PlayOn 2016

Hailed as “Spotify for internet TV”, PLAYON is a powerful tool that transforms web streaming, allowing users to play, cast and record any web video. PLAYON provides access to thousands of shows and movies and lets users watch content any time and on any device. With over five million users and growing, we’ve been featured in the New York Times, Forbes, Money and more.

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Research

The design process begins long before the visual compositions and interfaces take form. First, our team began by investigating the current landscape- from understanding our users’ needs and behaviors, to understanding the competition and other services our users engaged with. This would give us a clear road map not only for designing the PLAYON suite of products but also for making decisions on what features made it in to the final product and which ones did not.

Personas

Personas enable our design team to clearly communicate who our audience is as well as understand exactly what it is they are looking for in a product or service. They include needs, behaviors and a simple backstory in order to make an otherwise abstract concept more concrete for creatives and devs alike.

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Experience Mapping

Next we mapped out the user’s journey through a typical scenario they might encounter- highlighting their thoughts and concerns along the way. These types of experience, or journey maps, continue to keep our users and their needs front and center, both from the onset and throughout development. We created several of these, revisiting and polishing at each stage.

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User Research

Lastly, before we began diving into wireframes and defining the architecture and overall experience, we started a conversation with our users and even potential users- measuring their actual behaviors as well as wants and needs. This was and is an ongoing conversation throughout the design process. This type of research guides all final design decisions and informs our engineering and marketing teams as well how best to create and even market our existing and forthcoming products.

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Concepting

At this stage we began to draft out the low-fidelity user experience models that we would use to flesh out the rest of the product. By now we had a considerable amount of data with which to begin shaping the product, allowing us to pair down features for each stage of development and release. We began succinctly with charting overarching epics and tasks for the design and development teams, as well as dove into mocking up wireframes and low-fidelity prototypes to share with the company internally. We incorporated feedback from stakeholders and users alike throughout this phase, ensuring that we had a clear focus for the next stage, where we would create and deliver the high-fidelity designs over to the dev team.

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Deliverables

By the time we are ready to hand off final deliverables to the development team we have a high level of certainty in the product we’ve designed; both that it meets the needs of our users as well as comes loaded with features we know will delight them. Weekly team syncs allow us negotiate project cycles for later releases, ensuring that each iteration of the product can stand alone in terms of value and features. Sometimes this means letting go of a feature we were initially excited about and revisiting the concepts, evolving them into what will become the final assets and interaction guidelines.

Measure Twice

There’s an old expression, “measure twice, cut once”. I’ve always appreciated this as it especially holds true for UX and product design; a strong design process is just as important as a talented design team. By laying deep roots and leading with investigation and discovery, we were able to scale quickly at later phases in the process to accommodate not only core product design across a diverse suit of services but across numerous supported devices and platforms as well. Clean, responsive solutions made handling a demanding design and build cycle a breeze.

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