Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Exploring the UX of Discovery in SecondScreen

We keep discussing the lack of Discovery features in most of the Second Screen applications out, but what should we be comparing them to?  Recently, I reviewed using Fanhattan as a Discovery experience, which was a decent experience with the various levels of filters being applied.  But what "could" a great Discovery UX be like?  Let's start with a few of the important elements:

  1. You need to have multiple approaches to getting at new content.  The most common method used in all of the Second Screen apps reviewed so far is "Popular", "Hot" or "Trending Now", where you are shown content that many others are watching.  Fanhattan goes further by showing you a number of categories including what your friends are watching recently and over time, what is hot, new, featured (presumably paid placement, etc).
  2. You have to keep track of what I have already seen (so you don't recommend it to me again).  This implies at least 2 functions: a) the ability to know I am "me", watching by myself vs. me watching with my wife or family; b) the ability for me to tell the app when you do recommend me something I have seen that I have already seen it (and ask for a rating of at least thumbs up or down).
  3. You need to have multiple ways to filter the content.  For example, the idea that I don't want you to recommend content I have already seen is a given these days.  What about asking me I am in the mood for (a comedy, a western, a war movie, a drama).  What about filters for what my friends like and don't like, how consumers rated the TV shows/films, where it is available, etc.
  4. Finally, you need to pull all this together in a seamless and intuitive UI--obviously not easy.  I am not a UI or UX expert, but give this idea a try: the consumer opens that app to find something like a 9-box grid offering the most popular TV series (that I haven't yet seen) in each of the genre or mood categories.  This let's me quickly gauge my current tastes between Dexter and Glee for example.  Then, when I click on that category, the 9-box grid updates again with an approach for a suggestion for that category (1 for Hottest, 1 for what my friends are watching, 1 for featured, 1 for new TV series, 1 for Emmy award winning, etc).  The whole time you could keep a further filter on the left so I can eliminate from user rating levels or how old it is, etc.  Then, the third click would give you a recommendation of 9 shows that are in the mood/genre/category I started with an from the approach I prefer (right now).
    Something like:

I am sure the real UX experts can do much better...but it's a start.

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