Discover — from facebook

Discover is a mobile web and Android app that enables people to browse any site on the internet using a daily balance of free data from their mobile operator. Intended as a partnership tool for emerging markets, our hope was that more people would be able to access and find value in the internet. I was brought in as a lead designer to solely design, launch, and evolve the product. I helped guide this effort for a total of two years. Today it’s still live in many countries across the globe.

Full background — around the world, many people remain unconnected or under-connected, regularly dropping off the internet when they run out of data. Discover is designed to help bridge these gaps, keeping people connected more consistently until they can purchase data again. Discover is directly addressing the barriers of affordability, accessibility, and awareness.

As this was built as Facebook partnership product, it had to make sense for mobile operators to adopt. That meant providing them the tools to give away free data in a business model that would lead to them retaining new customers long term.

Facebook connectivity
To the Play store
Press: Tech Crunch, TNW, The Verge
Presentation deck for leadership, emerging markets deck for advocacy
Years 2018 — 2020

Primary mechanics — Each day, people will get a balance of free data from their participating mobile operator. Discover provides low-bandwidth browsing, enabling people to browse text on any website; stretching their free daily data. People can always choose to load other content on the internet, such as videos.
To enable people to browse the internet using free data, we routed web traffic through the Discover proxy and temporarily decrypted it to hide video, audio, and other high-bandwidth content. Some of the greatest design challenges were maintaining a baseline level of usability in a complex product, as well as ensuring that it worked on many different types of Android and feature phones.
Educational experience — we added targeted educational experiences at low tech users; visual signals around features, with other educational formats that increase confidence and provide a more supportive learning environment.

Colors — our color palette lived on a purple spectrum. The intention here was that purple would represents free data; hopefully over time this would become an important visual cue, and one that could be used in other Facebook created products that use free data.

Discover & COVID-19 —
When COVID-19 hit we had an opportunity to use this product to increase access to health information and help fight misinformation at the same time. Additionally we wanted to send more traffic to the World Health Organization wesbite was now available fully for free through discover.

The solution we landed on was a special card to draw attention to new COVID information with a direct link to the WHO website. Additionally we managed to add a dedicated section of vetted COVID information sources.