In April, we introduced you to Paul Bauer and Željka Hassler from the Hudl product team. Last month, we introduced you to Tarryn Moss, senior product manager. This month, we’re following up with Hassler as we continue running our beta tests, tweaking and perfecting Focus Flex before its release.

Want to be in on all things Focus Flex? Stay ahead of the curve by joining our waitlist for exclusive behind-the-scenes content and updates.

“While many paradigms served Hudl well with previous cameras like Focus Indoor and Focus Outdoor, we had to break away from them.” Željka Hassler

Hudl’s First Portable Camera

When Hassler and her team thought about what makes a portable, outdoor camera different, there were a lot of parts, pieces and user experiences to consider. The team had to start thinking differently in terms of what coaches and athletes needed from this kind of technology.

“As a designer, you have to think big and work small at the same time, understanding the engineering complexity behind every feature, innovation and user flow," said Hassler. "All the things we create for our customers are layers and layers of iterations, each one hopefully building on the last one with learning and testing."

Key Differences

A portable camera comes with a host of differences from its fixed counterparts, which presented the design team with some unique challenges. 

Focus Indoor and Focus Outdoor provide coaches with clear and concise film to pick up on even the smallest of details, giving them the ability to hone in on the moments that count.  But our indoor and outdoor cameras are permanently mounted—Focus Flex needs to be portable, which means taking into account new variables to ensure durability and convenience, and create the most automated process possible. 

Focus Flex will also lack the constant network connectivity and power that the indoor and outdoor cameras have. The team knew they needed to address these factors, while finding ways to take advantage of the natural portability and convenience the camera would possess.

Because of its portable nature, Focus Flex comes equipped with a tripod mount that has its own set of variables at play, like wind, setup location and a learning curve. Hassler and her team had to think hard about how to approach these pivotal differences and help them exist in a way that makes sense in a portable device.

While previous cameras had a 24-hour manual calibration turnaround time, Hassler and the product team went all-in, creating a user flow that allows calibration to be complete in under five minutes. 

Of course the stability and reliability of a permanently mounted camera can be nice, but calibration under five minutes on a portable device? That’s an immeasurable amount of time saved. By ensuring that short calibration upfront, coaches won’t have to wait nearly as long after the game for their video to process and be ready to analyze.

“Through investing in user learning and development, these processes will only become more automated and convenient,” Hassler said.

Milestones and Challenges 

Creating Focus Flex has been a labor of love, and there have been key moments along the way that showed the team they're moving in the right direction.

“Two great milestones that come to mind are when we recorded the first video with the alpha Focus Flex and I got to kick a ball in [the frame]—that was a highlight for me for sure,” said Hassler.

Hassler and her team used tests like this to see the Focus Flex prototype in action, review the film and make continuous adjustments and updates.

“Another milestone that we reached recently is seeing people use the Focus Flex camera and give us rounds of feedback,” said Hassler.

This past February, we took a big step in beginning our beta test with a select group of clubs. Coaches and their teams were able to try out the Focus Flex camera and share feedback during the spring season, allowing us to use that information to make further improvements and updates. 

While this process was a big step towards making Hudl's portable camera the filming solution for clubs, it still came with its own set of challenges.

“Challenges show up in different places at different times of the product life cycle," said Hassler. "A year ago the main challenge was just getting to the first version of the device. Now it's improving the customer experience in detailed workflows. Each part of the product development process has its own unique challenges."

This one-stop-shop filming solution wouldn’t be possible without our product team. Through their many challenges and subsequent milestones, they're ensuring the best user experience and camera for you.

Not part of the waitlist yet? Join now to get the opportunity to give us your feedback and help shape the future of Focus Flex.