In the ever-evolving landscape of media consumption, over-the-top (OTT) services have taken center stage, revolutionizing how we watch TV. With the global OTT market projected to reach a staggering $156.9 billion by 2024, it's clear that the future of entertainment lies in streaming platforms, and it is important to understand the key factors that drive user engagement and deliver an unparalleled watching experience. This blog post will go through the aspects and practices to be considered when building a seamless UX journey and innate UI design for best-of-breed OTT media services, with regard to the present day’s content consumption patterns, the importance of intuitive navigation, and personalized recommendations.
Accommodating to changing Viewer Behaviors
Today, viewers crave flexibility and ownership over their entertainment choices. Long gone are the days when the only option for viewers was to turn on the TV and watch whichever programs happened to be on air at that moment. Whether it's binge-watching on a compatible device or controlling playback features like pausing, fast-forwarding, rewinding, etc., OTT services have empowered users like never before, and at the same time have to adapt to the corresponding changing viewing patterns. When it comes to factors that contribute to the overall OTT experience, much of the app/service development should go into the following:
- High compatibility with multiple devices: To cater to the diverse range of devices users own, it is essential to ensure seamless compatibility across platforms. This allows users to enjoy OTT content at their convenience.
- Seamless onboarding experience: Unlike traditional TV, OTT platforms require an onboarding process for new users, often tied to a subscription model. Keeping the onboarding process simple and enticing is key to retaining users. Netflix's straightforward signup process is a prime example of effective onboarding.
- Multiple profiles and screens: Eliminate the age-old battle for control over the TV remote by offering multiple profiles and screens within a single account. This allows each member of a household to access personalized interfaces and tailor their watching patterns.
Streamlining User Interface and Content Navigation
While the abundance of content on OTT platforms is a boon, navigating this vast catalogue of content also presents a challenge for users. To ensure a seamless navigation experience
and make sure that users can quickly browse around and find what they want to watch easily, OTT service providers can implement the following elements when building the user interface.
- Use of reading patterns on a landing page: Structure the landing page to align with users' reading patterns, ensuring key elements are strategically placed for easy comprehension. This includes a logo on the top left, navigation at the top, call-to-action buttons, and relevant content sections.
- Clear navigation menu: Provide users with a clear navigation menu, typically displayed as a horizontal global navigation bar, to browse through various content categories. Ensure sufficient contrast between text color and background to improve legibility.
- Accessible search bar: Place a visible search bar in a consistent location across pages, equipped with a recognizable magnifying glass icon. Display search results instantly as users type to enhance engagement and encourage exploration.
- Mood creation with typography: Leverage typography on artwork to convey the genre and mood of content effectively. Netflix, for instance, carefully selects fonts to evoke specific reactions, aligning font choices with the content's tone.
- Interactive video preview: Enable users to preview videos, helping them make confident decisions on what to watch. By expanding thumbnails into preview screens, users can get a glimpse of the content before committing to play.
- Content category and filtering options: By organizing content into categories such as genres, release years, languages, or themes, users can easily navigate through the vast library of content, which reduces the time and effort required to search for specific shows or movies. Additionally, filtering options allow users to customize their viewing preferences based on various criteria, such as ratings, popularity, or even cast members. These two features provide a streamlined approach to content discovery, enhancing user satisfaction and engagement on OTT streaming apps.
Personalization: Connecting Users to Stories They Love
Tailoring the user experience based on individual preferences is a fundamental aspect of OTT media. With the availability of various data analytics tools and machine learning technology nowadays, there is no excuse to miss out on the opportunity to create personalized watching experiences for different user profiles. There are several ways this can be done:
- Personalized recommendations: Leverage user data, such as viewing history and watch duration, to curate tailored recommendations. By presenting content aligned with users' preferences, you can enhance engagement and satisfaction.
- Artwork personalization: Display personalized artwork based on genre preferences, ensuring users are visually enticed by content that resonates with their tastes. This approach effectively communicates why a particular title may appeal to them.
- Trend-based recommendations: People enjoy being part of social TV talk and staying up-to-date with popular content. Introduce top 10 lists based on location or real-time updates to ensure users stay connected and engaged with trending shows and movies.
Understanding the evolving OTT landscape and prioritizing user-centric design is crucial for success. By acknowledging the changing viewing patterns, providing intuitive navigation, and offering personalized experiences, your platform can continue to thrive in a highly competitive market. Embrace innovation, adapt to change, and shape the future of OTT media by prioritizing user engagement and satisfaction.