Native phone app
Integrate Google DUO (now Google Meet) into the native phone app
The main objective of the project was to integrate Google DUO into the Samsung phone app, with the aim of providing users with a user-friendly and reliable way to make video calls to their family and friends, as well as offer work-related communication capabilities. Additionally, this collaboration aligned with Samsung's business roadmap to expand partnerships with Google and other third-party companies.
However, launching this feature required alignment with Verizon due to the Samsung-Verizon collaboration expectation.
Content & Service, Sr. Manager
R&D, Sr. professional
HQ UX designers
Device & Product Marketing Manager
Executive Experience designer
Working with the PM, service team, and R&D, we defined the project roadmap and split it into two phases to align with the launch schedule of new devices like the Galaxy S21, Flip 2, and Fold 2.
As the UX designer based in the NJ office, besides working with Headquarter designers to develop the final solution. I also serve as the PoC for Verizon, where I regularly met with Verizon stakeholders to ensure alignment and incorporated their feedback during design iterations.
With Verizon's approval, we successfully launched the feature on time and implemented this feature when the devices first launched. This feature has been applied on all Samsung devices to date.
Why do we need this integration?
Only providing carrier video calls on the phone app can create limitations for users regarding communication, cross-platform compatibility, functionality, costs, and dependence on carrier infrastructure.
After the pandemic, there has been a massive demand for video communication, an increase of 503%. (source: Medium.com)
Why Google DUO?
DUO has the highest quality satisfaction compared to other video call apps (Zoom, WhatsApp, etc) on 1:1 & group calls
Become more attractive to users who want an easy-to-use communication tool
Compete better with other competitors by offering integrated video-calling capabilities
Increase customer loyalty and retention, as users may be less likely to switch to a different smartphone company with better communication tools
Lead to a strategic partnership with Google, which can provide access to additional resources
Can promote usage of the app and potentially increase revenue by driving up data usage
Can connect with iOS/PC users directly from the phone app, without needing a separate app
Reach out to others internationally, making it easier to stay in touch with friends and family abroad
Enjoy a reliable and secure communication tool that offers high-quality audio and video calls
Phase 1 - Merge with current UX
In order to meet the launch date, there is very little time left for designers and the team to get alignment from internal stakeholders and the client.
Therefore, we keep the solution simple by adding a setting menu item in the call settings.
Phase 2 - The 'Chooser' UX
The first solution was a quick fix. However, there are some UX issues left including the discoverability of this new feature and disconnection in the 'call history.' For phase 2, with more time and resources, I was able to produce a better solution.
Phase 1 -
Merge with current UX
A quick solution
When the user is inputting numbers into the dialer pad, the video call button will show up next to the voice call button.
And the users can access call settings on the top right menu.
Therefore, we can add another menu item under call settings to control the default video call value: DUO, Carrier Video call.
For the users who want to keep the options open, we also provide the 'Always Ask' option.
Negotiate with Verizon
They raised some questions and expectations for the solution.
1. Will there be 3rd party integration? Verizon proposed and Samsung agreed to include BlueJeans in the future.
2. Verizon proposed and Samsung agreed to 'Carrier video call' to be the default option.
We also reconsidered the term 'Video call mode' and modified it to 'Make video call using' to avoid confusion.
'Always Ask' is also removed due to low usage from user research. And we are developing this idea in phase 2.
Phase 2 -
The 'Chooser UX'
Phase 2 - The 'Chooser UX'
With the phase 1 solution being approved, now I have more time to polish a better solution for the integration of Google DUO.
And I start with revisiting the user persona.
Occupation: Marketing Manager
Background: Sarah is a busy marketing manager who works for a large corporation. She spends a lot of her time in meetings and needs to communicate effectively with her team, colleagues, and clients. She often travels for work and needs a reliable communication tool that works across different devices and platforms.
⭐ have a quick and easy way to make video calls
⭐ make international video calls to family and friends who live abroad
⭐ can set up preferred ways for different recipients
❓ had to use multiple apps for personal and work-related communication, which can be inconvenient and time-consuming.
❓ unable to launch group calls for message groups
For 1 :1 video chat, to provide one consistent Chooser UX across all related apps and entrances
Dialer, Call history, Contact, Message
For group calls, provide entrance on the group message page
Remove 'Make video call using' since it is no longer needed
However, the design is not fulfilling the user needs for the following reasons.
There is an extra step to make calls every time.
It is not flexible for users to set up for each contact.
How to reduce the extra step?
Long press to change the default value
If the default value can be changed on the dialer's page, then the users don't have to select every time they want to call a particular person.
The proposal is to tap the button to make video calls, and long press the button to change the selection.
And the selection will be saved for this individual.
However, ‘long press to bring up a menu and to make a change' is a patent from Google (US8954887B1), which was identified by our patent team.
Another issue with this approach is: it is confusing whether this selection is per contact or for the entire app.
To gain more inspiration, I also looked into how competitors are solving those issues. For iOS, the phone app has a 'Favorite' tab. Users can set it up and call using the preferred method with one tap.
However, unfortunately, our native Contacts app is having a different structure, It is not possible to adapt a similar flow.
But this analysis has opened up the possibility of the Contact app, which leads to the final solution.
iOS Favorites behavior
Switch per contact
Since ‘long press to make change’ can have patent issues, and ‘select on dialer can be confused about if the change is for an individual,’ the Contact app becomes a better location to make change. By doing so, the patent issue can be avoided.
According to the usability test, it is clear that the user is making change for this individual contact. However, it is hard for users to find this popup.
Long press button
Show pop up
How to increase discoverbility?
We are very optimistic about the approach with the contact app, but I also need to resolve the problem of not being able to see the popup. Therefore I have brainstormed some conditions below:
Provide a one-time tooltip when a user sees Chooser for the first time in the dialer or on the contact detailed page.
1st time on dialer
One-time tooltip shows up automatically
Provide a tooltip when user closes Chooser, or comes back to the dialers page.
Provide a help icon to educate the user about the new setting.
Show N badge to indicate a new change in the menu item. The N badge is a commonly used UI indicator in Samsung design system.
Each proposal is having different advantage and dis-advantage. I compared all of them based on 'visibility of the tooltip' and 'relevance with user intention.'
Visilibilty of the tooltip
Relevance with user intention
Proposal D can be supplement for A,B,C
After consolidating ideas from cross-functional teams, the final solution is: to provide a one-time tooltip when Chooser is open for the 2nd time on the dialer. This UX is most relevant to user intent, and users have a high chance to use it on the spot.
This proposal also includes showing the N badge to indicate the new menu.
Finally, providing the same DUO icon in the group massage page to provide easier access from the message app.
Outcome & Items to improve
Successfully approved by Verizon
Rolled out late 2021 for phase 1, early 2022 for phase 2
Implemented on all devices until now
Items to improve
During this project, I encountered a surprising failure: the patent issue. But I was glad it was identified internally before shipping it to the market.
Before this project, I didn't realize how important UX designers need to take that into consideration, and we need to find an alternative route. And more importantly, this can extend its way to other companies or industries, and I will always keep it mind for future projects.