2013 - 2015
Share the world
Milk VR (now Samsung VR) paves the way for the exciting new medium of 360 video. It is a comprehensive platform from Samsung where producers can share creations and consumers can experience a growing library of 360 content across multiple devices (GearVR, Mobile, and Web). This relationship is fundamental to the experimentation and feedback that drives innovation and adoption of 360 media.
As lead designer, I owned the product design, developed input and interaction standards, created all in-app-assets, managed a design team, and worked alongside engineering to ensure a quality user experience. Furthermore, I represented product vision to executive teams, interfaced with other Samsung departments working on tie-in-projects, and designed product features with BD for corporate partnerships.
MilkVR (2d) - App Home
Goal & Strategy
Design a flagship product for Samsung's Gear VR that extols the virtues of 360 media and VR, driving sales and brand differentiation
Be accessible for users new to VR
Demonstrate the value of 360 & VR
Maintain brand identity
Adapt existing and familiar input and interfaces to 3-DOF, mobile VR, while prioritizing physical comfort, performance, and brand coherence.
Reticle system: hybrid of mouse + FPS
Scroll, swipe, and tap from mobile
Familiar Tab > List > Details model
Ground user in preview mode
Optimize geometry & textures
Spatialize Milk Music aesthetics
Home Scene Architecture
Quickly find Forward
Encourage 360 exploration
Prioritize comfort and accessibility, through extensive user research and iterative experimentation.
A - Research physiology, perception, and ergonomics
B - Use research to design UX/UI
C - Rapidly develop working prototypes
D - Extensively test with users and iterate
Determining Headset Ergonomics
Research > Design
It was so challenging to design a flagship product for a brand new device type with brand new content. Literally, no one to that point had used a mobile VR headset. Plus, both the hardware and software were being built as the project was being done. This meant improvising on scarce devices (we had one in the office), constantly changing SDK's (weekly, sometimes daily), and coordination with multiple teams (Samsung, Oculus, and Unity). Moreover, fields of study such as how the brain perceives depth or how light and lenses work were totally new to me. With so many moving parts, I had to study, research, and improvise. The result is that I'm incredibly proud of the work. It was leading a brand new field of design by drawing from my previous experiences as an architect.
There are, however, serious issues with the way that the app has matured over time. It's essentially the same design today as when I left in 2015, save the rebranding and environmental design. The sheer quantity of content, number of other interested parties, and demand for new features requires changes in the app design that haven't happened. Furthermore, this product was designed before a community of 360 content creators and consumers existed. It is therefore fundamental to understand these critical changes and adjust the design accordingly.