Keyline Pushing

Project Android App
Role Design and Engineering
Team Independent
Keyline Pushing Screens

Introduction

Keyline Pushing is a side project that I designed and developed. It is an Android app that overlays Material Design keylines and a grid on the screen, which allows designers and developers to inspect their own product’s sizing and spacing, as well as calculate dimensions for other apps.

My Role

The idea came to me while discussing the importance of alignment and grids in design, and after some initial proof of concept validation, I set about building it. I was the only resource on this project, covering everything from user research and design, to engineering and execution.

User Value

Initial research lined up with my hypothesis that a grid overlay app filled a significant gap in the product testing phase. Designers could be able to verify if the resource handoff and asset implementation was in line with the spec, and developers could check if the components lined up to the grid and keylines.

Ideation and Testing

The first round of testing I conducted was qualitative, reaching out to developers and designers and understanding how a tool like this would fit into their workflow, and what features were essential to making it successful.
The ideation phase followed, where I brainstormed how the user journeys would look and how developers could seamlessly make it a part of their testing, and once I had an early prototype in place, I set up a beta testing program through Google Play that let me keep a feedback loop open while I built and refined the app.

Design and Engineering

Since I was the only person on the project, I set aside a few hours every day and settled into a weekly sprint model, wherein at the start of every week I began brainstorming and realizing a feature, then moved on to prototyping and building it. I shipped the bulk of the product in two phases after the prototype, and once it hit a stable channel, I began gradually shipping extra features in two-week cycles.

Impact

Keyline Pushing was met with an incredibly overwhelming momentum that I hadn’t foreseen. While the initial feedback in beta had been positive, the stable launch saw the app being adopted by engineers at Google, Facebook and LinkedIn. Google went on to recommend the app in its Android Basics guide and give it a shoutout, developers began recommending the app at conference talks and on podcasts, and it was even used during a talk at Google I/O!

Takeaways

Working on a project that went from side-project to a widely used app was a phenomenal experience. In addition to designing for a very new target audience composed of developers and designers, I was also able to hone my engineering skill set, and try my hand at marketing the app, making it one of my accomplishments I’m most proud of.