How a dedicated streaming platform can create better viewing experiences for future Olympics.
9 Week Exploratory Project (2021)
Role: Product Designer
Team: Grace Geary (Art Director), Erin Philips (UX/UI + Illustrator)
As a storied brand with years of history, the Olympics are a chance for host nations to showcase their unique cultural heritage with millions of viewers around the world. But, it all goes for nothing if nobody is actually watching the Olympics.
For a hypothetical future Winter Olympic games in Stockholm, we wanted to re-examine what the viewing experience could embody, and how a dedicated Olympic streaming service could elevate the Olympic brand.
In talking to potential users about how they consumed Olympic content, we came to a realization that the full spectrum of sports viewers was represented in the audience. Thus, the diversity of the user base would require a flexible system that can cater to every single kind of media consumer.
Our approach was to create a streaming platform specifically for the Olympics. We realized we could provide a different type of streaming experience to improve viewer comprehension of the sports they were watching, and to create a sense that the Olympics is bigger than everyday streaming content found on NBC Peacock.
Our core focus when imagining a streaming platform for the Winter Olympics was how we could use widgets to create a more customized viewing experience, with interchangeable widgets catered to specific user needs across digital mediums. This in turn set the framework for a flexible viewing system for all kinds of viewers.
First-time setup allows you to choose specific topics and information that can augment your viewing experience, which then translates to specific widgets later on.
Streaming in Use
By presenting personalized information widgets in a HUD-type experience, the extra layer of information is neatly layered into the viewing experience and allows for a flexible system that works across multiple breakpoints and AR capabilities.
To take it a step further, we designed an AR experience where individuals can simultaneously watch the same sport in the same room, complete with unique viewing experiences. Hopefully, in the future, AR glasses are commercially available and a viable product.
To really drive home that this was a unique platform designed for the Olympics, my team and I created a new visual identity to separate this platform from typical streaming experiences. We then proofed it by testing it in Olympic mockups and settings.
The cornerstone of the Stockholm Olympics; the logo was designed jointly between me and Erin as the key visual element that encapsulates the Swedish brand principles.
Our art director, Grace, chose a typeface and color palette that enhances the brand cues in cultural elements across Sweden’s geography.
Identity in Use
Finally, we sought to apply our brand identity across various Olympic visuals, maintaining a cohesive look and feel throughout pictograms, signage, medals and mascot.
I also created a couple animations visualizing how 3D things can be translated into 3D low poly art.
We wanted to represent major viewing experiences as a good starting-off point, to test if our personalization framework would hold up.
We categorized our users into four basic personas that speaks to different types of media consumers, thus creating specific widgets for a varied viewing experience.
Breaking down each persona into both tv viewing and mobile experiences, we took a look at the overall user journey in how these viewers would get from startup, to personalization, to viewership.
In the process of diagramming the user flow, it became clear to us that onboarding was a major pain point throughout the process, but immediately afterwards being able to browse widgets and customize the experience was a more satisfying experience.
Thus, in the final screens we sought to link the onboarding and personalization aspect as much as possible, both visually and logistically.
After identifying personas, we created widgets that corresponded to each user's viewing needs and wants.
We then applied the brand identity to the widgets, in order to create a cohesive set.
The next step was to think through the mobile experience and tv streaming experience laid out through the user flows. For this, it was important to understand at which point customization should occur, and realizing that there was only one point between the two in which it was neccesary.
Finally, the HUD went through a couple iterations as proof of concept for the widgets, as they needed to be able to function as standalone components in AR in conjunction with 2D streaming.
If the widgets were meant to represent typical viewing experiences, we wanted to test widgets with people, and then tweak what they could look like to better serve their particular function.
This testing was done in user batches based on their viewer types, so we attempted to pair certain groups of widgets with perceived viewer types in order to see if there were unmet needs.
The complete viewing experience is then crafted and connected, bringing together brand identity with a unique streaming service.
It's hard to tell what the landscape for media consumption will be in the future, but at the very least we wanted to push product design of streaming services further, intersecting concepts from other disciplines such as video games (HUD) with traditional methods of media consumption.
If we had more time, I would have liked to push the AR functionality even further - could this be a product that lives solely in AR? If so, what would that look like?