Google Play Instant
Google Play Instant, formerly Android Instant Apps, lets users experience beautiful and immersive apps and games without installing them on their devices.
I worked on the areas of Discovery, Growth & Engagement, DevEx & Adoption, and Performance.
I worked closely with Product Managers, Designers, Researchers, and Engineers to define new UX patterns and flows to deliver Instant Apps and Games to over 2 billion Android users.
Google Play Instant was announced at Google I/O in 2017 and again in 2018. In addition to working on the UX and branding of Instant Apps and Games, I also prepared the decks presented at both conferences.
When I first started working on Instant Apps, Discovery was our biggest challenge. How would our users find instant apps? Working with several teams at Google, we found ideal places for finding instant apps: Google Play Store, search, social, ads, notifications, and banners.
In the Play Store, we enabled a "Try Now" button resulting in up to 19%-30% additional installs. For example, Viki, a video streaming app, saw monetizable watch time increase almost 5x, from 9 minutes to a massive 47 minutes inside their instant app. The users that they get from their instant app that eventually end up installing, are more valuable than the users that are installing from their Play Store Listing: they register, subscribe and watch more.
Another example is Vimeo, a video-sharing app. When they first launched their instant app, they started off with a really simple experience that allowed users to tap on a URL and start watching a video within a native, immersive video-watching experience. Engagement in their instant app was up 130% compared to other channels. Vimeo's instant app now drives 15% of their installs.
Growth & Engagement
After finding several ingress points for discovery of instant apps, the next focus was re-engagement. How would a user get back to a previously visited instant app? Within the Android framework, we concepted and designed a few moments of re-engagement with an instant app: notifications, recents (overview), pin to home, and Launcher search.
To decrease abandonment, we were constantly working to improve performance. We discovered several ways to reduce latency and increase user engagement.
Working with developers, we helped reduce app size by 20%. We discovered that every 6 MB increase to an APK’s size, decreases install conversion by 1%! By simply reducing the app's size, we increase install conversion. The average size of an instant app is 4MB.
We introduced a delightful loading screen that users perceived as positive and had lower abandonment. We improved latency and cache hit rate by 65%.
In addition to working on the backend to reduce latency, we updated the user consent form to increase user engagement. After rolling out the Google Play Instant as part of the Google Play Terms of Service, we experienced 18% traffic increase, and 18% opt-in increase.
A year after launching instant apps, we began working on instant games. We announced instant games in March of 2018 at the Game Developer Conference. Since the announcement, we have been working with several game developers to launch their instant games. And since the launch of their instant games, game developers have seen the same success with installs as instant app developers.
Google Play Instant is the consumer facing brand of instant apps (and games). I worked with Google Design to create the brand guidelines for Android Instant Apps and Google Play Instant. Android Instant Apps guidelines were the first version of the guidelines. Once we rebranded as Google Play Instant, we updated the brand and brand guidelines. I also created the guidelines for the instant apps badge.
When working with developers building an instant app, many times after publishing, the instant app doesn't work. This can be due to many factors, particularly with the device or account.
Working with our Business Developers, Engineers, and Product Managers, I created a developer debugging tool.
To help our developers, we put together a UX best practices guide. We made the guidelines very clear and simple. I designed generic Android app screens to help developers with best practices to make their instant apps and games successful.
The UX best practiecs guidelines are part of the Android developer documentation to help developers create, run, and debug an Android Studio project containing an instant app or game.
I worked closely with our UX Researcher to create working prototypes for user testing. I designed and built prototypes for seven user studies. We tested in the areas of discovery, re-engagement, and performance.
I attended the usability studies and helped synthesize the data into reports. We then made product decisions and adjustments from the results of the usability studies.
Google is a company driven by data. Working with the product managers, we collected data on the overall gowth and engagement of Google Play Instant. We were very happy with the qualitative data. After launch, we had +20% growth in user acquisitions and double in monthly user adoptions each month.