The Apple+IBM partnership began in mid-2014 as an initiative to bring enterprise solutions onto the iOS, watchOS and macOS platforms. Shortly after the partnership was announced, I was recruited to serve as the design lead based out of Apple Headquarters in Cupertino, CA. From a design standpoint, the first set of goals for the partnership addressed key challenges in workplace mobility. In effort to address these challenges, we committed to the design and development of 100 industry-specific enterprise solutions covering a broad scope of industries from Healthcare to Retail to Travel & Transportation.
- Design Direction
- UX/UI Design Lead
- User Research
In order to hit the 100 app target, my team and I needed to devise a way to scale the design process across a diverse set of global design teams. Every application began with a workshop. In this workshop, a global design & development team and sponsor client would fly in to participate in an accelerated design thinking workshop. In a 3-day session, my immediate team (junior designer, lead developer and sales partner) would run sessions to assess pain points, user goals and ultimately derive big outcomes each solution would entail.
In addition to providing global design direction, I was responsible for leading the design effort for a number of applications including an engagement with JP Post to provide care and consultative services to the elderly. Furthermore, due to the unique placement of the partnership, I led the identity design effort to craft an app look-and-feel that reflected equal parts IBM and Apple. This entailed a customized iconography set that aligned to particular industries as well as applications.
Due to the fast-paced nature of workshop sessions, we had to hit the ground running on day one of each engagement. It’s no easy task to get an app up and running in a matter of days so we had to equip teams with the right toolset. My team and I ran weekly design calls with the global design & development teams to ensure everyone stayed on the same page. On the one hand, teams who were prepping for a workshop would be given user interview guidance and design thinking exercises (e.g., empathy maps, scenario planning) in order to help their users and stakeholders understand the current state and ways it could be improved. On the other hand, we provided teams who had just finished a workshop with tactical design direction and guidance as to how to playback their progress to both sponsor users and stakeholders.
With teams spanning London, Atlanta, Toronto, Chicago and New York, developing proper time estimates became a juggling act. From a product design standpoint, we made sure keep the scope of each solution as tight as possible. With enterprise-based applications, this wasn’t always an easy feat—many enterprise solutions are riddled with feature creep and bloat. As a result, it became essential to be very clear about product decisions and the rationale behind them.
In December of 2015, we successfully delivered our commitment of 100 enterprise solutions for a variety of industries. These applications spanned solutions on iPhone and iPad. Since the design & development of these solutions coincided with new product launches such as the Apple Watch and the iPad Pro, many of these applications featured some of the first enterprise solutions available on these devices.