Enhanced TV Experiences

2014 for Microsoft Xbox

In 2014, I joined Microsoft Studios Vancouver to rapidly prototype, pitch, and ship Interactive TV experiences across Xbox and Windows devices. This team is highly production-oriented, shipping custom experiences and apps every 1 to 3 months, depending on the needs of its partners.

The year I was there, we focused on ramping up the studio's Streaming Video and Interactive TV engine to serve a growing number of shows and live sports/concert events, alongside interactive extras and personalized guides.

While there, I worked with cross-functional teams to:

  • Establish a Discovery process (prior to Design and Deliver steps), despite shortened timelines. We incorporated this process into products like Bonnaroo with Xbox to help stakeholders ramp up on music festival culture and to create a tone approriate to Bonnaroo.
  • Drive cross-product usability for the studio’s Interactive TV framework, improving performance and navigation for all 2014 offerings, balancing improvements with the need to maintain the existing UI structure.
  • Lead the prototyping and interaction design of NFL on Windows and Xbox Originals hub.
  • Partner with engineers to improve the studio’s cross-platform UI components, so that all the TV products could benefit from tablet/Windows features (touch, Live Tiles, etc.).
  • Patent: Enhanced interactive television experiences

Improving our product process

With such short project timelines, the creative team often received requests to skip the Discovery/Research steps of the design process and go straight to producing redlines and wireframes.

The design team wanted to show how a little Discovery and Research could reduce feature churn within a time-sensitive environment. I drove a collaborative process which allowed our designers to explore the product space, produce insights for our stakeholders, and still stay within a tight production schedule.

Discovery in Product Process

Bonnaroo with Xbox App

Xbox and Superfly (the festival promoter) wanted to create an exclusive experience that would allow fans to watch the festival live and capture the unique energy and aesthetic of the Bonnaroo music festival, which attracts over 90 000 music fans each year.

I supported the design team during pre-production, gathering research to help determine experience goals and product direction. I worked with Production and Live Ops during the festival to monitor experience quality, publish video content, and gather data for future improvements.

Further info: Xbox Wire Press Release.

Bonnaroo

NFL on Xbox and Windows

The first version of the NFL app launched with the Xbox One in Nov 2013. For the following season, we were charged with improving the app's overall performance and usability while keeping the existing framework, staying within strict franchise/business guidelines, and expanding the product line to Xbox 360 and Windows 8 (tablets/PCs).

Main goals and challenges:

  • Creating an input system that would make sense for Kinect, Xbox 360 controllers, Xbox One controllers and the Xbox remote, and tablet/touch
  • Communicating to users that availability of certain games/features was highly dependent on NFL licensing
  • Streamlining the sign-in process
  • Collaborating with engineering to ensure the app would perform well in full-screen and in "Snap" or Companion mode (e.g. alongside an Xbox game)

Official Xbox press with Drew Brees: Bringing Fantasy To Life.

NFL on Xbox