With the availability of Android Gingerbread, came an opportunity to rethink the success of our video application across both Android and iOS. TWC TV had been publicly available for some time, and was developing an increasing user base. With more customers comes more success, as well as more feedback. There were certainly things that we were doing well, and some things that needed improvement. When we originally conceived of our mobile experience, we focused mainly on the features inherent in the video business; Live TV, Guides, On Demand, etc., and less on the context of being mobile or the subtle differences between the competing platforms and eco-systems.
So we seized the opportunity to create some near future design thinking. Although our application offered the traditional functions available from a video subscription, listening to our customers lead us to a few features that needed better prioritization. We decided to create this Android specific directional concept that places the content and the companion state at it's core.
All about video
First thing was to address the Live TV area of the application. The production version of the application presented Live TV horizontally, and the remainder of the features vertically. This seemed natural when first envisioned, but ended up wreaking having on the navigation paradigms both for channel suffering and navigating within the app.
In this concept, the user orients the phone vertically to navigate, and simply rotates to horizontal to watch video. The orientation of the phone now indicates the users intent and allows us to maximize screen real estate and ease of use.
We also introduced what has now become a standard left rail menu giving the user access to navigation from everywhere in the application.
Companion at the core
Most people engage with their mobile cable application while watching TV. Having the same features your cable box offers replicated on your phone fails to recognize the opportunity available when these platforms are combined. So before "casting" was a word, we invented "flick to stream" which simply paired the mobile app with a particular cable box in your home, allowing you to discover content on your powerful personal device, "flick" it to your TV, and consume it on the largest screen in your house. Now that you could watch TV on your device, and "flick" that content to your large screen, all that was left was to find the shows...
Showcase the product
Content is king. People build relationship with shows and movies, not cable features. So we took extra steps to really try and show off the product the best we could. At the time of this concept, we didn't have the metadata to support this rich level of presentation. However as a result of these concepts we have taken great strides to enrich the images and metadata associates with sports content, and we've created a small team of image and data curators that are tasked with enriching and otherwise improving the quality and quantity of our product metadata.