Google

Google Design Challenge

 

CHALLENGE

This was a design exercise I completed as part of the Google hiring process.

Prompt: Name & Faces
At the beginning of each new semester or school year, teachers are faced with the challenge of remembering names for a large number of new students. Design an experience to help an educator match faces to names, with the goal of shortening the time needed to reach complete un-aided accuracy. Provide a high-fidelity mock for at least one step of this experience.

SOLUTION

An interactive game that allows educators to remember their students’ names more efficiently and retain the information faster. The solution encourages teachers to include this as part of their first day of class curriculum. Students would introduce themselves to the class and tell a unique story about themselves. This information is then used as game pieces for the educator in order to help increase the time of recognition and recall of the students' names through constant repetition. 

 

MY ROLES

+ User Researcher

+ Designer

DELIVERABLES

+ Lo-fi sketches

+ User interviews

+ UX research

+ Visual design for one interaction


 
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The Beginnings

Background

A few months ago, I received an email from a Google UX/UI recruiter, asking for an opportunity to chat, which peaked my interest. I’m extremely happy at my current job, just to be clear, so I was not actively looking.  But when Google reaches out to you, you just don’t turn down that opportunity. I wanted to share my overall google interview experience as the purpose of this post and talk more about my process to how I solve problems. Below is a high level idea of their process, which you can find pretty much anywhere online via other blog posts.

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TL;DR | Overall Experience:

I thought it was a very efficient and well though out process overall! It was very personable by assigning everyone their own recruiter to stay connected for updates or to address any questions along the way. Jason was someone who specialized in UX/UI, so there was no jargon speak. He made me feel like he honestly cared about what I’m looking for in terms of career growth and not just another number. It was insightful to see how other companies, especially a company as big as Google, goes through their hiring process. I definitely learned a lot along the way, which we will dive right into! 

The entire process took about 2-3 weeks. Since Jason reached out to me, I didn’t have to go through the application step. From there, I just a one hour phone conversation with the recruiter, my portfolio review, followed by another one hour conversation with a designer to discuss my portfolio. Once I passed all of those, I was given a design prompt, which included 3 options. I was told an average designers spend 8-10 hours on it… I think I spent average 10-12 hours. Overall, it only took them about 2 days to get back to me with a response.

 

The Discovery

What's the problem?

I was given 3 different prompts to choose from as a part of this challenge. I won't discuss the other two options, but will only talk more about the process of how I went about solving the one I selected. I chose the prompt below. 

Prompt: Name & Faces
At the beginning of each new semester or school year, teachers are faced with the challenge of remembering names for a large number of new students. Design an experience to help an educator match faces to names, with the goal of shortening the time needed to reach complete un-aided accuracy. Provide a high-fidelity mock for at least one step of this experience.

And with that information, I started. 


 

Primary Research

First identify the problem by asking questions to better understand the situation. Some specific tasks that I did during this time included primary and secondary user research, lo-fidelity persona creations, user flows and user stories. Because this design challenge had a tight timeline and lack of budget, I was limited to how much user research and validation I could perform. 

Having been an educator for younger children when I was still in college, I could relate to this prompt a lot more than the other two, which helped me build empathy towards my targeted users. In order to understand how to create a solution for teachers to remember their student’s names, I did some quick primary research and reached out to a few teacher friends. Below are a few informal questions I’ve asked them. (Click images below to enlarge)

 
 
 

Secondary Research

 

From the primary and secondary research, I was able to put together a user flow, user stories and created proto-personas from the users I spoke with. Of course, all these would need to be validated if more time and budget allowed. Because of the limited time and lack of resources, I called out a list of assumptions throughout this process. (Click images below to enlarge)

 

 

Ideation

LO FIDELITY SKETCHES & FLOWS

I started idea exploration by first writing down key things to remember and a list of assumptions that might influence my designs. From there, I did a similar exercise as the ‘crazy 8’s’, but aimed for 6 high level ideas instead. Typically in my normal process, I would run a ideation workshop with the rest of the team in order to get a more well-rounded group of ideas. Below are 5 sketches of initial ideas, because I ran out of time for the 6th concept.

 
Idea pros & cons.jpg

I took a compiled list of solutions and thought through those solutions in more detail and flushed out a flow. (Click images below to enlarge) 

 

Validation

QUICK FEEDBACK LOOP WITH USERS

In my typical process, I would do a quick feedback loop, validate the flow and get first impressions with users before proceeding to creating functional wireframes or prototypes to usability test. 

But due to the lack of time and resources, I went ahead and started some initial high fidelity designs to showcase my ideas. I did follow up with some of my teacher friends afterwards to get thoughts on this overall concept and gain more insight. 

 

Final Results

DESIGNS

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End Results & Remarks

Jason, the recruiter, called me to discuss the results. He told me the committee decided to not move forward with me, but could not tell me more past that.

 

Although I didn’t make it to the onsite interview, I still took away from this entire process as a really cool learning experience. For one, I made it a lot further into the process than I thought! I went into this process without any expectations, other than just trying out a new experience. The design exercise encouraged me to think more holistically on any project I’ve worked on since and to better explain my thought process to others. It also reiterated my agile process and my ability to expand my ideas by talking to other team members. 

 

I found out later after a little research that Google receives over one million resumes per year; about 10% of candidates get past the onsite interview, and less than 1 percent gets hired (source: previous Google workers as reference from 2015). Although there isn’t a lot of stats that shows the exact number of success rates... I went into this without high expectations, so I wasn’t extremely disappointed at the results. It was still a cool experience that I feel as a designer, I was able to grow my skillsets under a more restricted timeline and really challenged me to think outside the box. Would I do it again in the future? Maybe...? Who knows? After all, it is Google.