Nuno Coelho Santos
Product Designer

WhatsApp
Simple, Reliable, Private

WhatsApp illustration by Ana Pérez López
WhatsApp
Product Designer, 2021–Present

In January of 2021, I joined the team at WhatsApp, a messaging service used by over 2 billion people every day around the globe. For a long time I’ve admired the principles in which WhatsApp designs and builds its product.

WhatsApp is focused on creating simple, native, and reliable messaging apps that are also secured with end-to-end encryption. Most of the projects are yet to launch, so there's limited information I can share for the time being. Here's one of the first projects I worked on:

WhatsApp Discover Business Map Schematic Design, by Nuno Coelho Santos

Discover Businesses

I led the design for a new experience that simplifies the task of connecting with a business on WhatsApp. This experience allowed anyone to quickly start a chat with their local favorite restaurant to book a table, find a plumber, or a new house cleaner within their neighborhood, or get customer support from larger brands, banks, telecoms, and so on—without leaving WhatsApp.

This in-app discovery and search experience launched in Brazil in late 2021.



There are no other projects that I can share at the moment.

What I’ve Learned

The design team at WhatsApp is extremely principled, hard-working, and maintains a high bar for execution. All of this comes from the amazing designers and design leadership. I've learned never to compromise on execution and excellence, to strive for taking the long route and achieving the ideal experience instead of compromising or optimizing for short-term gains.

Google Care Studio
Unified Healthcare Data

Google Health
Senior UX Designer, 2019–2021

My team at DeepMind became part of the newly created Health product area at Google in late 2019 to unify our efforts, deliver value more effectively in the healthcare space, and expand into the US market.

The Care Studio is a project still in development, with a limited amount of information that can be shared. Watch the video above for an overview of the offering. Continue reading for some of the efforts I worked on.

Google Care Studio Mobile App, by Nuno Coelho Santos

Transition to Care Studio

The Care Studio mobile app adopts many features from Streams, leveraging the powerful technology developed for Google Health, which offers unified searchable health records.

The project to migrate the Streams interface to use Material Design and Flutter was a stepping stone towards this integration. I worked closely with Dem Gerolemou and Devon Wang on the design language for Google Care Studio. This time, we had the opportunity to refresh our data visualization system, update iconography, and direct a new illustration style.

Vital Signs tab for Google Care Studio, by Nuno Coelho Santos Data Visualization specifications for Google Care Studio, by Nuno Coelho Santos

Data Visualization for Healthcare

I defined the standards for displaying health data in various types of data visualizations, adhering to Google’s data visualization principles.

The goal was to ensure that the data presentation is clinically safe, saves time by being easy to read at a glance, facilitates understanding of values out of range, and makes predicted values easy to comprehend. Added support for gestures and haptics helps clinicians observe changes between two values or values from past data.

Material Symbols for Google Health, by Nuno Coelho Santos Material Symbols workshop in London for Google Health Material Symbols workshop in Palo Alto for Google Health

Material Symbols for Healthcare

As part of the upcoming Material Design 3 update, Google ventured into creating symbols for their icon language that respond to different sizes and weights while still feeling part of the Google identity.

I worked closely with Devon Wang to run simultaneous workshops in the US and the UK to represent different types of health objects, locations, tests, organs, etc., with clinicians, nurses, and other clinical professionals, and create Google's set of icons specific for healthcare that are recognizable around the globe.

COVID-19 Dashboards by Google Health for the NHS, by Nuno Coelho Santos Award for the work on COVID-19 response by Google Health, to Nuno Coelho Santos

COVID-19 Response

During the COVID-19 crisis in 2020, I was part of a small group of designers, engineers and clicians from Google stationed at the Department of Health London helping them set up hospital dashboards tracking available beds, supplies, and test reports. These were presented in TVs across different hospitals in London.

Google recognized my efforts with an award later that year. Thank you, Google, for the opportunity to do the most meaningful work of my life.

What I’ve Learned

In the mix of two teams joining forces with Google Health, I learned a lot about collaboration and co-creation. Bringing together past experiences and ideas to shape something new makes everyone feel included. We can learn from the past but also push ahead with new ideas. It's not just about making products, but also about building strong connections that lead us forward.

Streams
Faster, Better Patient Care

Streams project cover image for Google DeepMind, by Nuno Coelho Santos
Google DeepMind
Senior UX Designer, 2017–2020

I joined Streams in early 2017, shortly after its initial launch led by a small team of brilliant in-house and freelance designers.

Here are some of the projects I worked on:

Streams Material Redesign before & after images, by Nuno Coelho Santos

Material Redesign

I led the redesign of Streams to adopt Material design. I worked closely with Alessandro Suraci and Duncan Fleming to set up a system that merges established design patterns and unique features of our product, both in design and code.

Accessibility was a key focus, with content aligned along two keylines to improve legibility and minimize eye movement during scanning. Grouping content with leading icons or badges enhanced organization. The two-keyline layout also facilitated support for resizable text sizes. Additionally, we revamped all UI copy to ensure conciseness and maintain a consistent tone of voice.

Color Usage Guidelines for Streams, by Nuno Coelho Santos Badge Component Specifications for Streams, by Nuno Coelho Santos Patient Age Formatter for Streams, by Nuno Coelho Santos

Patterns for Healthcare

As part of the redesign of Streams, we embarked on the simplification and standardization of the user interface, with an opinionated focus about how to bring clinical safety to the interface.

The system expands upon Material Design and adds three key patterns: color usage guidelines to reserve hot colors exclusively for conveying patient danger, healthcare-specific user interface components such as National Early Warning Score (NEWS) Badges, and careful documentation of how different types of data should be formatted.

A lot of this formalization was key to our CE-Marking process as a way to prove clinical safety in our product, as well as adherance to the NHS Digital design patterns.

Photo of a nurse holidng an iPhone running the Streams app, shoing a Covid Test Result

COVID-19 Response

In June 2020, we released what would be the last feature in Streams before focusing entirely on Google Care Studio: Displaying COVID-19 patient test results. This feature was critical to help care team protect themselves and their patients during the onset of the pandemic.

I'm incredibly proud of all the work I’ve done as part of the Streams team and for the NHS while working at Google.

What I’ve Learned

My time working in healthcare has been the most fulfilling so far. Working in healthcare also requires constant learning and growth. One of the things I've learned is how important it is to have in-house specialists when working on products so industry-specific. In our team, the clinicians helped us understand workflows, conduct hazard assessments, and gather feedback from patients and other clinicians.

Apps

When not tackling large, complex problems with a multidisciplinary team, I enjoy crafting my own small products to address niche challenges for people worldwide. Download some of my apps below.

Flash Cards for iOS app icon, by Nuno Coelho Santos

Flash Cards iOS

Make cards to remember topics
through spaced repetition.
Join the Beta
Currency for iOS app icon, by Nuno Coelho Santos

Currency iOS

A minimal currency converter,
ideal for travellers.
Download