Snap is the first drone by drone manufacture Vantage Robotics. Snap is a safe and reliable drone that can capture beautiful content without hurting you.
In the winter of 2015, I worked with Vantage robotics to design and develop their initial mobile app to control the Snap camera. Coming on to the project, they had a working demo but knew it wasn’t consumer-friendly and needed a redesign.
Introduce a more robust and visually pleasing flying experience.
My Role & The Team
Lead designer and product manager working with another designer and six engineers from December 2015 to June 2016.
Auditing the market
Around 2015 there were already various drones on the market that can capture beautiful content. Most notably was DJI and 3DR. However these manufactures designed camera that weren’t the safest to use and also weren’t the most user friendly experiences. As a result, I worked with Vantage robotics to do a full audit of the market and identify key opportunities to stand out amongst the competition.
When i first joined this project, Vantage already had a somewhat working prototype that can communicate with the drone. However it was very light weight in functionality, lacked strong user experience, and needed to be built from the ground up for stronger future development.
The first thing I did when joining this project was working with Vantage to define what the app structure could be. That way we can look holistically and simplify the experience across the board.
There were a few key areas we focused on in the initial release of the iOS app. One of which is autonomous modes where all a user has to do to get that perfect shot is point where you want it to go and say fly. From there the drone will either follow you, capture that gorgeous selfie, or orbit for that cinematic shot.
For these modes, we wanted the UI to be robust yet simplistic so the user can still just quickly set the mode and capture.
We explored use of map indicators as well as augmented display to show where the drone will go.
A key part of the app we wanted to make dead simple was the ability to adjust your settings no matter where you are in the app or doing. Our approach to achieve this simplicty was expose the desired settings and then work our way back. This lead to numerous explorations, including what kind of hit targets were ideal, how we can best catagorize settings so you knew exactly were things were, and much more.
Another crucial part of the app we knew we had to get right was the main HUD display. We wanted to make sure important settings where just a simple tap away while still reminng simplistic and clear.
Some areas we spent alot of time on where things like how to control posiion of the drone while preventing slipage, how to record both video and photos, how to safely land and manage the drone, and oh so many more.
After we went through numerous rounds of revisions. we got closer and closer to our inital release.
This release included three main parts of the app; one being where you can manage recordings and overall app settings, another being a free flight experience, and lastly the ability to execute various flying modes.
Along with this release we also produced drone api documentatio, engineering guidelines, and design guidelines. that way going forward Vantage had a strong foundation to build from.