The objective for this project was to identify pain points of the HBONOW app for iOS by creating a customer persona and guerrilla testing users. I also did a redesign of the app based on my findings from the usability test.
To begin my process, I created a proto-persona to conceptualize the HBONOW user as well as to help scope out the ideal user for usability testing. With my proto-persona in hand, I went to a local coffee shop to tests and record users using the application.
By creating user tasks and scenarios, my goal was to see how users performed simple tasks like watching an episode of a popular show or find a specific category of movies. Below are the main tasks:
After the user interviews and usability tests, I reviewed the recordings from the usability test and jotted down pain points on sticky notes. I then sorted the sticky notes into similar issue buckets in order to discover patterns for the most common pain points and eventually help create design solutions.
According to the usability testing, HBONOW was surprisingly less intuitive than I had initially thought. Users struggled to accomplish basic tasks like watching a specific episode of a TV-show. Below are some examples of issues that users ran into using the app.
By default, the search function is disabled for users while viewing the main menu. Users didn’t understand why it wasn’t enabled.
The more info button label is very unclear and misleading. For example, the more info button for True Detectives is “TV-MA”.
Many users had no idea how to add a show to their watchlist. They frequently tapped the tv-series cover photos trying to find more options which instead resulted in that the episode started playing.
When users were asked to find the cast and actor list about a tv episode some users tapped the cover photo for the episode and expected to see some more info about the episode, and the seemed confused when that interaction led to that the episode started play.
Three out of six users had difficulties using the drop down menu to change the season for a tv show. It often resulted in users started to play an episode by mistake.
One user that ran into this issue where so frustrated that he wanted to delete the app:
”At this point I’m probably already just gonna close the app and try to get rid off it.”-Test User 1
Knowing the difficulties users faced, I started to sketch on some alternative design solutions to improve the user experience. I then did some quick validation on my sketches with some typical users that matched my persona, before I proceeded with my high fidelity sketches.
I added a sub navigation to sort out the content on the main page but also to show what type of content is showed to the users. This was unclear to users in the current version of the app.
A play icon over the cover photo was added to clarify that an episode starts playing when the user taps the cover photo.
The episode info button was renamed to ‘More Info’
To solve the difficulties selecting particular seasons, the dropdown menu was replaced with a swipe menu. Extra spacing was also added to avoid miss-taps.
An ‘add to watchlist’ button was also to the series page because users often expected this button to be placed here during usability testing.
To solve the disabled search feature pain point, the magnifying glass was simply enabled.
If I had more time and/or resources on this project it would be interesting to conduct another usability test to see how my proposed design works out. If you have any thoughts or feedback regarding this study I would love to hear from you. Feel free email me at email@example.com
Disclaimer: I don’t work for or represent HBO. HBONow is one of the few products I use daily and love and I’m exploring how I might make it better.