Inspiring viewers beyond just watching

This self-directed project included Brendan Pailet and Will Funk. We identified that there is an opportunity to increase user engagement beyond watching and sharing talks. Going forth, the problem statement was:

When a TED Talk video ends, viewers are given no additional information about how they can use the advice or insight, or apply it to their own personal life. This lack of viewer empowerment unnecessarily limits the scope of the TED mission.

So we proposed a new module called TED Challenge. Similar to TED Ed, this is a new way for TED speakers to come up with accessible tasks (similar to homework) for viewers to try after watching the video. Except that this feature is integrated with any regular TED talk.

The ‘challenge’ part of TED Challenge represents an objective-based set of tasks for the user to complete that relate to the content from a TED talk. These tasks are activities ranging in varying difficulty of progression levels, that a user could perform with measurable results, so they know where they stand. The subjectivity of difficulty would be left up to the speaker to decide but for our prototype. We outlined 3 names for the levels: First steps, Maintain, and Grow.

UX process for this project

Screener & User Interview

We spent a lot of time crafting the questions for the screener questionnaire and made sure that the questions were relevant and would reveal insight to current and past behavior regarding the topic of inspiration and watching TED talks.

We re-worded and re-ordered questions around. A lot of follow-up questions were taken out of the screener because they were more appropriate for the user interview. Except for “Have you been inspired by any online content recently?” which prompted the follow-up question: “If so, what was it?” We felt this was important to gauge so we know that respondents’ answers about perception and definition of inspirational content is on same page as our idea of it, which is being inspired from watching talks on TED.

Additionally, there were these 2 questions: “Do you watch Ted?” and “Are you familiar with TED”, the latter of which was removed because we realized that we needed to study people who have actually watched the videos because our problem statement addresses post-watching behavior. Whether or not one is familiar with TED was irrelevant.

Finally, we paid attention to the order of the questions to make sure that answering one in the beginning would not bias an answer for another. In our case, we had “Have you been inspired by any online content recently?” and “Do you watch TED Talks?”. If the latter was placed before the former, then the user would be biased into thinking that ted videos are supposed to inspire them.

Of the respondents who watch TED talks and have recently been inspired by online content, 87% (9/11) indicated that the piece of inspirational content lead directly to some personal action*.

*Action: Performing a NEW behavior with the intent of improving personal condition

The answers from the screener validated our initial problem statement that people want to, and do take action on inspirational online content.

Research Synthesis

Out of 45 respondents, we picked 11 people for the user interviews. Some of the key takeaways were:
1) Not knowing how to take the 1st step in applying ideas to their lives (lack of encouragement).
2) For those who know where to begin, they don’t know what to actually do.
3) People don’t remember specific key points from a talk.

People are still being inspired but all 3 of these pain points made it a fragmented experience for TED viewers. With TED Challenge, viewers will be empowered to take the next step.

Comparative Analysis

Matchmaking — this is a system in which players from a multiplayer mode in a game like Starcraft are automatically matched against each other based on a set of criterias. One of the main criteria is finding players whose ladder points are relatively close to each other. Ladder points are determined by matches won or lost. The matchmaking system attempts to place you into matches at or near your skill level.

This concept is emulated loosely into our feature for finding TED talk videos that align with a user’s accomplishments within the site. These accomplishments include achievements earned from an array of site activities, be it completed challenges, or a login streak, or completing a certain number of challenges, etc. By recognizing these metrics, the site can generate a list of “recommended challenges” on the the dashboard page. This addresses the pain point from users about not having momentum. Additionally this will meet TED’s current KPI of views.

Leaderboard— in most online games, leaderboards allow players to compare themselves with others based on metrics like: total score earned, achievements, wins, losses, etc.

This concept is adapted into a feature on the dashboard page that allows the user to see how they are doing in comparison to other registered users on the site. Users will be able to see each others list of achievements, how others are approaching a certain task from a challenge, and being able to even read and write tips for each other. This feature also addresses the pain points of lack of motivation and encouragement.

Competitive Analysis

TED’s main competitors are 99u and Ideacity. They both feature videos of speakers giving talks about a varying level of topics at privately organized conferences. These conferences also cost a hefty amount of money to attend. In terms of their features on their video pages, TED seems to have the most functionality. Some of these functionalities are only available after logging in. Moreover, TED is the only one that allows viewers to create an account on the site. Essentially, there isn’t anything that TED’s competitors are doing that TED isn’t already doing themselves.

A unique feature from TED is the ability for a viewers to track their “influence”. This means that viewers get a custom link associated with their profile upon account creation. With this link, users can share it with others and track far how that link is re-linked.

One thing that does differ across all 3 brands is how visitors are prompted with the logins. The functionality in question that features a different way of logging in is how users interact with commenting.

TED — users can only comment on discussions if they log into their account which is a unique account created on the TED website. This is more obtrusive compared to Ideacity’s way.

Ideacity — their website automatically detects that if you’re already logged onto your Facebook account, then you can just write comments without having to log into anything.

99u — their process is less obstructive than TED because they give the option to users to log in with common social media accounts such as: Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Disqus.

Persona Creation

Will Funk and I scratching our heads over persona creation, too many, too little?

This was a tough process because we had many different facets of data. It initially suggested that there were more than 1 persona. We went with as many as 3 personas (Admin, Speaker, Viewer). Then we began categorizing the different kinds of viewers such as those who take action and those who don’t take action. But we ultimately realized that there was really just 1 persona that defined the user interview respondents. The ultimate factor that decided 1 archetype persona was the fact that the commonality between the other kind of data outweighed the varying pain points. More importantly, all 11 interviewees wanted to take action after watching a talk and that was the behavior that we wanted to validate from the problem statement. It didn’t matter that their pain points were different because the solution to the problem accomplishes the goal regardless.

Feature Prioritization and Design Studio

Will Funk explaining his v2 sketch

After we painstakingly created the user persona, we used its scenario to guide us through features brainstorming. From the comparative analysis, we decided to adopt a gamification approach to the features. We applied the Design Studio method for rapid ideation of features.

I know it’s hard to see anything from this but we did 3 rounds of Design Studio which created a pathway to our 1st prototype (MVP)

This feature prioritization chart displays the features we came up with and how they addressed the user and business needs.

User Flows & Prototype 1 (MVP)

We mainly designed around the interviewee’s pain points. Most of the features are on the video page (1.1) and the private dashboard (1.2).

Please refer to this chart for referencing annotations on our MVP.
video page

On the video page, all we added was a module beneath the video which encouraged viewers to take action. It showed information such as the number of other people who are on the challenge (D). The start button is a clear call-to-action (I). To address the issue of not knowing where to start or taking the 1st step, there is also a brief preview of tasks within the challenge module (A)(B). This helps viewers ease into the challenge in a non-intimidating way.

challenge dashboard

A majority of our feature ideas are found within the profile page of a user. Here we have gamified features which encourage users by displaying tangible results as badges of achievements(F). A calendar will allow the user to plan out their tasks more effectively and hopefully deter procrastination (E).
Users can also take notes so they can remind themselves which part of the talk addressed a specific task (C). This feature addresses the pain point of remembering specific key moments. Another way to keep users encouraged, we added a social feature in which they can find out how other people are approaching a specific task. Finally, to keep the momentum going, there are “recommended challenges” (G) which is based on the matchmaking concept of matching appropriate challenges based on a user’s list of achievements (F). Consequentially, this drives views up (one of TED’s main KPIs).

Usability Test & Prototype 2

I facilitated the paper prototype while my partners took notes

We tested the MVP on 5 people. The first takeaway was a point of friction after the login phase from the video page to profile page. People forgot what they were supposed to be doing with the challenge after logging in. This could be attributed to several factors:
a) listening to the scenario and task could have its discrepancies
b) the lo-fi prototype might not have clearly conveyed navigation

This led to some changes on location of features for our interactive prototype 2. On the video page (1.1), instead of just having the ability to start a challenge by clicking on the start button, users will also have the ability to interact with some of the tasks associated with the challenge.

Updated user flow based on prototype v2

These interactions range from a certain action like uploading a file or taking notes. Only after an action is inputted, then the login prompt appears.

If you click on this link or check off the box, you’ll be prompted to log in

Next Steps

We’d like to research the behavior of viewers who have embarked on some challenges and also see what the context is like for them while attempting the tasks.

*Challenge: objective-based set of tasks to complete that relate to content in a TED talk

*Task: an activity that a user can perform with measurable results

Another step is to research more about TED speakers and see if they would create these tasks and how they would rank them by progression level. This is similar to how TED-Ed lessons include questions from the lesson creator. TED-Ed viewers can then answer these questions as a way to apply the knowledge from the video to solve just questions.

Conduct card sorting to find out where people would expect to find TED challenges.

Explore more game mechanics to make challenges more fun, engaging and interesting.

Implement one of the scrapped features from brainstorming where users can bookmark on the video timeline as another way of reference to recall key points in the video.

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.