Iterated, work in progress.
When we first started working on this side project in late 2013 to early 2014, my friends and I just wanted to build an app that tracked movie prices. For our own purposes, the app worked really well. For a few folks who really understood the concept, and who were extreme power users, they were able to get a lot of value from the app too. However, for the broader public, people had a hard time associating with the idea of "hunting for a movie". This year, I've decided to revisit the project, and apply human centered design process that I've developed over the years to this particular problem. Please note this is still a work in progress.
Below is a quick glimpse of where I landed with the exercise. For more of my process, keep scrolling!
redefining the problem
In the beginning, before jumping into what features I would like to improve on, I revisited the problem space we wanted to tackle, and asked a pretty simple question - How do people discover and watch movies? As a huge movie buff, this is something that got me interested when we started the the project 2 years ago. However, as mentioned before, we focused on a very niche problem, how to monitor price drops for digital rentals and downloads. This time, I wanted to keep my problem space broad, and solve for a problem that's faced by more people. I defined the problem as the following -
How do we help people watch as many movies as possible?
DEFINING THE EXPERIENCE GAP
With the problem space defined, I started to see the options that are already out there, and how are people discovering and watching movies today.
By doing a quick ad hoc research session with friends, and drawing from my own movie watching experiences, I mapped out the path that a person takes from discovering a movie they want to watch, all the way to finally watching it in theatre or their living room.
From there, I found a few things that people complained about along that flow, and things they simply have no good way of doing today. Most of these were around the problem there are too many services out there from watching a movie trailer, to buying a ticket or renting a digital copy. On top of that, there are too many rating systems to check to evaluate whether a movie is worth watching or not. From there, I defined my design goal to be the following:
Create the one place to discover, watch, and buy movies.
One additional design principle I added to the project, since this time around its more of a theoretical project, where engineering deadlines does not need to be considered, I wanted to push myself to explore as many new interaction patterns as possible, where ever applicable.
Due to the circumstances and scope of this particular project, I modified my regular design process to accommodate for the shorter timeline. Usually I like to create a scale based on different values, and iterate different design ideas along that scale. In this case, based on the feedback I've collected from people's current movie discovery and watching flow, I came up with two somewhat conflicting ideas, and iterated designs based on those two different ideas.
One idea is to focus around the concept of "where" can I watch it. I believe this would work better for more casual movie watchers. Can I watch it in a theatres right now on a Friday night? Or can I find something to watch digitally on a relaxing Sunday afternoon at home? For this idea, I focused around the simplicity and strong recommendations algos to make the best decisions for you. Just pick how you wanna watch it and the app will surface you a bunch of movies.
The other idea is focused around the concept of good quality movies. This would have a stronger appeal for movie buffers and collectors. Instead of focusing on where and how, the app curates different movies based on their genre and quality. It has a powerful filter that allows passionate movie watchers.
From there, I started exploring different ways to achieving those goals via the grid view. Because this is more of an iteration, and we are leaving much of the original flow intact, I focused on exploring around key pages of the app instead of changing the architecture as completely.
Besides the home screen of the list view, another really crucial experience to KINOHUNT is the movie detail view. Here is where users come and learn a bit more about the movie, and take key actions. Whether it's to track a movie's availability and price, or make the decision to purchase it, this is where they do it all. The design decision here is to really find a good balance between all the CTAs that needs to live on the page, and key information people look for when evaluating a movie is worth watching or not.
Beyond that, I wanted to make the experience of browsing through multiple movies as easy and quickly as possible. So I asked myself, instead of a stand alone page, does this really need to take users out of the context they were in before? How can we make it extremely easy for people to jump from one movie to the next?
Once the card metaphor was decided on, I really wanted to come up with a powerful action sheet that could be leveraged for all the complex actions one might wanna take on any individual movie. Everything from seeing upcoming show times at near by theatres, to quickly give the movie a rating after marking it as watched.
As a designer, one of the most important things to do in my opinion is to constantly question yourself and the decisions that you've made. Can this be even easier? Is this the right approach? Have I explored all the possibilities?
Here, I wondered if there's an even easier way for people to quickly interact with the movies they've found. For example, if I've seen the trailer for Lo and Behold else where, and seeing it again in the app, I just want to buy tickets for it RIGHT NOW. Going back to the design principle defined earlier, I promised myself to try out new design patterns whenever applicable, I decided to try something a little out there.
following your INTUITION
As a designer, another important quality to have is trusting in your intuitions. Based on your knowledge in the field, past experiences, your ability to put yourself in the shoe of the actual users, and the design goals you've set out for yourself at the very beginning, you should be able to make decisions when needed. In this case, where user feedback was limited, and real world in product testing was not an option, I went ahead and made the decision to finalize on one of my two ideas.
Because when we first created KINOHUNT, our goal have always been to go after people who LOVED movies, I moved forward with the idea that I believe would appeal more to movie lovers, instead of casual movie watchers. Though if I were to build this project out, I would love to partner closely with engineers in building both of these ideas out and quickly see which of these would have a broader appeal.
WORK IN PROGRESS
As I've stated in the beginning, this is still a very much work in progress. A few things that i'm tackling next are...
Prototyping this flow out and getting feedback for continued iterations.
Finalizing the nav, is there room for improvement based on all the new features and interactions?
Fine tuning how the grid view interacts with filters, is there an easier way for people to quickly filter movies?
Please stay tuned!