Virgin Mobile

The Project

Virgin Mobile USA relaunched their brand as the only iPhone exclusive mobile carrier. A new iOS app was needed to support customers signing up for their Inner Circle plan offering one year of unlimited service for $1.
Timeline: 16 weeks, resourced: 16hrs/ week. Ground up redesign.
Result: App Store rating increase from 1.9 stars to 4.6 stars.

UX Process

  • Methods: Business analytics analysis, secondary research analysis, feature prioritization, MVP road-mapping, requirements gathering, digital vision boarding, wireframing, prototyping.
  • Deliverables: High fidelity wireframes created atomically, User flows built in InVision with Sketch+Craft. Contextual annotations in Jira. Animations in Tumult Hype 3.
  • My Role: IA, UX, IX, Visual design


Working with a distributed team can be challenging – especially when operating as a design team of one. While being able to quickly and easily meet with stakeholders via Skype is a great benefit most of the time, it really limits your ability to effectively engage the team initially. This is how I approached design kickoff for the distributed team I was working with.

Digital Vision Boarding

Leveraging the secret board functionality in Pinterest, I created a team vision board that we could use to share our thoughts and ideas and generate healthy initial conversation. The goal of digital vision boarding is two-fold: initially, it helps streamline stakeholders and get everyone thinking on the same page via structured brainstorming; and it allows stakeholders an avenue to share great experiences they come across after kickoff that can automatically be reseeded to the team (as a Pinterest notification) once those experiences are pinned to the board. This is a 60 minute exercise where the first 25 minutes are allocated to letting each stakeholder find and pin at least 5 things each (but no more than 10) to the board and the remaining 35 minutes are spent discussing what was pinned. For this group, because I hadn’t worked with them prior to this engagement, I made a rule that they had to stay within a mobile themed sandbox so we didn’t get wrapped around the axle discussing things that might not be relevant to this (mobile native) project, however, once I have some experience working with a team I would typically not limit them in this way.

Establishing Guiding Design Principles

As each stakeholder shared their pins with the group, themes began to bubble up. As this happened, I documented the thoughts and shared the cumulative themes with the group at the end of the meeting. We then voted on the 3 most important themes to use as our guiding design principles for the duration of the project:

Establishing Information Architecture

After establishing guiding design principles, the next step was to engage the information architecture team and define an organizational structure. The method we used to complete this process was card sorting which we conducted in person at the Sprint usability lab. We aggregated the data to conduct this exercise by looking at the top call drivers coming into customer service and cross referencing those items with features that users were consistently requesting in the App Store, via intercept surveys and the Virgin Mobile community forums. After completing this exercise, we landed on a contextual navigation scheme and decided to move forward with a tabular app layout.

MVP Roadmapping

With a tabular layout agreed on by stakeholders and the information architecture locked in, I worked with the Product Owner to prioritize which features should be developed first. Ideally, we didn’t want to launch until all features were ready, but our mitigation strategy in the event we had to launch sooner was driven by using the weighted average of call volume for all features within each respective taxonomy. This strategy ultimately ensured that we developed the features our users placed the highest priority on and in the event of an early launch that our app would immediately add value for them.