Interaction Designer

Google Hangouts Hero.png

Google Hangouts

Product Design

User Experience Design

Mobile App Design

Google Hangouts Redesign


Case study: Google Hangouts


Define the goals of a product; align the user experience with these goals.


A fun, friendship-first communication app that values the user’s privacy and security while providing a relaxed platform to hangout with close friends.


Families, friends from college, anyone looking for a secure and intuitive platform for reaching out to close friends, bypassing mobile plans and tedious browsing of long contact lists.

Individual Contributions

Micro-interactions, Principle Prototype, Animation


Ksenia Ivanoa, Theresa Utanto


Eight weeks


Research > User Testing > Branding > Principle Prototype



Narrowing the Audience

Google Hangouts is an enormously powerful platform with numerous features for numerous audiences. Although we discovered significant business related use cases, we decided to focus on what we already have, which is the name, as well as the playful illustrative design language used throughout the existing app.  

In user testing, We asked participants to perform three tasks. Find a friend, call a friend, and start a group chat.

Participants often had a difficult time initiating these simple interactions due to the challenge of simply finding their intended contact.

In addition, several participants expressed surprise and agitation over google's search feature, where any google user on earth has the ability to text and call anyone else with a gmail account by simply entering their name in the search bar.

User testing Google Hangouts


Key research findings

  • There are privacy concerns

    Our main insight from our research was that users felt the platform was not private enough. Any google user in the world is welcome to search, then immediately reach out to, any other google user.

  • Current flows require too much oboarding

    We identified the group chat function as one of the more confusing interactions. Users want to easily go from call to video, back to call again, depending on their surroundings.

  • Most common use-case is at odds with visual Language

    Hangouts is popular among business people and those seeking to connect without over-using their expensive data plans. However, the name and visual language is designed to attract a younger audience, people who value quick access to their closest friends for casual concersations.

Design Principles

  • Must provide users a private, safe, and personal space

  • Allow task completion with as few clicks as possible

  • Micro-interactions are purposeful, and adhere to design principles

  • Provide users with a casual place to hangout with their friends




Motion studies

I wanted to find a micro-interaction for the main landing view that is playful and intuitive–the kind of interaction you'd expect when wanting to call/text a buddy super fast, on the go. 

Rotating list- Drag a friend to the front to view latest text, tap to initiate new message/call

Rotating list- Drag a friend to the front to view latest text, tap to initiate new message/call

The “Tinder”!

The “Tinder”!

Drag and Drop- Drag a friend into the middle to open contact card with multiple contact options

Drag and Drop- Drag a friend into the middle to open contact card with multiple contact options



Final Features


The Circle

The redesigned Google Hangouts app has a "friendship circle" landing view, where users can drag and drop their closest friends to initiate a conversation. Users also have the option for a tradition timeline view of all their messages. 

Final Feature- The Circle

Final Feature-Adding Friend.gif

Improved Privacy

Users must now have the option of denying any incoming messages from unapproved friends. This not only prevents unwanted initiations from strangers, but allows for a more easily accessible contact list. 



People-first Group selection

Our improved group chat flow allows users to select their group of friends first, then decide which type hangout they'd like to initiate–group message or group video chat. 

New Chat



Full App Run-through

Google Hangouts : A place for you and your friends

Google Hangouts Final Prototype