Symphoni extended the value of the TWC video subscription and increased customer loyalty by providing a simple, easy, and seamless experience across screens inside and outside the home.
Symphoni was Time Warner Cable’s first truly cross-platform video experience to not only include the television, but web, and mobile platforms as well. The goal was to create a user experience that bridged these devices and promoted the primary feature areas of viewing, discovery, search, and personalization. To accomplish this task I partnered with the Sr. Director of Video On Demand to lead a highly collaborative, cross-functional team comprised of strategy, engineering, customer research, and experts from two agencies, Ogilvy and Method.
Working with specialists at Ogilvy we constructed a collection of personas targeted to our key customer segments which offered us a broad perspective across our installed base of 14 million customers. Using personas representing iFamilies, Mobile Millennials, and Silver Surfers, we transitioned to working with Method, our interactive and new media agency which we had contracted to help craft the video experience. We began by identifying the necessary user journey’s that needed to be accomplished to ensure that Symphoni was going to be successful and engaging. UI and UX designers from Method partnered with my embedded team to execute against a collection of journey’s including enhanced discovery, smarter search, recommendations, kids mode, companion states, and remote control.
Being that Symphoni was not only the first multi-platform video experience, but also a complete re-imagining of the brand, it was crucial to communicate early and often. At each milestone in the design of the experience we reached out to stakeholders to help individual business units visualize the importance of Symphoni and the impact on the video roadmap. This was not only for marketing and video executives, but with customers as well.
Any number of formats and prototypes were used to keep Symphoni in front of the customers while we were designing and developing the product. A few of the services had already been productized, so those production applications could be used. Where we didn’t have production code, we used development builds. Finally, in the few areas we were ahead of engineering, we’d revert to whatever was available. At times we used Axure for online features and tests, at other times we’d develop Flash prototypes to be used on the TV via a laptop.
Transforming a cable experience is an ongoing and ever evolving process. Many features have been released. There are a few concepts that are still in development, and a few that we moved away from over the course of testing and developing these apps. Time Warner Cable, along with a select few other cable companies, had the resources and infrastructure at the time to break new ground and develop a first of its kind, truly cross-platform video consumption experience that can enhance content discovery, smart search, recommendations, and companion states. Symphoni moved the needle from a 4×3, single platform, remote dependent experience, to one that maximizes the brand across all devices and provides something that is truly seamless.