UI/UX design of an operating layer over Android including all the bundled native apps

The total market for smartphones in India was around 750 million in 2020 which was mostly driven by demand for first time smart phone users from Tier 2 cities and small towns in India.

We worked with LAVA – a popular phone manufacturer who focused on these markets, and critical to their business was a phone experience for this very persona.

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.







The Challenge

Simplifying the Android experience for the first time smartphone user

lava mobile ui/ux design

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.

Typical User Story

Ramesh (persona) works in the security department of a large factory. The company where he works uses an attendance & reporting mobile app, and expects all employees to use a smartphone. Ramesh is supposed to send occasional photos and videos of locations in the factory or of incidences. He has never used a smartphone before. In fact, he dislikes it because he can't understand how to use it.

The Task

The brief was very straight forward and the task neatly cut out - "Simplify the interface".

lave mobile app ui/ux design

While the team was all excited and eager to roll up their sleeves and get cracking, it was the first time UXD was undertaking a project at this scale. It needed careful planning. The project involved understanding & rethinking a first time users' interaction with the phone including its dialer, contacts, mail client, camera, radio, media player, power management, file management and the rest of the stock apps that would be shipped with the phone.

The Process

The project needed a fairly large team. The process was decided on various factors, among them were the deadlines, the sprint calendar, the delivery road map, clients team structure, client team skill strengths, product ownership pattern at the client end, our own resource availability.

There was a lot to be done in a very short time. The R&D team at the manufacturer's side who have been for long preparing for this task had not factored in the reality of an outsourced UX team in their midst.

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

enterprise ux project

Thinking & Innovation

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

enterprise ux project

UI & Design System

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

We divided ourselves into 4 functional areas and 4 teams to suit the demands of this particular project.

enterprise ux project

Function & Interaction

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

enterprise ux project

Development Support

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

The Work

What started out as a well organized project soon got into a hectic round the clock work to conceive, engineer, design and deliver high quality assets for the phone's operating layer and around 20 stock apps that goes with it.

& then 100's of sketches, wireframes, various prototypes and user testing and countless iterations later...

Launchers & Dialers

lave mobile app ui/ux design


lave mobile app ui/ux design

Media Players

mobile app ui/ux design

Icons – Dev Assets




Home and Folders

mobile app ui/ux design

The Outcome

The project lasted over 12 months and UXD consistently worked with the client development team to deliver the designs and assets in time and well ahead of their development sprints. The team collectively not just met the deadlines, but also did it with a better than expected quality.

The operating layer and the redesigned native apps were well received, but from the feedback it was obvious that there was more work (read more simplification) needed if the entire Indian population has to shift to a smart phone. Crucial to the adoption was the need for multilingual capability of the OS and the apps

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