Affordable voice calls for everyone

Tango Out makes keeping in touch with friends and family easy and affordable by providing free and paid domestic and international voice calls.


Aside from offering a free video calling service, Tango also wanted to offer standard voice calling. Much of the user base still relied on domestic and international phone calls to keep in touch with friends and family from around the world.

The Challenge

Tango wanted to round–out the calling experience that brought it much success during it's initial launch by bringing in free & paid voice calling.

I led the product strategy and visual design for Tango Out. A feature used by millions of people to make phone calls around the world on both Android and iOS.

The Approach

I did just enough research to have a solid understanding of habits and motivations. I synthesized learnings from recent user and market studies to drive our planning phase. Below are the key insights that motivated the initial version of Tango Out's relaunch:

Smarter defaults

I believe people want simple but useful default actions that yield value immediately. People want to be able to take action without needing to weight the effort required. They want simple tools that allow them to do a lot.

Improved discoverability

I believe people will make more phone calls when the effort required to take action is low. The dial pad should be within reach if they want to call someone who isn't on Tango already. Having the dial pad available, but not be obtrusive will play a key role with feature adoption.

Evoke positive emotions

I believe people generate a negative emotion when they either miss a phone call or fail to reach someone. Tango Out should help people to make a successful phone call after the first their failed attempt. Successful connections would lead to better conversions for inviting others.

Mitigate fear

I believe Callers who do not buy credits do not want to feel burdened by having to keep track of credits. As the old saying goes, "out of sight, out of mind." A person's Credit Balance is only important to them when they actually have a balance.

Confusing call methods

People had a difficult time understanding differences between Tango-to-Tango calls and Tango Out calls. Not only did they not know which calling feature they were using when trying to make a call. They also didn't know when to use either feature.

Fear & Credits

Many people showed concern about the costs of calling someone. Whether it was free video and voice calls or Tango Out. They ended up being fearful even when making free calls. This had to change.

The Outcome

After 4 months of rapid iterations on both the design and the builds, the app is now at 4 and a half stars in Apple's app store.

I simplified the calling experience by focusing on meaningful core interactions that create value. A clear and usable experience was the icing on the cake.

Accessible when needed, out of the way when you don't

At the beginning, we had the assumption that having the dial pad open from the start would be clear. I decided to keep the dial pad hidden until the user showed clear intent of wanting to dial. Tapping on the FAB revealed the dial pad distinguishing free calls and Tango Out.

Focused on making successful connections

When the dial pad isn't open, the focus is on the Call Log. The call log lists every call made, received, or missed. Highlighted entries act as subtle nudges to take care of missed calls.

Returning missed calls is a tap away

When it comes to being helpful, timing and context is essential. No one likes interruptions when the timing or context is out of place. We wanted to be helpful when you need it, but not overbearing when you don't.

A quick call back option presents itself if you check your phone within minutes of missing a phone call. This experience enhances ability at the right time within the right context. We'll help you make a successful connection with best effort possible.

Calculating time shouldn’t take long

We all catch ourselves spinning wheels parsing timestamps at times. Sometimes its quick, and at other times it feels like a lot of cognitive load. We decided to provide contextual timestamps in buckets of time we all ready sort by.

"Just now" timestamps gave people the feeling of being able to return the missed call and having a chance having a successful phone call.

Deferred decision making

Using the call log defaults to using the last call method used during the last call. The caller no longer has to worry about which calling method to use. The user is presented with call options in the situation where a contact qualifies for various call methods or numbers.

Quickly find who you want to talk to

We gave the user multiple ways of find who they wanted to call. Android's T9 search capability was a common behavior pattern among our Android users. Match-based search was provided for both iOS and Android users.

The Takeaways

Quid pro quo

Asking the user to do something for you is much easier when you leave them with a good experience. The lasting impression of quality and accomplishment leads for sharing without much effort. Successful calls led to more invites sent and conversions.

Only a means to an end

The real experience that people attach value to was the actual call itself. The responsibility of the dialing experience is to set the perceived speed of making a phone call. This accounted for half of the entire calling experience from end to end.


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