hamish tennent

2 sizes of Facebook Portal device shown on a plain blue background.

Facebook Portal

Early Concept UX Design Lead

In 2016 I lead the UX design for an internal Facebook team looking to define how the company could enter the newly emerging in-home smart device market and compete with Amazon Alexa, and the upcoming Apple HomePod. A large part of the team concentrated on the mechanical and electrical engineering challenges. Meanwhile I partnered with the UX researcher on the team to iteratively design and test UX feature sets and define potential product strategy, design ethos and UX frameworks.

Key Methods: Experience Prototyping. UX Frameworks. Product Strategy
Closeup of button on Portal device used to manually disconnect camera for privacy reasons.
Switch to manually disconnect camera and mic for added privacy. One of the early features we identified and pushed to be included.
Examples of the brand and UX concept pitched to Facebook to outline directions the product could be designed.
The two concept directions we pitched to management for the product to be developed towards, all stemming from our overall brand concept.
Diagram outlining our UX concept of snowballing, where small simple voice interactions are linked to create complec interactions
Linking technologically simple interactions (ie send message, read message, add to calendar) created complex and desirable multi-chain interactions.
Project Information

Our project culminated in a Stop/Go presentation to upper management where they would either kill the project or take our concept work and move it to one of the in house development teams. I delivered a brand concept, two UX frameworks with accompanying feature sets and product strategy pathways, all validated with potential users. We pitched these two potential product strategies as part of our teams successful presentation. Department heads chose one and the product was green lit to move into development. In 2018 the project launched as the Facebook Portal. One notable feature that was created in these early designs is the hardware off switch to disconnect the camera for privacy reasons.

Vvideo call being conducted on a Facebook Portal device in a kitchen setting.