Bringing the magic of Google Photos to a whole new audience
Summary: We built a new offline gallery app for lower-end Android devices. With a short deadline we decided on a prototype-driven approach. Gallery Go launched in July 2019.
Google Photos is built with backup and sync in mind and offers unique features like auto-organization, search, auto-creations, and more. What can Google Photos offer to people with low to no internet connection and less performant phones?
Being a small team with a tight deadline we decided to quickly jump into prototyping so we could test our hypothesis, understand the technicalities quicker and speed up collaboration between teams.
When prototyping animations and minor interactions we used tools like Principle and Framer. However, for our in-field user studies in Nigeria and India we decided to build an offline prototype that mimiced the product as best as we could.
As I was the only designer on the team I wanted to try something I'd previously tried with Framer in the past; building only one realistic prototype that would be reused and changed over the entire lifecycle of the product. One prototype that would be very close to resembling exactly what the engineers were building. I ended up building a React Native prototype with most of our features and sent it around the world for testing.
We got help from another designer to assist with the product icon. Together we designed 500+ iterations and settled on something that met our requirements by communicating what the app is, while also fitting in with the rest of the Google ecosystem.
Every aspect of Gallery Go was designed with speed, storage and performance in mind. This allows users to free up space on their phones for actual photos and videos. We used technologies like on-device machine learning to group photos into people and other things like selfies, screenshots, food, videos, and more. We wanted to make editing as easy as possible, so we made sure the auto-enhance feature from Google Photos was just a tap away. Since people care a lot about their data usage we also allow them to compress their photos before sharing them with their friends.
Gallery Go launched publicly in the Google Play Store on July 24, 2019.