PROJECT

Google Cloud Next is Google’s largest annual conference, bringing together the global cloud community for learning, networking, and hands on activities with the Google Cloud team. I led the design team responsible for the holistic digital experience of the event. I implemented this concept with responsive web, native iOS and Android apps, and an online portal serving satellite events and remote follow-alongs.

Role: IA, UX, UI, Creative Direction

Next 18

Though Nerdery had been part of building out Next’s digital tools since 2016, the engagement was focused solely on development in quality insurance. That changed when I came on board to help facilitate the handoff between design and development. Midway through the project, I had proven enough to the client team for them to move on from their current design vendor and bring on Nerdery to finish the design work. With features and requirements defined, my focus was on fixing inconsistencies, improving the UX of core features such as sessions and speakers. Additionally I facilitated standing up the new Next On-Air section of the website where users are able to livestream conference content.

Next 19

With the successful launch of the Next 18 apps and website, we were able to lock in the design work for the following year. We turned our attention to future enhancements. I built out the XD team by adding a research lead and collaborated with other department leads to define a plan for 2019.

Home COncepts

Early on in the project lifecycle, we created homepage concepts using existing and modified brand assets to define the look before Google’s brand team had started branding for the Next event. These early efforts lent an enormous amount of influence on the look and feel of the conference.  The SVG animations we created for the homepage experience would later be adapted by Google as the dynamic effect used across the entire event, including digital signage at Moscone Center and the on-stage scenic and display boards.

WAVES

One of the complexities on the Next website build is that our users had different needs at different times throughout the event lifecycle. Depending on the phase and time of year (teaser, pre-registration, registration, planning, travel, day of, and recap) we needed to deliver different content and features. I put together comprehensive sitemaps outlining content needs across the phases. This also accounted for the addition of new content types dedicated to learning resources and certifications at the event.

CUSTOM CMS

Another enhancement for 2019 was the creation of a custom CMS for Googlers to provide and adjust copy and content throughout the event. This CMS was also built with the purpose of being able to spin up smaller event based websites using the Next designs and features for Google’s needs throughout the year. I created the CMS UI based on collaborative whiteboarding sessions and an understanding of our development team’s current process in updating and maintaining the content in previous years absent a CMS.

Component Library

Though Google is known for their Material design system, the Next projects actually had three separate systems that needed to be referenced in our design work: Material 2, Marketing Web Standard, and CloudStyle. Early on I defined which standards would be references in which contexts, alleviated redundancies and conflicting rules from these standards, and built out a supplementary design system for components and patterns unique to our ecosystem.

RESEARCH

At the time of the event, I participated in ethnographic research and observation in San Francisco. Though we did not go into the event with any one area of focus, what we learned about the way the attendees interacted with each other, navigated their schedules, and carried out wayfinding, specifically, informed our pitch for 2020.

APPS

I designed the apps for native iOS and Android and of the 35k attendees of Next 2019, a whopping 33k used our apps at the event—equaling 94% of the total audience.

Senior Designer: Kahlil Brewington
Research Lead: Hilary Dixon

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© 2020 by Ben Wood