As one of the biggest media conglomerate in America, Turner Broadcasting had/has big ambitions to become the number one stop for adept cinephiles.

In conjunction with Criterion, the project team at You.i TV and the UX team at TCM (Turner Classic Movies), I was tasked to oversee and lead design efforts of this new idea for a subscription on-demand service that would offer film aficionados a comprehensive library of films including an eclectic mix of contemporary and classic arthouse, indie, foreign and cult films. 

For this project, all team members worked very closely through all stages of the project from initial kickoff to app launch.


Client: Turner Classic Movies
Design Activities: Creative Direction, UX/Interaction Design, Discovery Workshops, Prototyping, User Testing
Year: 2016

Identifying the Challenges and Objectives

From the very beginning, TCM was clear about their business goals and objectives. They were preparing for the greatest and purest app and wanted an experience that would help define the best subscription video on demand (SVOD) service. They also had ambitious goals of increasing their current user base.

Identifying Questions and Concerns

In addition to the early prototypes and testing, the You.i team and I led a comprehensive heuristic evaluation. With some person and phone interviews, we were to determine some expectations and some concerns with the current TCM in-market app. Many issues were identified with user feedback, consistency, lack of discoverability, no in-depth browsing and aesthetics. 

Defining the UX Objectives

With an aggressive project timeline and a looming development kickoff, we spent 3 weeks understanding the users and pain points then quickly transitioned into the exploration phase. To guide the next steps, 3 UX objectives were identified for the project.

1. Simplify the Experience
Many apps currently in the market are not tailored for 
film aficionados. Our goal was to design an immersive, organized and simplified app experience encouraging discovery. 

2. Discoverability
TCM found that users spent several minutes browsing the web to find additional movies by directors and actors that they enjoyed. The current in-app experience did not provide enough in-depth content. 

3. Upsell
Within the existing application, there was no promotion to upgrade your package. Criterion has a deep personally curated catalogue and huge followers which needed to be elevated inside this app. By promoting content available through the premium package directly in the experience could help improve upsell.

Exploring Solutions & Validating Ideas

Team Brainstorming

The broader UX team was leveraged for 2 days to conduct an intensive brainstorming session and solve the UX challenges. Each member was briefed on the research, users and UX goals prior to individual exploration Out of this session, we further refined 2 concepts and prepared additional visual and motion samples to discuss with the client.

Co-designing with the client

Taking the initial explorations we conducted a collaborative working session with a very passionate and collaborative TCM team to review ideas and discuss possible alternative and adjustments. It was very productive in rapidly discussing the ideas proposed to solve the UX challenges. Testing onsite at Turner Broadcasting in Atlanta

Testing onsite at Turner Broadcasting in Atlanta

Early in the design process, we worked with the TCM UX team to conduct usability testing with existing TCM users in Atlanta. Medium fidelity prototypes were created for Tablet, mobile and TV interfaces to validate key design decisions.

A couple of rounds of testing with Turner employees and outside users were conducted to better understand if existing users could navigate and understand the new architecture of the experience

The Final Approach

Focus on curated collections

The experience focused around two main sections. Collections: which are manually hand-picked collections created for film aficionados. PDP: which was access in-depth content, users are now able to deep dive into each of their favourite movies, actors, directors, behind the scenes, cut scenes, movie artifacts, and much more. 

Scalable navigation

A scalable content architecture resulted in a vertical UX where navigation (left/right) and browsing (up/down) were used across all platforms including handset, tablet and TV.

End Results

Nine months of design and development resulted in the launch of seven apps across iOS, Android, Amazon Fire and tvOS. Key UX features include a fully cross-platform experience and unique PDP features that saw a huge hype in the industry.