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How to Design Streaming Apps and UX Strategically in 2024

What does it take to be a streaming app designer and director of product in 2024? Nadine Krefetz, Consultant, Reality Software, Contributing Editor, Streaming Media, discusses this topic with Tom Hurlbutt, Senior Director of Product Management, Crunchyroll, Brandon Yap, Product Designer, Philo, and Esther Ahn, Head of User Experience, YouTube TV and YouTube Primetime Channels, in this clip from Streaming Media Connect 2024.

Krefetz begins by asking Hurlbutt how his responsibilities in the industry have changed since he started.

Hurlbutt highlights the challenges of creating application experiences for various contexts, such as automotive settings, which can range from immersive to intimate. “A lot of the focus has been on web, mobile, and living room or CTV as that holy trinity when it comes to application imprints,” he says. “At the same time, we're starting to see screens put anywhere and everywhere with a desire to be able to watch content there. One of the newest modalities that my team has had the experience of working on has been automotive and understanding how to get application experiences there in a situation that shares some similarities with CTV experiences – being very theatrical, very immersive, but which can also be personal and intimate depending on how many people are in the car with you, whether it's a shared experience versus a solitary experience, and how do you build applications to really solve that context well, versus just looking at it at a specific screen dimension at a specific location?”

Krefetz asks Yap what has changed for him since he began working in the industry.

Yap discusses the complexity of designing for a multitude of platforms and user contexts, and he emphasizes the need to understand user desires based on what, where, and how they watch content. “I think there's this unique challenge in the streaming industry to have your design, service, and your product translate your brand and the content you're trying to present to the user over this breadth of platforms and the challenges,” he says. “How do we identify the needs of the user based on what they're watching, where and how, and on what platform? What is the intent based on what platform they decide to watch? And I'm trying to think modularly about all these different entry points into watching their favorite content nowadays. It's not so straightforward. They're different remotes, different platforms, different touch points for all of these different things, all these affordances to consider. So it's a very fun and unique puzzle at times.”

Ahn emphasizes the importance of understanding user pain points and needs, leveraging research, and focusing on content design and strategy. “One of the things that has been most exciting on the YouTube TV side is really taking into account a broad swath of different viewers coming in with different backgrounds,” she says. “Brandon [Hurlbutt] mentioned remote controls. How do you bring [viewers] over to a TV experience that may not have the reliance on those types of shortcut controls and buttons that you might be used to? And so it's really thinking about how to modernize the TV experience and bringing along a wide range of different viewers with different contexts.”

See videos of the full program from Streaming Media Connect February 2024 here.

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