Partner with internet service providers in the emerging markets to provide Fast, Free Wi-Fi in public spaces
Status › Launched in 2016 · Role › Lead UX Designer
Pilot with Railtel in 2016
Redesign for Google in 2017
In 2015, Google embarked on a public access project in partnership with the Indian Government to launch Wi-Fi at 400 of the largest train stations in India. As the lead designer on this project, I was presented with the challenge of balancing a simple login experience with existing constraints in the Emerging Markets, including unstable infrastructure, low-end device limitations, and government regulations. For these reasons, I embraced the product team's decision to build a web-based solution that would work on any browser, scale from mobile to desktop use, and register a users via phone number entry for Wi-Fi Login.
After creating an initial set of designs, I travelled to India to facilitate in depth interviews with users regarding internet usage behavior. I additionally conducted intercepts at train stations with passengers, while iterating on designs in real time.
Mind your language
Several terms and visuals throughout our UI failed to resonate with users. For example, participants who did not recognize the word “browser,” were instantly able to enter a URL on their device when afforded the visual of a search bar. In place of “verification code”, users preferred the abbreviation “OTP” (one time password) due to its widespread use in popular banking and shopping apps across the country. Even illustrations were highly scrutinized.
Women we spoke to expressed grave concern at the thought of submitting their phone number during onboarding due to eveteasing, a euphemism used throughout South Asia for public sexual harassment. While phone number entry is a government regulation, we took this as an opportunity to partner with participants to craft specific language to emphasize data security.
Ask > App
After crafting and testing several versions of UI copy, including clear instructional text to ensure users successfully completed registration, we commonly observed passengers ask others for assistance, even before engaging with the second screen. Contrary to the United States, users throughout India actually preferred asking a stranger for guidance over searching or reading through a UI for next steps.
The design was optimized to successfully lead users through login, while being flexible enough to accommodate a diverse range of sponsors. As the official sponsor of the project, the pilot was created for the RailTel Corporation of India.
Designed to scale across a range of devices and advertisers with minimal engineering effort.
Ask > App in action | Handheld brochures placed at demo carts and agents deployed at various venues available to answer privacy concerns or registration questions.
Following our pilot launch, I created an evaluation framework to clearly map where users were dropping off across our login funnel with known issues at each step. This enabled the product team to quickly identify and prioritize fixes for subsequent iterations.
In 2017, the pilot graduated into an official Google product and required a visual redesign to reflect Google’s look + feel with, flexibility for locally commissioned murals and ad support.
As a part of this redesign, we constructed targeted notifications based on popular behavior to address awareness issues in public venues.
Google Station has successfully expanded efforts across Indonesia, Thailand, Mexico, and Nigeria. For more information, please visit station.google.com.