User Experience – it’s About More Than the UI (Part 1)

In this time of global health concerns, we are all staying at home. More than ever, we are tuning into broadcast and streaming services. Our experience interacting with these services Is more important than ever. I view user experience from two perspectives. The first is related to UX as related to UI. The second is user experience as related to Quality of Service. Here in Part 1 of our User Experience discussion, we will address usability of the user interface.

Customer experience is a priority across all industries. In 2018 E-consultancy found that 87% of organizations agree that traditional experiences no longer satisfy customers. In the media industry, we the consumer, have disrupted the legacy TV model by insisting on having options to stream on our device of choice. We expect a video consumption experience that combines convenience, content and quality.

However, convenience is now at risk as we are face the challenge of fragmentation. We introduced this topic in our last TV X.0 blog. This is the struggle of finding the content we want to consume. Which service has it? How can I find it? Why isn’t Friends still on Netflix? As a result, convenience is being replaced by frustration. I’ve found that the user experience, while generally positive within individual streaming services, is very challenging when searching for content across multiple services.

Within any given video service, the user interface (UI) is now perceived to have as much value as the content itself. While content is what attracts subscribers, the UI may well be what retains them. The ease of navigating the UI and the consistency of how the UI is represented across various devices is a key element in delivering a positive user experience. I have found that some UI’s are more intuitive than others in how content is displayed or recommended.

Content discovery remains the proverbial “needle in the haystack” for consumers and video service providers alike. Pay TV and streaming service providers recognize the importance of facilitating content selection. Nielsen’s Q1 2019 Total Audience Report reveals that only 1/3 of adult SVOD users browse the menu of a streaming service to find content to watch, with 21% of these users saying they simply gave up watching if they were unable to make up their minds. This is after taking an average of 7.4 minutes to review available streaming options. By contrast, 58% of traditional pay-TV viewers will likely return to their favorite channels if they are unable to make a choice about what to watch. We are seeing this right now as viewers in the United States are turning to “comfort food TV” such as NCIS, Los Angeles and Law & Order, SVU. Bottom line, the inability for consumers to find content they want will negatively impact their commitment to a service.
All elements of the user experience will be key factors in the success, or failure, of streaming services. Addressing “usability” is the first step. We will continue the user experience discussion in our next blog, focusing on the quality of service.

The future of TV is all about fulfilling consumer expectations. This means providing a captivating UI and ensuring high-quality delivery for both linear and streaming content. We call this evolution TV X.0 – where video delivery and consumption are driven by consumer expectations. This blog is the fourth in a series discussing the journey to TV X.0 where the ability to adapt to changing demands is the norm.

Peggy Dau
Connecting the Dots in Media Tech