Add a Feature Design Sprint // Ironhack UX/UI Project #3

Overview

Since starting Ironhack’s intensive 9 week UX/UI bootcamp in January 2021 I have learned so much about the design thinking process. This week’s project I was no different as it was our first individual project of the cohort and my design skills were put to the test in yet another four day sprint.

Problem Statement/Goal

The brief for this project is to analyze an already existing and highly adopted app and incorporate a new feature into the existing product. This was also our first go at hi-fidelity mockups with the goal to seamlessly incorporate our app into the existing design. For this week’s challenge I was able to choose the app I would like to add a feature to and I went with the streaming service, Hulu.
The main objective of the project was to ensure through research that the feature I would be proposing would add value to the application.

Constraints

There were some constraints on this project, first would be the time constraint of only 4 days to compile research, construct prototypes and usability tests in lo-fi, mid-fi, and then create a hi-fi mockup as well. I also wasn’t able to be in contact with the main stakeholders at Hulu.

The Process

User Research

After assessing the brief I put together a research plan to discover the user’s of Hulu and empathize with their pain points to lead me in the direction of the new feature.

The first component of my research plan was collecting quantitative data to understand the business problems from the user’s point of view. The survey received 30 responses and provided valuable insights. Some of those included:

  • 17 out of 30 respondents subscribe to more than 3 streaming services
  • 73% of all respondents stream content four or more days per week
  • 83% of respondents said that the content is what matters most when choosing a streaming platform
  • 63% of respondents prefer original content compared to licensed content

Assessing the numbers I received from the survey led me to three user interviews to get to know the Hulu user base a little bit more. User interviews are extremely important and provide a deeper level of understanding compared to qualitative research. The key takeaways I got from the interviews were that:

  • Users wanted to spend less time searching for a show
  • Users didn’t want to have to use a 3rd party app to see reviews on movies and shows
  • And that ultimately content is really king, and what the service airs is the most important factor

“Generally, I subscribe to the show. Any loyalty to the platform itself isn’t there as much, I just look for the content” — Mike

It could take me five minutes, or it could take me 30 minutes. I’ve definitely browsed for shows longer than it would take me to actually watch a show” — Megan

Secondary Research

I also conducted some secondary research to learn more about the company itself and find some potential areas that could see improvement. I learned that Hulu takes up about 15% of streams out of all streaming platforms. While that is a fair percentage for only being available in the US and Japan, it pales in comparison to competitors like Netflix who has about 180 million users worldwide.

Competitive Feature Analysis

After gathering some user research I analyzed the competition to see where Hulu held advantages and see areas they haven’t taken advantage of certain features. This type of analysis goes beyond just assessing which of the competitors have the features I was interested in building. The point of it is to quantify the value of those features based on how they’ll help me differentiate Hulu from that competition.

Market Positioning Chart

After understanding the differences of Hulu and its competition I took that data and translated it into the market positioning chart.

The market positioning chart helps us determine where there is a blue ocean, in other words where there is opportunity to grow with little to no competition.

Hulu is currently sitting in a red ocean of the marketplace, filled with competitors that are offering very similar features. The goal would be to move into that blue ocean to really stand out from the crowd.

The Lean UX Canvas

Using the Lean UX Canvas template I was able to see the big picture of what I am building, why I would be building it, and for who I am building it for. You can quickly identify and fix potentially weak areas of the product and solve our business problems, creating an excellent, much improved and customer-centric product.
This tool helped me define some of the business problems and outcomes they would be seeking, and allowed me to visualize who the users are and what benefits they are trying to gain from using Hulu.

Define

After having a limited time to complete user and secondary research I took the information I had into the define phase of the design thinking process. My goal here is to define the problem using several visualization tools to help me understand where the user is on their journey and where opportunities exist for Hulu to improve their experience.

Affinity Map

Affinity maps look for themes or trends in the data that I collected, and then I grouped those themes together to visualize and make sense of the data. This is an important tool to organize the beginning of the define phase and to gain initial understanding of who the user is, their goal, and their habits as well as other statistics compiled from secondary research.

Value Proposition Canvas

After completing the affinity map I pushed on creating one side of the two sided value proposition canvas. The canvas is a tool which can help ensure that a product or service is positioned around what the customer values and needs. First listing the customer jobs and then the job’s pain points and gain points we can gain further insight for a valuable feature.

As-Is Scenario

After putting together the value proposition canvas I moved onto another great visualization tool, the as-is scenario. While I may have not collected all the data I would have liked and there still may be value out there I haven’t unlocked the as-is map helps put me in the users shoes and empathize with them as they are going through a typical use case of Hulu. Understanding how the user is feeling and thinking while they are completing their task, or job, is very important and begins to show where the main pain points may lie.

User Journey Map

Taking my learnings from the as-is map I created a user journey map. The map is of a typical Hulu user, who is similar to the users I interviewed.

The pain points occur in the red parts of the journey where the user may be struggling in searching for a show and not wanting to waste their time looking when they could be relaxing and enjoying a great movie.

There were quite a few opportunities here that I felt Hulu could improve their experience and bring value. Such as when a user is searching for something and is overwhelmed by the amount of choices, we could help simplify that for them. Or when they are curious about an actor on screen and want some more information about them, we also have an opportunity there.

Problem Statements/How Might We Opportunities

Now that I have conducted research and sorted through a few different mapping tools to visualize where the user is struggling the most, I begin to define the problems and turn them into how might we opportunities. The problem statements I was able to define are:

Users who want to relax and unwind don’t want to spend a lot of time searching for a program to watch. // How might we shorten the time users spend searching for something to watch?

Users who are searching for something to watch have to use a 3rd party to gain insights on reviews/ratings. // How might we give users access to critic reviews so they don’t have to go to a 3rd party app?

Users don’t have a good way of sharing their show preferences on social media to suggest things for their friends. // How might we give users access to sharing their reviews of shows with their social network?

Ideation

We have finally come to the step in our design process of thinking of ideas to solve the user’s pain points and needs. I was on a strict time constraint at this point in the process and only allowed myself 20 minutes to come up with ideas. Of course there is always an opportunity to come back to this if I were to gather more research and unlock some more ideas, but for now I came up with 10 unique solutions to help solve the users pain points.

Feature Prioritization

Taking these 10 ideas with me I used some tools to help see where the value lied in each one by prioritizing possible features. First I laid out the features on an impact vs effort chart to see which ones still stuck out and how plausible they are from a business perspective.

Next I took that information about impact and effort and turned to my MOSCOW chart.

This chart really helps single out the top features I plan on having in the minimum viable product. It also shows some features I should have but may have to wait because they aren’t as much of a priority, and some other features I could have but the effort for the value they create is not equal

The purpose of creating this chart and not using some of my ideas is to show the business effort vs business cost of putting these new features out there.

My must have ideas were:

  • Create a social feature where users can rate and share shows with their friends
  • Link social media accounts with Hulu for easy sharing
  • Have rating sites linked to the show description page (IMBD, Rotten Tomatoes)

After prioritizing and selecting the features that will go into our MVP I confirmed that the product with the updated features included would be a good product market fit by completing the other side of the value proposition map.

This side of the map lists the jobs that the app will do and where the gain creators and the pain relievers for the user lie in order to create a more valuable experience.

Jobs to be Done

This brings us to the business job story, what does Hulu want for their customers?

When a user is looking for entertainment we will help you find and enjoy the world’s premier content when, where and how you want it.

This was taken from Hulu’s mission statement, and is what the company seeks to do for their users. The user also has a job to be done too, and they are looking to hire Hulu to do it.

Their job reads:

  • When a user has a long day and is looking for something to entertain them the user wants to spend less time browsing for content on streaming platforms so they can spend more time enjoying the content.

The business job story and user jobs to be done, ties back in with the insights we gained through the value proposition map. Which ultimately shows that our product with the updated features will fit the market and bring value to those who use it resulting in Hulu diving into a blue ocean. To sum up the value proposition map I created a value proposition statement which reads:

  • The show rating and social feed features will help our users who want to spend less time browsing by providing a more efficient and socially generated search.

By now fully understanding what users would be hiring Hulu to do it was time to create the MVP, or minimum viable product.

The minimum viable product is a feature that allows users to see social recommendations through the Hulu app and use a critic review ratings so they can decrease their browsing time when searching for a new show.

  • The first feature of Hulu Social is adding a social feed and network to Hulu. Where users can link their social media accounts to become friends and share reviews on content they’ve watched.
  • The second feature is adding information to the content description screen. First a rating from Rotten Tomatoes, a critic review website, and second a link to the IMDb page, where users can find out more information on the actors and directors.

User Flow Chart

After defining the features I have ideated to the Hulu experience I took some time to build a user flow chart. This helps visualize the journey a user will take through the happy path of Hulu Social, which is the working name for the feature.

Usability Tests

After defining the happy path and including on-boarding screens in the user flow I went ahead and made some quick paper hand sketched prototypes. The purpose of creating these paper prototypes is to save time and to not focus on the content as much as focusing on the path the user will interact with when going through the new feature.

Overall it was very positive, 7 tests were completed and I had a 88% success rate. I received some feedback from users who tested for me that they may not have expected certain buttons to be in the places they were currently in. So I took that information and transformed it into a mid-fi prototype which had an even better success rate of 100% with a 0% misclick rate over 10 usability tests.

I was able to take the feedback I received and create the final hi-fi mockup. I had discovered Hulu’s design system online and attempted to integrate my new feature of Hulu Social into their existing interface as seamlessly as possible. The results I am proud of as this was one of my first attempts in Figma designing hi-fi’s. The hi-fi’s included going through the onboarding to show the user where the key aspects of the features exist, and also link their social media accounts to populate friends on Hulu Social, as well as be able to see the IMBd and the Rotten Tomatoes links in the description tile.

Success and Failure Metrics

Of course no project would be complete without listing some success and failure metrics. A key success would be adoption of Hulu Social by current/prospective Hulu users.That would include signups, adding friends, and linking social media accounts to populate friends on the new network. Another one of the main goals of course is to have search time be decreased for users browsing for shows. Some failure metrics here would be having users not sign up and adopt Hulu Social, users leaving Hulu because of the new feature, and a decrease in streaming time. Going through the design thinking process though does allow me to believe that users would find value in this new feature and would bring in more accounts and more streams overall for the business.

Learnings

This project was quite eye-opening and my first experience creating hi-fi prototypes, which I enjoyed quite a bit. Every week through Ironhack I am learning how important user research is and empathizing with the user to really figure out what they need, not what they want or what I want. I am looking forward to taking my learnings from this project and applying them to my UX and design career.

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Full Time UX Student @ Ironhack Jan. 2021!

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Matt Dutton

Matt Dutton

Full Time UX Student @ Ironhack Jan. 2021!

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