Google hired Wayne to lead Hangouts Chat design, envision a bundled communication experience, and improve cross functional collaboration.
Google Hangouts Chat logo with words 'Chat Launch' below on teal background
Google Material 2 logo with words 'Material 2 Design System' on red background
Green Text Messaging icon with words 'Chat Features' below on green background
Green Text Messaging icon pointing to Gmail icon

Chat Launch

Hangouts Chat was built to improve team collaboration, and compete with Microsoft Teams and Slack.

Overview

Challenge

Chat was missing a clear strategy, team alignment, and critical functionality. This resulted in delays, and an underwhelming MVP.

Solution

The team launched to general market on-time, feature complete. It was G- Suite’s first GDPR compliant, Gar4 accessible launch.

Material 1 Chat Page Example ScreenshotMaterial 1 Team Room Threads Example ScreenshotMaterial 1 Direct Message Chat Room Example Screenshot

Learnings

Alignment

Our product and marketing teams were siloed and required new operating rhythms to align positioning and launch messaging.

Team Engagement

The team was reorganized from a command-and-control structure to squads, which increased autonomy and satisfaction 30% in six months.

Material 2 Design System

We updated Chat’s design system from Material 1 to Material 2.

Overview

Challenge

Material 1 failed Google’s new accessibility requirements, and the Material 2 spec was missing several enterprise patterns.

Solution

We partnered with the Material team to update Chat, and contributed new patterns to G Suite United.

Density

We updated type density material guidelines for email and chat products.

Certification

We improved delivery accuracy and velocity with Material training and certification. We held bi-weekly design crit with the Material team to review new features, patterns, and issues.

Impact

12.7%

Increased Customer Satisfaction

25.3%

Decrease in Dissatisfaction

Chat Features

animation of teammates reacting to a message

Reactions

Our team designed new G Suite patterns like reactions, smart replies, and a skin tone picker.

animation of teammates using smart replies

Artificial Intelligence

We launched new AI features like smart replies and bots, and also used calendar signals to indicate status of activity.

animation of teammates reacting to a message

Reactions

Our team designed new G Suite patterns like reactions, smart replies, skin tone picker.

animation of teammates using smart replies

Artificial Intelligence

Our team launched new AI features like smart replies, bots, and used calendar signals to sync working hours, do not disturb, and status.

Chat in Gmail

We integrated Chat’s new functionality and Material 2 design in Gmail to improve bundled communication.

Main Content Pane

We integrated chat messages and rooms in the main content pane, making all messages a 1st class experience.

Feature Parity

We added new features and sunset old features to improve interoperability between Hangouts Classic and Chat.

Learnings

Create <> Collaborate

G Suite was the first to combine communication and collaboration in the same surface which improved context and reduced latency.

Team Experience

We added experts in enterprise software, communication tools, and behavioral economics to yield innovative outcomes.