Google Names & Faces

"At the beginning of each new semester or school year, teachers are faced with the challenge of remembering names for a large number of new students. Design an experience to help an educator match faces to names, with the goal of shortening the time needed to reach complete un-aided accuracy."

While applying for Google's Summer Internship, I was assigned to complete the Names & Faces project within 8 hours.

  • Client: Google
  • Roles: UX Researcher, UX Designer
  • Toolkits: Sketch, Photoshop, Material Design, Google Slides
  • Duration: 8 hours


“Design an experience to help educators match faces to names with un-aided accuracy within a shorter duration of time”


To get a better understanding of Google’s design process, I combined Google's Design Methodology along with Dan Nessler's Double Diamond Design Process. As Originally the Google Design Sprint Process is designed to be run by teams.

Design Process Overview

Design Process Overview

— Process 1 of 4 —



I started by questioning the brief, enabling me to keep an open mind, think broadly and consider everything. With this information, I was able to analyse the situation and decide how much knowledge and detail I would need going forward.

You can view the complete list here, below is a summary:

  • Scope of project? Limitations other than time? Possibilities in given timescale?
  • Are students enrolled & documented electronically? Teachers access?
  • Teachers current techniques? Existing tools available? What mediums used?
  • Any proven memorisation techniques for names?
  • Who is the product aimed at Teachers or Schools?
  • Focus on Primary or Secondary education? State, independent, grammar, or specialist schools?
  • Teacher’s schedules at start of new school year? When could they learn student’s names?
Evaluating fields of interest

Evaluating fields of interest

I clustered my findings into topics to get an overview and see how to scope the research with the time limitation in mind.


Teachers were the main stakeholder of this project as the main users of the experience to be designed. I needed to understand more about their existing approach to memorising student's names.

User interviews

I conducted user research with an inner London state secondary school teacher, had I had more time I would have involved more teachers. I focused on the following areas:

  • How do they currently learn student’s names? How long does it take?
  • How much time do they have to focus on learning student’s names?
  • Are there any existing tools they use for this? How effective are they?
  • What challenges are they faced with while trying to memorise student's names?

Affinity Diagram

Based on the user research, I applied Affinity Diagramming to incorporate users’ statistics and their experience of memorising student's names. The data was utilised to gain users' pain points and outline their current user journey map.

  • User pain points

    User Problems

  • User Journey Map

    The teachers current journey map demonstrated a variety of pain points highlighted in the "FEELINGS" section. It revealed a range of opportunities to create potential solutions to improve their experience. User Journey Map

— Process 2 of 4 —


Summary of Research Findings

I clustered my findings to see if the research revealed dominant themes. The insights I gained uncovered the following opportunity areas:

  • Teachers have an incredibly busy schedule at the start of the school year and not much time for memorising student’s names.
  • Teachers view the memorisation of the names as vitally important as they believe this to be the crucial building block in establishing a relationship with their students.
  • No current tools for memorisation, relying on traditional methods of memorisation without the use of technology which frustrates them.
  • Teachers have no way of tracking progress or methods of testing their knowledge and are unable to determine what areas they might need more focus on.
  • Teachers don't have constant access to student’s names & faces to be able to memorise the names and faces at any given time or place.

How Might We

Based on the above insights I created HMW (How Might We) questions transforming the challenges into opportunities for design and to create a framework for innovative thinking:

How Might We Questions

How Might We Questions


Based on the HMW questions, I decided to focus on the following:

  • Ensuring the experience can be accessed by teachers anywhere and at any time of day, I will be creating it in the form of a mobile app.
  • Based on the research, I will focus on creating the following features:
    • Allow teachers to track their progress to focus on areas of development.
    • Students photos and names are provided through access to the existing school database, streamlining the data entry process for instant access for teachers.
    • Safety features added to secure student’s information. Supplying each teacher with the names and photos of their students only.
    • Gamifying the process to accelerate memorisation. Through the application of a variety of visual games and quizzes, the results will facilitate progress tracking.
    • The ability to use it as a point of reference for teachers.

— Process 3 of 4 —


Creative Matrix

I began the ideation process by producing a creative matrix to expand my thought process and spark new ideas. This was a great opportunity to develop a divergent way of thinking when generating solutions for the selected focal points established in the previous phase.

Creative Matrix

Creative Matrix

Once completed, I went through the matrix and selected the ideas I think best tackled the brief. I would have used visual voting had this been a team exercise. Red outlines indicate chosen ideas.


I quickly sketched out wireframes and selected the ideas to develop further. To aid the development of the prototypes in the following phase, I noted how each screen would work and described its functionality.

Wireframes and Notes

Wireframes and Notes

— Process 4 of 4 —


In the concluding deliver stage, I produced prototypes, conducting two rounds of usability testing, and validated the design.

Paper Prototype

In this phase, I paper prototyped the first version focusing on the features which help teachers memorise student’s names, view their progress and lookup students.

Paper prototype

Paper prototype

Paper Prototype Testing

I carried out the paper prototype testing with three teachers. The test covered five tasks, and one post-question. Two main goals for the testing was to:

  • learn if the solutions meet participants’ needs
  • discover design problems for further iterations

The task completion rate of the prototype was 66%. Feedback on the paper prototype was mostly positive, though some users offered suggestions for improvement on the design. I analysed the feedback and iterated the designs.

“The format of the games are very familiar.” – Participant 2

“I can follow my progress and know where to put in more focus” – Participant 1

“The onboarding feature is easy to complete” – Participant 3

Paper prototype testing - participant 3

Paper prototype testing

Analysis of paper prototype testing

Analysis of paper prototype testing



When naming the app, I searched for a term that combined the characteristics of memorisation, lists, teaching, or a combination of them. I looked for a short word that ideally would be appropriate for the Google brand.

I decided to call it Google Roster. The roster is “a list of the people or things that belong to a particular group”. As the main aim of the app is to memorise a list of names and faces or “rosters” the name felt suitable.

Interactive Prototype

After the iterative process, the high-fidelity prototype was created in Sketch, Marvel and Overflow. It was based on Google’s Materials Design and existing Google apps such as Hangouts.

Roster User Flow

Roster User Flow

The completed hi-fi prototype equips teachers with the tools they need to swiftly memorise their student’s names, customise their experience and use it as a point of reference. It increased the task completion rate to 92%, please explore the interactive prototype below.

Final interactive prototype [Click to explore]

Prototype Demo


This was an incredibly valuable opportunity for me to grow as a product designer.
My key takeaways from this project were the following:

  • Concisely demonstrate the detailed design process, including user personas, and information architecture.
  • Include a brief overview of the key features in the presentation deck. This was added here after completing the design challenge.
  • When scaling the scope of a project, take into account the plethora of possibilities at various stages and make contingency plans.

Lastly but not least, a special thanks to those who were willing to commit their time and participate in interviews and testing under such limited time restraints.