Design an App Start to Finish
I sometimes have to search across various streaming platforms to find specific content. First I search Netflix. Then search Hulu. Then Prime. If you check Prime first, you might end up paying $4 for a movie that is free on another platform. Because these are competitors, there’s no way to streamline this, but I saw an opportunity to help viewers find content they’re looking for.
What can I learn about this before starting my design?
Two apps already exist that do this, and Roku users are able to use the search feature to find which platform their content is on. Through secondary research I learned the two apps, JustWatch and Reelgood, have some major flaws in regards to UX patterns and cluttered content. User research would help me determine what features users actually want in an app.
I sent out surveys to gather quantitative data. I wanted to gather insight into what devices people used. Also, if they use more than one streaming platform. If most users only subscribe to one streaming service, then this app wouldn’t help them. I’d be trying to fix a problem that wasn’t there. I used a Google Forms questionnaire to distribute my survey.
When asked if they used more than one streaming service, 81% of respondents stated that they did. If the number would have been less than 50%, I would have considered changing projects. 45.8% of respondents use a Roku, followed by 25% who use the Amazon Fire Stick. Google’s Chromecast and Apple TV tied for third in usage, while other answers trickled in behind. 77% of respondents said they do search across various platforms for their desired content.
I think Root could be adapted to a TV screen size, taking you straight to it regardless of the streaming service by simply clicking on the content.
Designing the Experience
It was time to begin sketching ideas. I followed commonly-used patterns found in the existing apps that users would be familiar with and made them cleaner and more intuitive. I left out content that survey respondents said they weren’t interested in. This includes too much information (details about the cast/crew) and a digital remote.
I created annotated sketches so that when I got into Figma, I had reference material. My sketches consisted of six pages: Log In/Sign Up, Initial Setup, Home, Account, Search Results, and Specific Content. I also created a hamburger menu, but ultimately decided against it and instead opted for an account/profile icon.
I wanted to see how my sketches would work as a prototype instead of a wireframe or hi-fi design. I understand that time constraints sometimes leads to apps being tested this way. I had 22 users take part. All tasks were completed with over a 92% success rate.
I already had in mind what theme I wanted to go with for the UI. I wanted to incorporate a dark neumorphic theme, knowing that sometimes users might use it in an area with the lights turned off. I also added a light mode for those that want the flexibility.
I wanted to brand the app as something simple, mono-syllabic, and carrying more than one voice. In an infinite void of streaming services, tv shows, movies, and other content, sometimes you don’t want to explore. You want to get to the root and find exactly what you’re looking for.
Finally, I ran the design through whocanuse.com to check for any visibility issues that might be present for those who have any form of colorblindness or contrast sensitivity. No visibility issues were present.
So what did I learn?
If I were to do this project again, I’d love to do more research into what other features users would want the app to do. I want to expand upon this app and design something that people would use daily whenever they’re sitting down at home to watch a show or movie.
Extra features I’m interested in exploring are: adding content based on a cable/satellite subscription, a virtual remote, and the ability to select content and have it begin playing on the television or other connected device.