As the folks involved with the first Google TV launch will be the first to tell you, user experience can be the difference between success and failure when it comes to launching any video service. I am sure Google will eventually get it right, but as consumers become more and more discriminating when it comes to how, where and when they are watching video programming, it’s all about the user experience.
Peter Contardo’s recent blog post highlights how hard it can be to “generate eyeballs” for a consumer video service. While I certainly appreciate the process of smart branding and marketing to consumers, I thought I’d take a step back and delve deeper into what it takes to create a compelling user experience in the first place.
So, where do you start when planning your service? Two words…Requirements Definition. And we recommend always beginning by asking two fundamental questions that set the stage for a quality user experience (UX):
- What business objectives do you want to achieve with your OTT video service? This answer yields the requirements necessary to achieve service objectives.)
- What do your customers (and you) want to experience from your OTT video service? This answer yields the requirements necessary to achieve user needs.
It is these initial questions about the services that will be deployed that are used to help more efficiently create the desired user experiences for service providers, and ultimately for their end users. It is this process that helps increase the success rate of any OTT video service.
With these requirements properly defined, we then focus on four areas impacting the design, development and deployment of the consumer video offering as depicted in the diagram below:
- Content – Beyond having great content that people want to watch, it’s the organization and discoverability of video programming that helps users find what they want to watch, and keep them watching.
- Services – Creating a service, website and/or app that is generally easy to use and supports specific features and functions related to the service is a key driver of user experience.
- Access – The primary driver here is devices/screens, making the service available on the screens that end users access.
- Delivery – Delivering video content and services users with highest QoS and QoE possible is a key user experience driver for end users.
Our perspective on building a great user experience is grounded in a thorough understanding of the overall business goals. The goals guide the UX and ensure it is aligned with the fundamental reasons why the service is being offered. There can be a big difference in the UX when supporting a pay service or an advertising model, or both. Device strategy, functionality drivers, content optimization, social sharing options and even the targeted user demographics and psychographics are just more examples of the depth to which you must go in order to thoroughly define your requirements prior to building the user experience.
Here at Endavo, we always try to keep in mind all 4 key areas of user experience as we develop our products and services. Usually, service providers are forced to cobble together the necessary parts that make up an end-to-end video service experience. We have seen this result in sub-optimal user experience, which can lead to business failure. This is why we strive to keep the user experience strategy at the forefront of what we deliver.
With a solid user experience strategy feeding scope and requirements, a compelling and seamless user experience can be created. If you can nail down user experience first, you can then focus on creating great content and getting eyeballs to watch your content with confidence, knowing that once your customer experiences your video service, they’ll have every reason to stay, watch and come back for more.
That’s how I see it. What are your thoughts?
Paul D Hamm