This project was part of the User Experience Design Immersive course at General Assembly. The project was completed in a two week sprint with the help of my two classmates and friends.
Amazon, is an American electronic e-commerce and cloud computing company that was founded in 1994. They are now one of the most successful companies in the industry.
A reason for their success, is their “Amazon Original Series”. It is content that is produced, co-produced, or distributed by Amazon exclusively on their services. Since 2013, Amazon has distributed original television programs through its Amazon Video service, and has been responsible for creating a number of award-winning series.
We were given the hypothetical brief; Amazon is looking to significantly increase social activity related to their original series in the UK. Additionally, Amazon wants to target existing and potential Amazon customers around a continually expanding portfolio of original content in series and films.
They want to build a microsite or custom application to engage with the current or potential customers in a unique and compelling way.
To begin with, we looked at all the online streaming services — the innovators, the success stories, the upstarts and the behemoths. We looked at how they attract new customers and how they allow current users to interact with the programs they’re watching as well as other users. We considered the industry-wide conventions and the best practices.
Our competitors covered, we moved onto our existing and potential users. Interviews could be considered as one of the projects Milestones. We learned a lot about their viewing habits — but a few key and surprising trends emerged — they were:
- 2nd screening. Hardly anyone we spoke to didn’t sometimes or often engage in a screen in addition to the primary viewing screen. For example, many people will watch a program on their TV while chatting with friends on whatsapp, or browsing Instagram, looking up info about the show they’re watching or the actors in the show.
- A few people we spoke to sync up their favorite shows with friends and watch them remotely together.
- That many people are loyal to their streaming services or at least are not interested in belonging to multiple providers at once.
- Some people found that free trials were a nice idea but they didn’t use them because with so many great series available they didn’t know where to start.
From this point, we gathered all the insights and grouped them with the help of an affinity map, under central themes we could focus our solution on:
They support our research and contextualize our reflection and investigation process. It assists the UX designer to keep a user-centered approach instead of falling into stereotypes. In our case, we found Dawn and Sandra. They are both in their 30’s, they have a demanding job and enjoy TV and Movie nights with friends - importantly they are both tech savvy keen TV viewers.
Ideation — Design Studio
Throughout the discovery and define phase, we had a lot of ideas, features we wanted to implement. Doing a design studio was essential because it helped us to rapidly generate many design solutions and focus around the specific problem.
We came up with a new feature: Amazon Prime subscribers can invite their friends (Amazon Prime subscriber and non-subscribers) to watch simultaneously (from a remote location) an episode while having an integrated messaging tool.
This aspect of the solution was essential in attracting potential Amazon customers as well as drive social engagement.
How does it work?
Dawn (an Amazon Prime subscriber), would invite Sandra (non-Amazon Prime subscriber) to watch simultaneously (from a remote location) Amazon Original Series called Transparent. Once Sandra accepted the invitation, they would each synchronize their devices (tablet, computer, smart TV) and watch the episode.
Dawn User Flow:
Once the episode streaming, your Amazon mobile app would have an integrated messenger feature with the person you would be watching the episode with. You can stream, interact and share by second-screening all within your Amazon application.
Sandra User Flow:
Testing and Iteration
Bringing the idea to life, we faced many challenges concerning design. When testing, users were sometimes confused with the wording or iconography used to introduce this new feature. We iterated a lot around which icons could illustrate the “watch with friends”.
In addition, after the first step, when choosing a series to watch, people noticed the new call to action but were afraid to press it because of the unknown result it would have on their journey.
That’s were we realized we had to explain the new concept in a concise and rapid manner. The idea of introducing walkthrough screens with a summarized explanation of the steps and its use came on. It was rapidly validated after user testing: 80% of users went through the walkthrough and found the experience extremely intuitive and enjoyable.
Finally, after several rounds of testing and iterations around paper, low-fidelity, mid-fidelity and high-fidelity prototypes, users had no problem interacting with the product. Feedback was amazingly positive with a strong user satisfaction.
“I would definitely use this service!”
“They should launch it right away. I would connect more often with my friends and family.”
You can try from yourself with our InVision clickable prototype: