Philips challenged us to come up with a revolutionary app to control your Smart TV. By looking at the current landscape of apps we were disappointed. There was no diversity and all remotes do exactly the same: control the interface of your TV. We can do better than that! Since we love to design anything that is related to TV, we were excited to dive into this project.
This was the previous app
Philips already researched the needs of the target group and specified requirements for this app. We used this research and studied the results from a designers perspective. Combining the expertise of Philips and our designers, we defined the requirements for this TV Remote.
To get an overview of user needs, we create user stories. These are small cards with the most important tasks a user wants to execute. User stories are the driving force behind this project. We use them throughout the project.
As a user I want to be able to control basic things (volume, mute, power) from anywhere in the app, so that I don’t have to search for these options when I need them right away.
As a user I want to push video content from my mobile device directly to my TV, so that I can continue watching the content on my big screen.
As a user I want to be able to search for any type of content on my TV so that I can find the content what I am looking for.
We put our first ideas, sketches and useful inspiration on a large canvas. We organized and shared them with team members very early in the design process. This collection continues to grow rapidly and starts to form a complete overview of all ideas.
During the design process we added the visual designs to the collection. This way you get a visual overview of your product design. As an added benefit, you can see your design evolving from the start.
We don’t believe in approaching projects from a technology perspective. You often see more and more features cramped in. That’s why we helped Philips to pick their battles by designing two different concepts and put them side by side. At this moment, the decision was up to Philips.
There is no menu, only content. Users want all relevant content available at the moment of opening the app. From here you can drill down to make the selection smaller, using the filters in the sidebar.
From the menu, you can instantly access all content through the familiar content domains you also find on your TV. Launch a channel from the TV Guide or rent a movie in Video On Demand.
Favoriting is important for the viewing experience. We found that users love to mark shows or episodes as their favorite. That’s why we put in this pretty animation.
We use nifty animations throughout the app, to enhance the user experience and provide feedback to the user.
Our users find it extremely important to instantly watch the content they are looking for. They don’t bother if a show is live on TV, requested on demand or stored in their recordings. Say hello to ‘Watch Actions’. It’s a contextual Play button that let’s you watch or record content right away.
Whether you are watching Video On Demand, streaming photos to your Smart TV or listening to music: you want total control. You can swipe through the streamlined sets of essential controls. The sets are changing, depending on the type of content. Swiping just became the new standard.
The app design is tested with our Nano testing method. Together with 6foot7 we prototyped a realistic version of the controls. We tweaked the animations, enlarged the hit areas and even adjusted the zapping speed. In our usability tests, users were able to feel how the controls work. Using these results, we iterated on the design and polished the experience. Read about our Nano testing method (in Dutch).
Every Monday morning we prepared an agenda with decisions to be made, questions to be answered and new designs to be reviewed. This morning the product owner focused on just that. A green marker was used to check everything, a red marker was used to annotate the designs.
During the rest of the week we focused on solving complex flows and creating designs. We shared everything using iMessage, so our product owner could reply instantly. All exports were cropped to fit on his iPhone. Decisions were made in a few minutes. It proved to be a very efficient and effective way of working.