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Canon Irista

Cloud-photography Platform on Web, iOS & Android

Irista is Canon’s cloud-photography platform. It keeps all your photos and videos together – in one safe place – and makes them accessible from any device to view, print and share.

Irista is available on the Web and through native apps for iOS, Android and Apple TV. The platform includes dedicated uploader apps for Mac and Windows and a Lightroom plugin, and WiFi-enabled Canon cameras can upload images directly. Irista has over 1.2M registered users.

My Role

My role at Canon Digital Services covers two years: first as lead product designer for the computer vision team, and then nine months as Head of Design, covering maternity leave.

In the Head of Design role, I managed as many as six designers across four products: Canon Irista, Canon Photo Companion, Canon Photo Print Shop, My Canon Printer

Team challenges

I inherited a situation facing structural challenges. Product development was shared across autonomous agile teams, each responsible for a separate feature area and with one designer in each team. The highest-risk consequence of this set-up was development effort spread too thin and not targeted according to strategic priority. But there were product design downsides too:

  • designers working in silos
  • user experience lacking cohesion
  • new features not aligned strategically
  • lack of design oversight

I addressed these issues by forming a more centralised design team, and encouraging collaborative activity such as workshoping, design demos and group critique. In the new team structure designers more commonly work in pairs, taking responsibility for a set of user stories rather than at a feature level. Product coherence has also been improved by investing in the development of a design system and a set of Sketch Libraries.