An innovative User Experience Designed to simplify the phone experience - creating a unified Operating Layer enabling powerful features such as Dialer, Camera, Browser, Media Player & Lock Screens plus vital utilities like Power Management and Messaging.

Client Activity:

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User research | Brain storming | Design Thinking | Information Architecture | Taxonomy | Interaction Design & Prototyping | Interface Design & Design Systems | Visual Communication Design | Development Support

The Challenge

Simplifying the Android experience for the first time smartphone user..

With the consumer tech market in India increasing at an incredible rate, LAVA sought to tap into this surge of first-time smartphone users from Tier 2 cities and small towns across the country.

The total market for smartphones in India was around 750 million in 2020 which was mostly driven by demand for first-time smartphone users from these Tier 2 cities.

The target users were increasingly aware of the benefits of a smartphone, primarily for entertainment and digital payments. But research also showed that many tried the switch but failed to sustain using them.

Primary Persona

The primary persona was a tier 2 city blue-collar worker. He had to use the phone extensively to be in touch with his employers and associates.

The strategy brief was very straight forward and the task neatly cut out - "Simplify the interface for a 5 year old".

Typical User Story

Ramesh is a member of the security team at a large factory and is required to use a smartphone for the company’s attendance and reporting mobile app. He is expected to occasionally send photos and videos from various locations within the factory or of any incidents. Despite his lack of experience with smartphones and his dislike for them, he is required to use one for his job.

The Task

Although the team was eager and enthusiastic to commence the project, this was the first time the UXD team was taking on a project of such magnitude. Careful planning was necessary. The project entailed comprehending and reevaluating a first-time user’s interaction with the phone, including its dialer, contacts, email client, camera, radio, media player, power management, file management, and other stock applications that would be included with the phone.

The Process

The project required a substantial team. The process was determined based on several factors, including deadlines, the sprint calendar, the delivery roadmap, the client team structure, the strengths of the client team’s skills, the product ownership pattern at the client end, and our own resource availability.

There was a considerable amount of work to be done in a limited time frame. The manufacturer’s R&D team, who had been preparing for this task for a long time, had not taken into consideration the presence of an outsourced UX team in the process.

To best address the unique demands of this project, we organized ourselves into four specialized teams, each aligned with specific functional areas.

Thinking & Innovation

User research, design thinking workshops, discovery workshops, white boarding, team alignment

Function & Interaction

New functional and UX paradigm called Uniform X. Interaction Design, Information Architecture

UI & Design System

UI Design, UI Standards, UX Writing, Iconography, Typography, Brand and Colors

Development Support

Design assets, Sync with Design Sprints, UI Specification, UI Documentation

The Work

What initially began as a well-planned project soon transformed into a fast-paced, round-the-clock effort to conceive, engineer, design, and produce high-quality assets for the phone’s operating layer and approximately 20 accompanying stock apps. Our team generated numerous sketches, wireframes, and prototypes, and devoted countless hours to user testing. After numerous iterations, we delivered meticulous designs and collaborated with a 40-member development team to align with their development sprints.

The project code was straight out of Steve Krug's book - "Don't make them think"

The Outcome

The project lasted for over 12 months, and the UXD team consistently collaborated with the client development team to deliver the designs and assets ahead of schedule. The team not only met the deadlines but exceeded expectations with their high-quality work.

The redesigned operating layer and native apps received positive feedback, but the feedback indicated that further simplification was necessary to shift the target persona to a smartphone. Key to the adoption was the requirement for the operating system and the apps to have multilingual capabilities for their intended users.

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