I helped FOX design and launch a tvOS app that syndicates content from all of its children networks—Fox, FX, FXX, and National Geographic. Internship at Work & Co. Portland, summer 2016.
After many rounds of distilling, there remain three big parts to the app’s functionality: collections, search, and settings. Collections aggregate relevant content across all FOX’s children networks.
I was assigned to design search at the beginning. Since it was my first time designing for Apple TV, I wasn’t familiar with the user context and technical constraints, and took it as a layout exercise.
In our design process I realized that people are less actively engaged since TV is a passive medium, and it is important to keep the information density very low. Also, since the Apple TV remote is a limited input device that only registers 90° swipes, interactions are unnatural if the active target jumps on a skewed line.
The final design addresses previous concerns: information density is kept low, and the interactions on the remote are both minimal and on perpendicular directions.
Shows get the same type of screen. But The Simpsons has so many seasons and episodes that a normal show screen would simply break. Another designer and I designed a special screen type to solve this issue, as well as provide further functionality such as random episode or Simpsons TV.
Wrong: the remote doesn’t register diagonal swipes
Designing The Simpsons’ dedicated show screen demonstrates the importance to go beyond simply accounting for all the relevant factors. The designer should also strive to pull them together in simple, convincing, and holistic way.
The design process of Live TV taught me that different types of interactions have different amounts of appropriate consequences. A trivial interaction should not trigger significant change.
This design process reminds me of how the magazine El Cronquis describes SANAA’s houses: “having landed before even taking off.” Just like that—the best design is often the one that does the job most unassumingly but still considers all the constraints.