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Sonim Zone

How can a rugged phone company create for the technology-averse?


In 2017–18, I worked with phone-maker Sonim Technologies. At the time, the NYC Police Department had just deployed iPhones to its entire workforce. Sonim was worried that its competitive advantage in building the most rugged, strongest phones wouldn’t cut it in the face of sleeker alternatives.

We were asked to find new directions for the company.

Our team of four decided to focus on Arborists. We conducted interviews, tested prototypes, and overtime mapped out a hierarchy of needs.

One of our key insights was that Arborists often entered their professions because they were technology-adverse to some degree. The phones they used on-the-job had slowly become micromanagers opposed to their enjoyment and focus. Modern phones took them out of the “zone”.

We proposed Sonim Zone, a suite of tools that empower without an emphasis on the screen. In essence, this reduced context switching when in the working environment.


  • Nina Gibbs
  • Andrew Lee
  • Lee Marom
  • Ian Sparkman

My Contributions

  • Conducted User Research
  • Supported Design Thinking
  • Led UI Design
  • Presented to Executives


  • Needfinding
  • Interviewing
  • Observation
  • Mindmapping
  • Sketching
  • Prototyping
  • Usability Testing
  • Sketch
  • InVision
  • KeyNote


At the end of the project, we presented our direction to Sonim’s executive group.

Our intent was to teach the design principles we defined.