AOL Connected Life Digital Experience

AOL was a client of my agency, Awesome Giant. This project was a very early stage stealth project. My agency filled the UX and Brand role, and helped redefine the core product features and experience. We spent 10 months doing many many rounds of user testing, iterations, refinements, new concepts, more testing, etc. Below is just a small snapshot of the process. The final deliverable was a full set of details wireframes for multiple screens, for dev to begin implementation. A MVP prototype was presented to the AOL board for approval to continue with the concept.

Creative Team

  • Marie Thacker, Creative Director
  • David Hoang, Sr. UX Designer
  • Hoby Van Hoose, UX Designer
  • Tony Yates, Sr. Brand Designer
  • Ken Ohnemus, User Researcher
  • Jennifer Blue, Brand Development

Research & Brainstorming

Started with background on work to date, and held several collaborative brainstorming sessions. Looked at possible personas, and spent time researching similar properties in both features and design. Put together a rough moodboard of visual inspiration.

Personas, excerpt


Early Brand Exploration

Started with some very blue sky naming exercises and simple color palette to establish a starting point.


Wireframe Sketches

Spent some time working thru concepts with quick ‘n’ dirty pen & paper sketches. Then once a direction was established moved into lofi wirerames.


Skin Concept Wires

Skinned selected concept wireframes to prep for initial round of user testing.


User Testing

Tested a broad sweep of things in this first round. User behaviors, AOL brand vs Unknown brand, content desires, look and feel, and UX concepts of course.

Refine Concepts

Based on results from initial testing, refined product concepts further for second round. Also simplified the visual design so as not to distract from the actual content and functionality.


User Testing

Another round of concept testing, honed in on specific content and interaction questions, as well as user behavior for the product itself.

Test Plan

Test Findings

Brand Development

Circle back to brand development, and explore new names, logo concepts, and visual direction.


Full Product UX for Dev

Spent months iterating and developing the full product UX. You can see V1, then final V10 below. These were handed off to Dev for implementation, and a handful of screens were designed to establish look and feel for core set of design and UI elements.


Full UX, V10 for dev handoff…

Refine Product Brand

Based on feedback from testing, and internal stakeholders, refine and finalize logo, and extend color palette to example designs and themes for implementation.


Finalize Visual Design

Skin all wires for all device types, deliver to dev for prototype implementation. Covered android os, iphone, ipad, android tablet, laptop.

MVP Product Demo

Final stage of the project, after 10 months of design, research, and implementation, was a working proof of concept prototype on a variety of devices. This was presented by our team to the AOL board for the “ok” to continue the project.