Google Local Guides

Led a strategy effort to envision a new community for a fast-growing Google program designed to elevate user-generated content.

Local Guides Connect Feature

About the Project

Local Guides is a global community of explorers sharing their discoveries on Google Maps. The Local Guides Community - Local Guides Connect - provides a central portal for guides to interact with others, plan local meet-ups, discuss local best practices, enhance their digital reputation, and get rewarded.


Strategy lead, research lead, strategy & user experience workshop director, prototype lead, design consultant.


Strategy Workshop

Local Guides Strategy Workshop

Winning design is informed design:

  • Analyzed user research (survey data, stakeholder interviews)
  • Led an in-person strategy workshop with key stakeholders to define key business drivers and priorities
  • Conducted an in-person experience workshop to envision the solution.

Moments That Matter

Local Guides Moments That Matter

As part of the experience workshop, we invited Google to participate in small group sessions to create user stories based on key persona data. The stories, combined with prior strategic exercises informed the protype design:

  • What key interaction moment do we want to win?
  • Who are the key players in the story?
  • What are they trying to do, what do they actually do, and how do they know when they're done?
  • How is the story impacted by external forces, such as language or culture?

Journey Mapping

Local Guides Journey Mapping

After we polished the stories, I led a cross-functional team to analyze the results, keeping these tenets in mind:

  • How does the prototype inform a design language for this project? How does the language inform the prototype?
  • What core Lithium components could be applied to the story?
  • What developmental customizations might we want to introduce?
  • What can we do now? What must we deprioritize given time, scope, resource constraints?


Local Guides Prototype

We translated the stories into a platform-actionable prototype:

  • Authored the prototype in Sketch
  • Used Invision to create the prototype (hotspots)
  • Kept fidelity low to be nimble
  • End goal was to get user feedback, iteratively refine, then prioritize a set of MVP requirements for development.


This project soft-launched in mid-July 2016, with several innovative features for Lithium and Google:

Local Guides Results


With Google, I'm learning to embrace the test-and-learn process, and to be comfortable with failing and correcting: