SPG App for Google Glass

Client: Starwood Preferred Guest
Role: Creative Direction / App Design / UI Design

SPG for Glass was the first travel app launched on Google Glass and it let guests search and explore over 1,100+ Starwood Hotels and access key information about the Starwood Preferred Guest program. 

glass2The SPG for Glass app was designed specifically for Google Glass to take advantage of its unique form factor and functionality which meant that we had to completely rethink our design and content strategy for Glass’ small screen, simpler user flows that could be controlled with voice commands or swipes and a Google Glass users unique information needs.

Key learnings from this project

Success takes many forms

We developed an app for Google Glass because we thought it would be the next great platform. We did it because we knew other platforms like Apple Watch would be coming, and we wanted to get real design engineering experience developing a wearable app.

New platforms need time and patience

We had to redevelop the SPG Google Glass app three times because of major updates Google made to the development platform. Without us having prepped leadership and asking for time and patience, it would not have gotten us the knowledge we needed.

Voice-driven experiences need new approaches

This was an early example of voice-driven UI where the user’s voice-controlled the interface visuals on Google Glass. We needed to architect a number of new approaches to make this work in the app and booking flow.


You learn by creating, not by talking

I was chosen as one of the first Google Glass Explorers through the #IfIHadGlass competition where you had 140 characters and 5 photos to say what you would do with Google Glass. I wasn’t interested in Glass because I thought it would be the next great mobile consumer device as it was obvious from the start that the device would have serious limitations but because it was the first major consumer device to enter the wearable space. Other brands had created wearable devices but they were plagued with design, software, and hardware limitations that kept them from being able to create a compelling guest experience. So I wanted to design an app for Google Glass to get the hands-on experience of designing for wearables and more importantly so I could understand how apps on these new form factors would be successful. This was a different strategy from many other brands who chose to simply create a simple screenshot and talk about what they might do someday on wearables. The insight that I gained from creating this app on Google Glass ultimately lead to the very successful and highly visible design work that was done for Apple Watch.


Wearable app design requires in-the-moment experiences

I had made a mistake in the past of thinking that I understood how consumers would use mobile since I understood how they used websites and I didn’t want to repeat that mistake with wearables. It quickly became obvious that to create a successful wearable app, the smaller form factor would require that I change the way I think about app design. To be successful, these new apps would have to focus on creating experiences that helped the user with tasks they want to accomplish right now. This is a change from interaction on a computer which is usually for events within the year and the year ahead, and for mobile devices, which are for events a month in the past and in the future. 


Search and book hotels by proximity, airport code, destination, or hotel name

SPG for Glass lets you search through Starwood’s over 1,100 luxury hotels and resorts through the ‘ok glass’ menu. Users can search near their current location by destination, airport code, or hotel name. The search is performed by simply saying ‘OK glass find a place to stay with SPG in (location)”. Search results are then displayed as a timeline where users can call the hotel, get turn-by-turn directions, and see photos of the hotel and local area.

State-aware app design for dynamic information curation

SPG for Glass also brings our state-aware concept to Google Glass by keeping users up to date on upcoming stays as 72 hours before an upcoming stay, SPG for Glass will automatically add the hotel and all of its information into your timeline so you can easily get turn-by-turn directions, call the hotel or see what your room will look like. Users are also kept up to date on all of their SPG activity as any changes to their account will automatically appear in their timeline.


Now live for all Google Glass Explorers

The app is available to all Glass Explorers through the Glassware section of their MyGlass page.