In 2015, I joined Google Advanced Technology and Projects as head of UX for Project Ara, a new concept for a modular smartphone. When I came on board, Project Ara had been a research project for two years, and the team was transitioning into product development mode.
My role included developing patterns for hardware-software interactions and designing how hardware modules would be reflected in and integrated into Android system UI. I also led the design of an e-commerce platform for purchasing and customizing an Ara phone. At Google ATAP, we had a small core internal staff managing many external partners and production teams. In my role as head of UX, I managed three design agencies who contributed UX, visual design, and user research.
In addition to the core Ara and buying user experiences, I worked with the module team to explore the UX for the components that could be attached to the back of the phone, such as a low-power e-ink display.
In the Google ATAP model, we had a small core team of functional heads who directed a number of external agencies and contractors. In my role as head of UX, I managed or helped to manage several design and research agencies who helped design and implement several parts of the project.