Contextual Sync

Delivering data to our world's connected devices

The Problem

In today’s ever-connected world, “apps” are no longer just on our phones. We interact with computers, watches, thermostats, cars, shoes, clothing… the list continues to expand. And we expect these devices to deliver us the right information at the right time in the right context.

But what controls that information, and how is it being delivered?

To tackle this problem and to power some of the experiences our teams at the Mobile Innovation Lab were building, our developers built a database that could do just that – deliver specific information in an efficient manner.

UX Design
User research
UI Design
Web design

Contextual Sync | Maria Burke Portfolio

my role

My role as the lead UX and visual designer on the project was to help the team scale the service. The state it was in was fine for internal use, since our team all knew how to use the technology — but it wouldn’t be easy for other teams to learn how to use it. My job was to create a web portal where developers who were new to the service could quickly set up & monitor instances.

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Research

In order to help our users, I had to get inside their heads. And in order to do that, I needed to understand what their lives were like, and how they worked with databases.

Our user research team and myself interviewed countless developers, as well as my internal team members to clearly understand their goals and pain points. We walked through the current ways to interact with the database, and did some competitive analysis on our competitors.

Armed with our research, I led our team in a day-long design thinking workshop to further understand our users, and to clarify our strategy moving forward.

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Information architecture

From there, I worked with our developers and product manager to solidify a user flow.

Dev portal

The developer portal is where developers could go to view and manage all their instances, and to see their data and analytics. This data could update in real-time.

Contextual Sync | Maria Burke Portfolio
Chat demo app | Maria Burke Portfolio

Demo App

I also designed a demo app that that developers could download and use as an example. I used standard UX practices to design both and Android and an iOS version.

Contextual Sync | Maria Burke Portfolio

Marketing page

A few months later the project was picked up again, with the goal to open source our technology. I designed a marketing home page with overview info about Contextual Sync, along with links to the github repo, our demo app, and tech support.

Contextual Sync | Maria Burke Portfolio

Outcomes

Finally, after many months and many iterations, we open-sourced CSync! Many thanks to Frank for killing it on the logo. Check out the live site and the github repo.

Created at the IBM Mobile Innovation Lab in Austin, TX.