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Every so often, we pass the mic to a member of our Product Design team. What inspires them, what are they watching, a new band they love, a book they can’t put down — it’s all fair game. This month, we’re spotlighting Senior Product Designer and ancient civilization aficionado, Renee Cao.

What is your role at Hulu? What do you work on?

I’m a senior product designer based in the Seattle office. I work on the Design System & Platform team, focusing on the Living Room space.

In the 10 years I’ve been at Hulu, I’ve worked on many features across all platforms and devices. For the past year and a half, I focused on how we use voice control on Hulu to bring the best experience to our user. Those include the voice campaign page, voice tips, and the voice settings page for Alexa. Aside from voice, I am working on components within our Living Room design system and improving our playback experience. …

By Billie Sue Chafins, VP, Software Development and Nick Brookins, VP, Software Development

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This July, Hulu’s U.S.-based tech team held its seventh annual — and first completely virtual — Hackathon. For 10 days, teams collaborated remotely to develop projects designed to better serve Hulu’s viewers, solve complex technological problems, and explore exciting new product possibilities.

Despite teams being entirely remote, a record number of Hulu employees and interns participated in the Hackathon this year. Interns who’d never interacted in person teamed up across states and time zones to create some of the event’s most impressive projects. …

Designing for the Living Room

by Dru Sidle, Principal Product Designer

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You finish working a long day and you badly need a break, a respite from balancing several projects all with end-of-the-week deadlines. You could go for a jog or clean up around your place, but neither would give you the pause for your mind to recover. So you settle into your couch (by yourself or with a loved one), pick up the remote, and start watching your favorite tv show or movie.

Ahhhhhhhhh… you can finally relax. You even notice that your headspace feels lighter.

What you aren’t likely noticing is all of the micro-interactions that make your experience tailored just for you, the specific button presses you make to watch or learn more about a new series, and the invisible patterns that make all of this possible. By now, it’s a routine that you have developed. It’s subconscious and you do it with ease. …

A laptop with the design team stickers
A laptop with the design team stickers

Hello! Welcome to Hulu Product Design.

Who we are

We’re a group of designers, researchers, writers, and more who work on how people experience Hulu. We strive to bring that vision to life in a way that feels inspired, refined, and even magical. Above all, we aim to create meaningful relationships that bring people closer to their favorite content.

What you’ll find here

We want to give you regular peeks into how we design for the entertainment space and the unique challenges that we face. We want to connect, inform, and inspire through content written by designers, writers, and researchers at Hulu.

This only works if you’re curious too.

Ask us anything, suggest topics you’d like us to write about — it’s all good. Leave a comment here.

The Behind the Scenes series is a collection of posts and videos designed to give you a peek at the inner workings of the Hulu tech team and introduce you to the men and women who build the systems that bring TV to the internet.

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Name: Darshana Umakanth

Title: Senior Software Development Lead

Joined Hulu: August 11th, 2014

College / University: Purdue

Tell us about your journey. How did you end up at Hulu?

I attended Purdue University, where I graduated in 2013 with a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. During my senior year, I was a member of a group called the CS Corporate Ambassadors. Through this group, I had the opportunity to get in touch with companies attending our career fairs to help onboard them. I was excited to see Hulu on the list, and decided to speak with one of the engineers to ask about internship opportunities at the company. I interviewed and landed an internship at Hulu the summer after my senior year and received a full time offer after the internship ended. I went to grad school for a year at Columbia University in New York to earn my Master of Science in Computer Science and shortly thereafter came back to LA to work full-time at Hulu in 2014. …

By Sean Barag, Senior Software Developer

For fans of: programming languages, javascript, typescript, coffeescript

It’s been a while since we’ve talked about our Living Room application on this blog, but that’s because big things have been happening! Last year, Kirk Yoder described how a unified runtime allows Hulu to deploy a single codebase across multiple clients. That’s still very much the case, so let’s spend some time a little bit further up the stack, in the JavaScript source itself.

The short version: For living room devices not including Roku or Apple TV, Hulu used to be written in CoffeeScript, but JavaScript has advanced since then. TypeScript’s advanced compile-time guarantees help Hulu catch errors before customers find them, but doesn’t help with code written in CoffeeScript. …

By Han Nie, Associate Technical Program Manager

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At the 2019 Hulu Beijing Hackathon, 140 Hulugans tinkered away for more than 30 hours on 27 innovative projects. During this event, we were showered with various intriguing ideas, ranging from an auto-piloted aircraft to an app that automatically takes selfies.

Smart Video Ads by AI

Powered by state-of-the-art deep learning models, this project automatically integrates advertisement into specific area of the background (Wall, TV set, etc), incurring little disruption for viewer experience.

by Joe Bentley, SVP of Engineering and Rafael Soltanovich, VP of Software Development

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This summer, Hulu’s tech team held its annual Hackathon in Santa Monica and Seattle. More than 100 Hulugans and interns spent 48 hours designing and coding 40 projects that pushed creative and technical boundaries.

In the spirit of the Hackathon, teams worked tirelessly on features that aimed to improve Hulu viewers’ experiences and Hulu employees’ lives, including an enhanced navigation tool for Hulu HQ’s growing campus, a feature that allows co-watching on Hulu, and an eye-controlled remote. …

By Lauren Bridge, Senior Software Developer, Zack Tanner, Senior Software Developer, and Matt Wong, Senior Software Development Lead

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With the launch of our updated live guide on, tvOS, and Roku, we thought it’d be interesting to give a behind the scenes look at how we built the live guide experience and outline the technical challenges the team solved for, specifically when building for web.

Simplifying the Guide Layout

A significant challenge was rendering all the channels and a few hours of their programs into a grid. Our initial plan was to use CSS grid layouts to structure the layout.

Live TV feeds aren’t perfectly programmed every 15 or 30 minutes; instead, programs start at every minute of the day, with some only lasting a few minutes. In order to support this format, we realized we would need a column per minute to support the granularity of the TV programs. …

By Samir Jafferali, Senior Systems Engineer

As Hulu continues to grow, time series data has become a critical part of how we monitor various pieces of information over a period of time. This can be as simple as machine performance metrics or data about our applications themselves. Due to the amount of data we have, creating an architecture that can handle our growth in a redundant, supportable and scalable way is crucial.

Why is Time Series Data Important?

Time series data allows us to evaluate trends in order to identify issues and act against them.

The below graph was recently used to identify a memory leak affecting a version of an application running out of a specific datacenter. …

Hulu Tech

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