Over the course of nearly two years worth of projects I've worked directly with the design, product, and engineering teams of some of the largest video on demand (VOD) streaming services in the world.
I've worked with two of the largest leading video streaming services on numerous projects over the course of my time at IDEO, and I was fortunate enough to be a part of exploring several key business challenges:
- How might social technologies affect the discovery+viewing experience for both SVOD and Live streaming content?
- How might immersive media technology (VR/AR/360/interactive video) and connected devices change the way we consume–and interact with–new and existing forms of media?
- How might Live TV show up on screens other than traditional TVs?
- How might we better drive utilization of our suite of ad products by designing useful tools for advertisers?
While I can't share specifics of my work publicly, I can say that each of these projects approached these problems through a human centered process of research, synthesis, prototyping, and testing with users.
Early Designs + Research
While we always start with research, we often have a few hunches or hypothesis at the outset. These become scrappy sacrificial concepts that we take into the field not so much to test and validate, but more to prompt users to help us learn. It's often less interesting to learn if they like a concept or not, but rather why they do or not like it.
We always begin with people, looking not so much at our "target market" but rather at the extremes. For example, rather than a typical video viewer, someone who is a superfan who organizes group viewing nights, runs a fansite, and might even live-tweet during his favorite show.
We also look to analogous or immersive experiences around discovery and content. For example, how might a sommelier recommend a wine that pairs with both the meal and the tastes of the people at the table? Or how might a theme park immerse the participant in an experience?
Coming back from the field we take all that we learned and start to look for patterns and inspiration. This is not a tally of which features the most people asked for, but instead we look deeper. For example, in what ways does a super-user evaluate if a film is good for a group movie night? These patterns lead to insights that inspire our designs.
Design + Prototyping
Here we take what we learned into high fidelity prototypes. This phase is the most varied, and over the course of the challenges noted some examples of prototypes I have personally built and contributed to:
- A voice-controlled video interface for kids (Amazon Lambda, Alexa, Node.js, Azure cloud)
- A high-production value film to socialize smart integrations and adaptive conversational interfaces in a realistic setting
Further Testing + Communication
After we build our prototypes we go back to users to continue to test and learn, continuing to iterate through several design loops and refining our insights and design principles. Sometimes this occurs as one-on-one interviews in user homes, or in some cases we've convened design councils that regularly meet to help us co-create our designs.
In some cases, we augment our learning at this stage with quantitative surveys (max-diff, conjoint analysis, latent class analysis, etc). These help us validate our learnings at scale.
And of course, when the time comes to hand off our learnings to the product/dev/design team to take them to fruition, I've been known to make a killer deck...but a killer interactive workshop bringing stakeholders from all those teams together is a lot more effective.
I'm proud to say several of these projects have gone to or on their way to market, or have influenced the design of existing product lines. And in one case, we were able to help keep a more experimental product line in operation through the work we were able to show to Sr. leadership.