9Now is an AVoD streaming service designed and built for the Nine Entertainment Company, streaming both on-demand and live video content from TV channels 9, 9Go, 9Gem and 9Life. As UX Design Principle for Nine Digital (formerly Mi9), I managed a cross-functional design team responsible for delivering the design of the 9Now product and service across multiple platforms including web, native and connected (OTT) devices.
9Now was designed to supercede 9Jumpin, the original AVoD service for Channel 9 content that combined catch-up services with complimentary content in the form of articles, image galleries and cast profiles for popular Channel 9 TV shows.
A key problem for 9Jumpin as a product was the inconsistent user experience across platforms. This co-incided with a need to integrate broadcast and on-demand systems (along with advertising services and ratings analytics) as digital gained traction over traditional broadcast services. Design, technology and product teams collaborated to understand the challenges and opportunities in integrating broadcast and on-demand systems.
Preliminary changes to the 9Jumpin product began with an understanding of the user pain points in the iOS app. Guerilla testing with a prototype allowed the design team to validate the IA and core functional jobs of the product. The initial design principle behind the redesign was "the shortest path to watch an episode of your favourite TV show".
A major pain point for users of 9Jumpin was disruption to playback due to interstitial video advertising or failure of the video stream. This prototype prioritised a redesign of the playback experience that gracefully managed disruption with the hypothesis that by giving users a channel to immediately provide feedback in the context of disruption, not only could we capture valuable feedback to improve the service.
While this prototype was being refined, the scope for a re-design widened to include delivery of AVoD services across all major platforms and devices including iOS, Android, web, and OTT devices, with single sign-on allowing a user to move easily across platforms. High fidelity concepts of future states based on a value proposition that included live events were crucial to gaining sponsorship from senior stakeholders.
Discovery efforts gained a better understanding of how the product might be experienced across all platforms and use cases. Key design challenges included:
- integration with video ingestion systems and production workflows;
- integrating digital and broadcast team workflows;
- contextual signposting for video metadata (e.g. broadcast date, expiry date, length, episode/season etc);
- management of empty states due to DRM (digital rights management) issues;
- progressive integration of live streaming channels;
- contextual states and microcopy for live stream rights management based on location;
- balancing native UI patterns with a consistent omni-channel brand experience.
Themes were defined and developed to help teams manage design delivery agnostic of platform. These included: navigation, personalisation, discovery, search and watch (playback). The design team worked together with brand, product and development teams to create a design system that allowed us to rapidly prototype the experience and better understand issues with surfacing assets and data across platforms and how users interact with content.
The workflow allowed us to implement solutions across multiple streams of work, easily meeting the (somewhat aggressive) timeline that had been set for us. Post-launch, the design solution was validated as it gracefully scaled to integrate new channels and features, and analytics showed video stream targets were being met. To date, the design strategy, roadmap and back log conintues to be validated as new teams continue to deploy the designs created by the original teams.