8,294,400 pixels. A stupidly bright and sharp LED screen. A remote that understands your movements, and voice. A screen so big you can’t reach edge to edge. Sound that surrounds you and fills an entire house. That’s TV.
That’s a big canvas to play with.
But hardly anybody is playing. I was recently tasked to design an experience for Apple TV, and after a few google searches, realized I was on my own. There’s no help out there. No articles, guides, templates, designers to follow, videos or even screenshots of other apps.
I can understand why. TV has been ignored by most digital designers in favor of more interesting opportunities on web and mobile. But I think there’s something exciting there.
I believe TV, or at least big screens will remain a fixture of American homes for many years to come. TV’s not dead. Actually, as a marketing channel, it’s remarkably resilient.
But I don’t care about ads. I’m more excited that we designers have an incredible chance to build new interactions and experiences that have never seen before. TV is the wild west. It’s untapped.
We’re just not playing.
Take the tvOS guidelines for example. Apple laid out the following principles for designers and developers. Make apps that are: Connected. Clear. Immersive.
What do you think about when you read those words? Take a second to imagine. Well, if you need a push, here’s an example to demonstrate.
I think you could do better. I think you can do something different, something we haven’t seen before on TV.
If you agree, don’t leap to the guidelines. Think first. Think bigger.
You will be designing the future of television.
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