For the past three years, I have been designing features for Smart TVs.

WHY DESIGNING FOR TVs?

"Embrace ambiguity." -- Patrice Martin, IDEO.org

Despite the attention given to web, mobile, wearable, even recently-merged bots and Virtual Reality, so little has been given to TV user experience. But at the same time, designing for TV is so different:

 Serving multiple users physically present in one space

Serving multiple users physically present in one space

 Conventional remote only allows elaborate interactions

Conventional remote only allows elaborate interactions

 Separate input and output devices = less coherent feedback loop

Separate input and output devices = less coherent feedback loop

 Difficulties in reading and interaction magnified by distance

Difficulties in reading and interaction magnified by distance

On the other hand, I believe understanding how users interact with the world outside screens is so important in a smart-everything near future. It intrigues me so much to learn about the endless possibility in this black hole.

TESTING IS THE KEY

Due to the lack of consensual best-practice for the architecture and layout of TV OS, I had to design tools to learn about user behaviors by myself. The first step was creating a browser-based simulator that helps with large quantities of testing outside the lab without employing TVs with the actual software for testing (because this is not as easy as websites and mobiles).

 Task completion time collected from 100 participants of our remote tests. The step-by-step inputs captured also helped us to learn how users interact with UI using Direction Keys and how it could affect the efficiency.

Task completion time collected from 100 participants of our remote tests. The step-by-step inputs captured also helped us to learn how users interact with UI using Direction Keys and how it could affect the efficiency.

Besides coded prototypes which I initiated to work on with developers share the same interest, I also used various methods to get quicker answers for hanging questions, including functional prototypes built in Axure, still mockups, or borrowed existing solutions by other companies.

 Interview with high-fidelity mockups

Interview with high-fidelity mockups

 usability testing of TV setup, which includes interacting with physical products

usability testing of TV setup, which includes interacting with physical products

Testing and validating concepts is an important part of my work. I believe UX designers must closely work with researchers (if available) and work in the field themselves whenever possible. I am seeking for teams that are like-minded and offer opportunities to be in touch with user first-hand.

Curious about what we found that even surprised ourselves? Contact me!