Within the OTT space, creativity is essential. Standing out from the crowd, being different, and making yourself known are all essential elements in crafting a successful OTT app, and a successful OTT app stems from being creative.
In this blog, I’m going to run through our process of developing a high-quality, performant OTT application, as well as detail why creativity in this space is so important, drawing from my many years of experience working in this field.
What is OTT?
To begin with, I’ll start by defining what OTT and Connected TV is to help give some context.
In short, OTT, which stands for ‘Over-The-Top’, is the method used for delivering video content via an internet connection.
Connected TV, or CTV as it is commonly known, is the device used to access and view video content. Smart TVs are quickly becoming the most popular connected device in the world, with global Smart TV ownership set to exceed 50% by 2026.
As an example, industry titan Netflix gives you an abundance of engaging content as an OTT provider, and if you were to watch Netflix on your Samsung Smart TV, you are using a Connected TV device to view the content. Essentially, you get to use a Connected TV device to view some truly awesome OTT content like Tinder Swindler or Jeen-Yuhs – how cool is that?
Project Run Through
As an OTT app development agency, we design and build streaming apps for some of the biggest names in the industry. To help you better understand the process, let’s take a top-level run through of how we execute a project from start to finish.
Before kicking off a project, the Product, Design, UX and Technical teams spend time mapping out what the product should look like.
When we kick off a project, after visualising what the product will look like, the design team begins to take charge of the next part of the process, together with UX Researchers and Product and Project Managers.
Once we have gained approval on both the approach to be taken with the project, as well as the initial designs, we then begin to involve our development team so that the product can truly start to begin taking shape.
Once we have a product that we can see and begin interacting with, the process then begins to involve the Quality Assurance team. Their role in this process is to rigorously test the application to ensure it is optimised and exceeds users’ expectations.
What does FX Digital do to get creative?
Here at FX Digital, we do lots of ideation and problem solving as part of any live project, and outside of our client projects, we invest lots of time and money into research and development to help us recognise ideas and ways to improve the way a user experiences our products on a wide range of connected devices. As users will be interacting with the apps we build in their homes, it’s extremely important that it feels right, is seamless, is logical and useful. The end goal is to give all users of our apps the best experience possible, and this is why creativity when working in this field is so important.
When we kick off a project, we have a phase solely dedicated to research and prototyping. We do this in order to be able to define what it is that our client wants, how we can resolve a problem and how we can create the best possible experience for the end-user. We carry out interviews during this phase to better understand the wants and needs of the user, helping us to better understand where improvements are needed.
We understand that the experience on connected devices, in this case, TVs, is very different from on a laptop, tablet or mobile device. This experience when consuming content via a TV is called the “10-foot user interface” which gets its name from the average distance a user is from the screen when interacting with the device.
We know that the device is traditionally located in a room, so it’s far from the handheld experience you get when you use a laptop, tablet or mobile phone. The user is also further away from the screen, and in most cases, they have a remote to operate the device with rather than a mouse or a touch screen. Our job is to factor in these differences when we decide how an app should look and function. The challenge is to find the right balance between the visual and the functional aspects to ensure that we create something that is easy to use and meets a wide range of needs.
What makes the OTT landscape so exciting is the speed at which new solutions, methods and technology are being introduced into the space. This means there really are no boundaries. The rules are continuously being written and redefined as new OTT products are launched in the market, hence why creativity in the project process is crucial in building a successful OTT product.
With the number of OTT subscribers in Europe set to exceed 159 million by 2023, building and crafting an OTT application with creativity at the forefront of the process is almost essential as the space becomes more crowded by brands looking to claim their share of the market. Delivering a quality product to your audience that serves their every need as well as going beyond expectation is paramount, and something we’ve had the pleasure of gaining heaps of experience in over the years.
Giving you a top-level run through of our development process will help you to better understand how we work, as well as how we constantly strive for creativity in every aspect of a project.
The OTT space is set to continue booming in years to come, so strap yourselves in, we’re set for one heck of a ride!
Below are some useful resources regarding OTT, UX and creativity:
- IABM’s ‘Demystifying OTT: How to break into the Connected TV space and launch a successful streaming product‘ webinar
- FX Digital’s podcast: The OTT Cast
- The three ways that good design makes you happy TED talk
- The History of UX Design article