With the launch of the first Vector smartwatch, we needed to provide customers an easy way to customise their experience through applications and clock faces.
I was tasked with creating the Vector Watch Developer Portal and my main goal was to create an intuitive experience for end users as well as for developers.
Creating a custom clock face or app for our smartwatch meant a lot of heavy programming, something not everyone was able to do. We needed an easy way for users to customise their Vector Watch experience.
On this project I was part of a cross-functional team, acting as Lead Designer, working closely with a Product Manager and an Engineering Lead. My contribution spread from research and wireframes to front-end coding.
Being a small start-up of 30 people meant we moved quickly, had a lot of informal chats and the team owned the decision making process. We mostly collaborated over Google Drive, Slack and the good old "swing by my desk".
To start things off I began looking into our two likely competitors - Android Developer Portal and Apple Developer Portal, learning how they have set up their user journey, what were the skills you needed, what was the perceived difficulty and generally how easy was to get something custom on your device.
I found that it took at least a couple of days until you could get something custom on your device. So I started another column and filled it with how we wanted to position our own developer portal.
As with any hardware project, it's crucial to understand what are the limits of the device, how it works and how you can bring that complexity into something user-friendly.
For this part I spent a good time with my Engineering Lead trying to understand what the device was able to do in terms of custom clock faces and apps.
With a good understanding of the device capabilities and what we wanted to achieve, I started sketching. I wanted to quickly lay out the app flow and the main features of the product. Sketching helps me think better through the problem, is faster as I don't focus on any visual design aspect and helps me validate my work with the team.
With the flow laid out and validated with the team and having a good understanding of how I wanted the Information Architecture to look like, I moved on to create the visual design for the product.
To be efficient, leverage my coding skills, cut down on development time and meet our deadline I decided we would go for a pre-built UI kit, so I did a quick research and bought one that suited our needs.
This decision made possible for a quick development as I was able to assemble the UI myself in HTML and then ship it to the engineering team, and also we were able to test and iterate quicker.
Two-three months after launch I selected our top ten and bottom ten contributors to the store and invited them to a chat. I wanted to find out what made them succesful or why did they stopped using our developer portal, what kind of challenges they faced and what they would have loved to see added to the ecosystem.
We found out we had users of all types, from full fledged developers to accountants just looking to customise their Vector Watch experience. They felt the developer portal was easy to use and straightforward, and some slightly more tech-savvy people were actually acting as "designers" for their less tech-savvy friends, creating clock faces that they then shared with them.
To track the traction and growth of the ecosystem we looked at the number of developers signing up, which compared to the number of units we sold, was pretty solid.
Another number I chose to look at to understand if our solution was easy to use was the number of pieces of content created.
Very soon after launch we found ourselves spending some good time each day reviewing content submited by users to the public store.
Signed up developers
Clock faces published in the first four months