With design it's ultimately the process (as well as a designer's ability to adapt it to fit within the broader organizational process) that can make or break a project.
The Story so Far...
DIRECTV brand is synonymous with best-in-class sports, movie, and tv show experience. However, with the sudden spur in web and mobile technology, an entire new crop of content has emerged. This content genre exists solely on mobile devices and web browsers solely.
A few years ago, I was assigned to a relatively small research & development project. The goal was to build a prototype for playing this "web" content on a 10-foot device (with the end goal of bringing this content to our uses).
I was the design lead for this project…
My Initial Reaction
While I was excited to be a part of this, my initial reaction was that this was solely a technology driven approach. And from an experience point of view, we have two key tasks ahead of us –
- Understanding the content type
- Understanding the users who consume this content
Humanizing the Content
Other than consulting on the POC initiative, my first exercise was to get to better understand the life cycle of this content. We started off with some light level user stories.
I also partnered with my research lead and started a user interview initiative. Since video aggregation was at the core of what we were doing, we targeted individuals who were avid tv watchers, consumers of web videos and have used at least one aggregation service (Flipboard, Reddit, Sonos).
We then got hands-on with the key apps in this space to better understand the competition.
Whiteboard & an Existential Crisis
Having some understanding of this space, I collaborate with my product counterpart asked ourselves if there is a unique solution that we can provide in this space…
the Product-Design Strategy
This helped us define a cohesive product-design roadmap and answered key questions like –
- Why we want to play in this space
- What are some unique opportunities we have, as it relates to our users, as well as
- What's the design framework for this content
From Strategy to Execution
Fast-forward to Today
As majority of the design work was wrapping up, the design was shared out with the cross functional team, as well as with the leadership. The project was okay-ed and the timeline was set. I worked very closely with the engineering and QA teams, attending their stand-ups, scrum meetings, and holding regular design review sessions with the key stakeholders. All this was done to ensure that the final product stays aligned with the design, and that the details of the designs were well understood. This was a two-way process as there was ongoing feedback from the team and the leadership on the final design, and details of the design was constantly iterated upon (and sometimes tested) based on the feedback provided.
After quite a few months of hard work, I am glad to say that this product is more or less finished, and almost out of employee beta. Stay tuned, and I will post more about the final design and users' feedback on it.
And as for next steps, we have already tested the finished product and have a list of iterations ready to go :)