product management

Google Playtime 2017

Product Design Lead

Google Playtime is an event organised for Google Play apps and games partners. With inspiring talks, group discussions and pre-booked one-on-ones with members of the Google team, it's an opportunity to learn about the latest Google product updates, experience new technologies and of course, play in the ball pit during the breaks.

The day, hosted at Kraftwerk (a quirky, warehouse event space) started with a waited breakfast in the registration queue and continued to a smooth registration process where we were treated to the space and activities of the Google Playground.

The hospitality continued inside with much-needed coffee and snacks, a great space for some early-morning product chats before getting seated for the opening film and keynote.

Google Play Cafe

The opening keynote

The opening film ‘Playtime 2017: Changing lives with Android and Google Play‘ featured the stories of inspirational Google developers creating meaningful, life-changing services and applications across health, communication & education with the Google Play Store.

Google Playtime Keynote

The keynote covered the latest advances in the Play Store across Games, Play Console, Android Vitals, The Google Play Security Award, beta testing and machine learning, with one clear message for product management:

Understand and act at every step

Kobi Glick, Product Manager for Google Play

Google Play Store

Google Indie Games Contest

Games

Play Console & Android Vitals

Country targeted rollouts

Following a great kick-off, we stopped off at the ball pit in the Playground for some silliness.

Ball pit

The Talks

The day was packed with a great selection of talks across three tracks: Apps, Games & Innovation. It was tough to choose which sessions to attend and even more tricky to pick favourites but I've given it a go!

Talk #1: Quality over quantity: Why quality matters

Alexey Kokin (Partner Development Manager, Google Play) and Riccardo Govoni (Engineering Manager, Google Play) spoke through ways to improve your user experience, engagement and retention using Android Vitals, Material Design and other app quality best practices.

Quality over quantity: Why quality matters

Android Vitals is an initiative by Google to improve the stability and performance of Android devices. The Play Console helps developers to log metrics around stability, render time, and battery usage. The Android Vitals dashboard helps developers to better-understand the performance of their app and alerts them when their app is exhibiting bad behaviour.

The initiative also rewards developers for product excellence.

  1. Performance Get featured in New, Updated & Editor’s Choice collections for high-performant apps
  2. Technical excellence Get rewarded for well-designed, apps of exemplary quality
  3. Stability Get recognised for low ANR & crash-rates

Talk #2: Of flying lamborghinis and gummy bear robots

Franz Blach (Design Director, IDEO) and Fabian Herrmann (Senior Design Lead, IDEO) explained their research approach when exploring opportunities in emerging technologies, specifically Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Digital Assistants, and Ephemeral Apps.

Emerging technologies

We want to shift design from what technologies are capable of to what we are enabled to do as humans

Alexey Kokin and Riccardo Govoni, IDEO

They explained how ‘tapping into user’s imaginations’ through specially designed exercises could help to inspire new product ideas that deliver real value.

IDEO Human-Centred Design Prompts for Emerging Technologies

The IDEO card pack 'Human-Centred Design Prompts for Emerging Technologies' suggest possible design approaches to problem-solving in new technologies with a clear reminder:

The promise of all new technology has always been to expand our abilities as humans

Alexey Kokin and Riccardo Govoni, IDEO

Talk #3: Impactful research methods to supercharge your app or game

Ross McLachlan - UX Researcher, Google Play talked through the latest research methods being used in the Google Play team to increase engagement and customer satisfaction through 3 key product questions:

  1. Strategy What shall we build?
  2. Design How shall we build it?
  3. Evaluate Did we succeed?

Top tips:

  1. Listen to your users, ask open questions and discover things you don’t already know
  2. Collaborate in multidisciplinary teams to increase empathy and understanding across the team
  3. Deep-dive into key feedback areas for behavioural analysis and technical app health

Happy hour

The event finished up with a networking happy hour with cocktails and wine to accompany the product discussions. All in all, an incredibly well-organised event with quality content and a talented group of app creators! Thanks to all at Google for a great day!

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