you can use it on any device using Wi-Fi, to contact any phone number. Log in to the app on iOS, Android, or desktop using a compatible browser, and you can call, text and view your communication history without the need for network coverage, or even your own phone. TU Go is available from O2 in the UK and from Movistar and Vivo in LATAM and has well over 1M users per month running 44M sessions.

  • Role: Lead UX Designer
  • For: Telefonica
  • Timeline: 2014 - 17

I led the team of 3 designers tasked with designing the web client for the TU Go service. A fresh design approach was needed to exploit the affordances of greater screen estate and richer input methods of the desktop context. The design also had to accommodate the limitations of delivering functionality within in a web browser. With very basic personas and an MVP spec supplied by Product and just a 2 week window to deliver design to a Development kick-off, generating a robust framework design was a tough challenge. Rather than applying a rigid design process and using specific tools, I’m a strong advocate for using whatever methods move things along. In this spirit, there was as much innovation in design process as in the design itself.

The initial UX framework design process was characterised by deep and wide exploration of the design window to ensure that we encountered the obstacles and opportunities there and designed for them. It also ensured that designs were considered and evaluated as openly and objectively as possible and that the team developed the ability and vocabulary to discuss why certain designs worked and others didn’t - always important when presenting design solutions to stakeholders, but particularly so when they are remote - the Product and Development teams we were working with were spread between Tel Aviv, Barcelona and Madrid.

Phases in the design process

Framing and Focusing

The first artefacts the design team produced included:

• Outline usage contexts to contextualise design
• Design Principles to focus concepting
• Use Cases to exercise the designs

These artefacts were shared with stakeholders to ensure alignment, drove the framework design and provided criteria against to evaluate our designs.

Project 01a

Thinking, Sketching and Iterating
Following a briefing and planning session, we conducted a series tightly scoped individual design sessions on specific areas of the UX - at framework, feature or micro-interaction level. The products of these sessions was then presented to design team members for discussion and critique. We then refocused and defined the scope for the next design session. At a fixed point, we conducted an evaluation. Designs were randomly split into 3 groups, each group to be pitched by one team member to the other two. Designs were critiqued and placed in Win, Lose or Draw piles. Winners were either combined or further developed in subsequent sessions. Draws were brought back in if it made sense. Subsequent sessions forged concepts in UX frameworks for presentation to the Product team.

There were several benefits of this method - designers got much better at presenting designs; Stakeholders understood designs and their rationale more easily; egos were put to one side as designs you were pitching and defending were often generated by others; high levels of productivity, engagement and motivation were maintained and we got the best out of a team of widely varying levels of experience across UX and UI disciplines. This phase delivered a set of alternative UX framework designs for Review.

This phase delivered a set of alternative UX framework designs for Review.

Project 01b

Design Review

Worked up UX frameworks were collated with description and discussion in a review presentation for the Product team with 2 recommended candidates - a conservative approach along the lines of the tablet client and a more radical approach tailored to the affordances of the desktop browser. Description and discussions of the alternatives ensured Product stakeholders were assured that we had explored the design window thoroughly and deeply enough to come up with robust solutions and ensured the design team were able to address alternative suggestions from the Product team with authority and confidence.

Project 01b
Sample pages from the presentation of a dozen or so alternative concepts.
Prototyping Candidate Solutions

With limited time and wanting to avoid getting bogged down with designing at too high a level of visual fidelity, we constructed paper prototypes of the 2 candidate designs - quick to produce and easy to change - and made stop-motion videos of the key use cases for each candidate to bring the designs to life for the remote Product and Development teams. The Product team agreed with the Design team and the more radical approach was selected as the way forward.

One of the paper prototypes...

Project 01c
...and the stop-motion video for the design selected by Product - the more radical design.

Post Framework Design

With a framework selected, we then moved to delivering detailed interaction and visual design specifications as part of the agile team working with remote developers. We invested time with developers to define the most expedient means of specifying design what the criteria should be to determine whether a user story was ready to be taken into a sprint - the ‘Definition of Ready’ to facilitate delivery. User testing with an early implementation achieved a 98.75% task completion rate and got very positive feedback from users.

Project 01c
A sample interaction specification for adding Google contacts to the web UX.
Following the initial MVP release, we continued iterating and improving the design and delivering new functionality, enhancements, animation and bug fixes in fortnightly releases, including features such as Group chat, Media sharing and Video calling through to early 2017. Most recently we revamped the on-boarding process, redesigning, the homepage for the service, and adapting the registration process to be available from O2, Movistar and Vivo TU web pages.

TU Go service was discontinued at the end of 2017, replaced by native Wi-Fi calling.