3DR Solo App

Overview

The Solo app streams HD video from the GoPro attached to the Solo drone down to the phone in real time. The app is highly integrated with the vehicle, controller, and camera. The Solo app is equipped with automated shots to help users easily get great aerial photos and videos without being a highly skilled pilot.


Research

From our first product, and market research, we defined our target audience as GoPro owners and prosumer photographers. We primarily interviewed Phantom owners to define feature parity and understand the users’ workflow. I went on ride alongs with filmmakers and videographers to observe their workflows, understand pain points, and look for opportunities to make the product experience better.

Through this research we came to understand that it is really hard to get professional grade aerial video without being an expert pilot with years of experience. It usually takes two people - one to pilot the vehicle and the other the direct and control the camera.

Feature Set

Through this research we came to understand that it is really hard to get professional grade aerial video without being an expert pilot with years of experience. It usually takes two people - one to pilot the vehicle and the other the direct and control the camera.

Smart Shots

Through our research we discovered there were a few cinematic shots that were really common but really hard to get. So we developed what we called smart shots - which are semi-autonomous flight modes that let users focus on controlling the camera and not flying.

Information Architecture

I created an architecture of the app after we had a good understanding of the features. Documenting all the components helped me keep think holistically about the app as I moved on to user flows.

Smart Shots user flow

Task flows helped us to think through the design, before a feature is actually developed. It helped us to interject the user into the flow of the application, and determine if the conceptual model agrees with the user model.

Design Principles

We knew the main focus would be on the video and that it would be mounted in the controller, so a landscape view made most sense. We wanted to keep UI simple as possible, and reduce task flow to one thing at a time. It’s like driving a car, there are a lot of environmental variables that are changing so the user has to be able and ready to account for those events.

Wire Frames

My next step was to visualize the user task flow. I started with some quick sketches and continued with creating high-fidelity mockups.

Functional Specifications

In addition to wire frames, I also created functional specifications to describe the interactions and flows of the app. This helps me understand all the parts in the system including the controller and vehicle behaviors. Here is one example of the Cable Cam functional spec.

Visual Design

The app is fairly large with a lot of UI elements including the whole settings section with connect instructions and firmware updates and home screen. The app was designed for both iOS and Android and had to look as similar as possible because of our limited design and support resources.

Android UI Guide

User Feedback

Over the course of 8 months we had 3 major software releases with new app features based on our users’ feedback. We had 4.5 star rating in the App store before we stopped supporting the current app.