• Design & Experience Director. Strategy. Vision.

Ancestry Mosaic

Discovering the culture and traditions behind your DNA

Dec, 2019
Ancestry Mosaic

What does it mean to be Irish?

Through user research and generative methods, we found an unmet need in the world. Customers wanted to explore deeper into their DNA, beyond a pie chart, and know "what does it mean Irish/Norwegian/German" and more.

Mosaic helps people connect with cultures, traditions, values, lifestyles, foods, and more from the DNA they inherited from around the world.

Ancestry Mosaic iOS screens
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Sketches, whiteboard drawings, and the making of Ancestry Mosaic

Getting There

Working with VP's of Design and Product, I lead a team of designers through multiple, iterative design challenges to find a single, simple way for people to explore cultures related to them.

We started with a large set of teams utilizing design sprints to get started. Teams worked from a prototype showcasing the product vision and strategy. Through multiple iterations and beta releases on the web, we found that customers were seemingly not interested in the experience. Our product lacked cohesion and rationale, and was complicated with messy navigation.

In the last half of the year, the design team came together to formulate a new strategy. We focused on a sole platform and worked to create a simple experience that could span and scale. Multiple concepts were created and tested, eventually simplifying down to a core experience. But we had a tight timeline to release by the holiday season. With ten weeks of design and development work, we released Mosaic on the Ancestry DNA app on December 20, 2019. Over the next month we measured our metrics and hypothesis and found that our new experience was hitting on all metrics.


  • Designed and created vision prototype for experience
  • Lead multiple teams through design sprints
  • Learned from failures on the web
  • Strategically pivoted to iOS native app
  • Designed custom drag-to-save interaction (patent pending)
  • Drove new visual design for the app
  • Released MVP after 10 weeks of design and development
  • Personally dove into design work, content creation, and JSON feed help
Animation showing our custom drag-to-save interaction via the Onboarding experience
Ancestry Mosaic. Details of the Discovery Belt feature, used to save cards and discover what does it mean to be irish.

The main interaction of Mosaic is a simple drag-to-save micro-interaction. This came about after multiple iterations and testing. Haptic feedback was used while dragging for customer feedback, and saved cards/content are displayed as a stack of cards at the bottom of the screen.

Ancestry Mosaic user Onboarding.

For the onboarding, we wanted to get customers curious to find and explore more about themselves, as well as teach them the basic interaction of dragging to save cards and content. We created a custom animation with motion design to celebrate the success of the interaction, and brought the why back into play with a subtle reminder.

Ancestry Mosaic. Discovery Packs of content about the cultures and traditions from your DNA.

Left: Showcasing the start of our onboarding for the Mosaic feature. Middle and Right: Showcasing new content, displayed as weekly 'packs' based on the customer's DNA and indicated interests.