- Web app design and development
- mobile app design
- marketing materials
- advertising materials
- investor relation materials
gottaGolf is a set of consumer applications geared towards the modern, connected golfer. The flagship iOS app is the top-rated golf ball tracing app, with a social twist.
gottaGolf was a very interesting project for me. I am not a golfer, unless you count mini-putt and TopGolf, so getting to understand the industry and particulars of golf itself was key. There were many features where I had to understand the game and physics itself on a more intimate level, so research and discovery were key.
I was responsible for the holistic design of the platform, both on the web and native mobile app. I took over design at a time when the only active application was the web app, and took it through a redesign that would allow for a more streamlined experience and aesthetic on the mobile app as we ventured into it.
The product took many turns at a core level over my course of design with it, and with it brought a lot of fun challenges as we looked at features ranging from the standard content feed, to organizing group outings, and ultimately fun UGC features such as our popular ball tracer.
Golf has, up until the last 15 years or so, always been labeled as "the gentlemen's game". It has catered to an older audience, generally of more means, and most of the media and technology surrounding it had been geared to that audience as well. How do we start to craft an idea of the game today that appeals to a more connected, socially active generation? How do we make a product that is relevant and stands out in the sea of similar golf applications?
gottaGolf decided to leverage the social content dynamic as it's driver for adoption. We'd build a progressive set of functionality that started with web and ultimately evolved and matured on iOS. At each stage, we'd offer more unique features that cater to the impulses of the modern social network user, giving unique tools to create content they could share only with the use of our platform. In doing so, we'd create a culture of savvy, technology-enabled golfers.
The web app is where we started. We architected a familiar, easy-to-use interface that allowed users to login and share content with other like-minded golfers. We developed features that came and went over the years, but today we still have a lean application that serves up the ability to post and view content, as well as join and participate in groups.
The mobile app was our always going where the focus of the product was; as a readily-connected tool that could be at the location where golf content was being created, it had to be of paramount importance. We designed a multi-faceted app and member experience, complete with profiles, groups, content exploration and more. As the app matured, we designed more unique content manipulation and creation features, such as custom overlays, golf emojis, and our flagship ball tracer feature. Eventually, we also branched into premium/subscription features, which presented a new, fun set of challenges regarding feature access.
The design for this was probably the biggest challenge for me; not coming from a golf background and not being a golfer, I had to familiarize myself with the process and results of ball flight. I went through many different iterations, starting with many different sliders to highly manipulate hang time, distance, easing of the ascent/descent, etc. Each time we pared down the controls, taking some different considerations into place, where ultimately, we landed with a set of on-video controls to manipulate the ball flight bezier, and one control at the bottom to shape the nuance of the flight. We were able to cover about 95% or so of the typical flight patterns with that one shaping control. That was a good enough trade off for us for simplicity :)
I learned a lot about how to design controls around physics, and trying to translate those controls into an actual usable feature for generally non hyper technical users. I also learned that it's VERY difficult to get a perfect trace, but sometimes a user's awe at the coolness of the result is enough to distract them from the general imperfections.
My experience with gottaGolf grew me in many ways as both a product designer and an invested colleague. As a designer, it hit a growth spurt in me with UCD; our users were vocal and we had direct access to them. Building features with their feedback coupled with our analytics proved to be incredible beneficial as we steered the product vision.
As a partner in the company, the choices that we made could ultimately affect us all. I learned valuable lessons about trust and being trusted among my peers. The time spent building the gottaGolf product will have a lasting impact on my career as a both a contributor and a leader.