Cortana on Lock and Home Screen enables users to quickly glance through their day with the Cortana Android app. With the learnings from Next Lock screen, I was set to help a very similar set of “productivity” focused users with an easier way to access their important information, connected to their Microsoft account. By simply swiping or tapping the floating Cortana icon, users have access to their upcoming events, reminders, and updates on their interests.

By helping solve the gap to reduce the friction between our users and their content, managed by Cortana, Cortana on Lock and Home Screen has become one of the top features to drive engagement and retention across all of Cortana’s endpoints.
Cortana on Lock Screen
WORKING with limited resources

I had just recently joined the team, and started the project with one awesome dev, a part time PM, who was instrumental to help me understand my constraints. From working on past incubation products, I like to reference the following framework to generate initial ideas:
• User problem deep dive. What is really going on? What do users really struggle with?
• Competitive analysis. Who are the existing competitors trying to solve similar issues and what are they trying to do?
• Timing. What internal capabilities do we have to be successful?
• How/why does this problem make sense?
• Product positioning statement. “We can address the user problem X by doing Y. We are best in this market because Z.”
• Assumptions. What assumptions are we making? How will we validate these assumptions?
Even though I was building a feature subset for an existing product, I find it helpful to go through this exercise to help understand the gaps and customer struggles across the product.

Fortunately, a number of these questions had been validated with Next lock screen, but there was still a lot of opportunity to learn from our users (G+ community, UserVoice, Mixpanel). Through those findings, I drafted the hypothesis to help Cortana users by “providing a quick and easy way to glance through what’s important in your day.” The next steps were the most fun - to design, build, measure, and learn!
Home Screen Framework overview
Design explorations
Listening to our users

With a growing Cortana community, creating pulse surveys or directly asking them for their feedback has a tremendous value. It's also a great platform to recruit beta users to test out early builds. 

One example where customer feedback help shape the design direction, came along with the introduction of Android 8. It restricted third party apps from running on top of the system lock screen. As we prepared for the transition, I began investigating to what content users expected to see from a post lock experience. 

Customer survey for Cortana on Home Screen

After many iterations, test flights, 2 weeks ship cycles, we finally shipped Cortana on Home Screen. A good number of our user base started upgrading to Android 8 and had already been transitioned to Cortana on Home screen, once the Cortana on Lock Screen no longer worked.

These features successfully brought a significant number of engaged users, who in turn have become long term Cortana app users. It was an amazing experience help design and ship this to production with my team. 
Cortana on Lock Screen
(shown when phone is locked)
Cortana on Lock Screen first run experience
(shown when phone is unlocked)
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