All Work

Alpha

I had been working closely with Legendary Entertainment for some time (see: legendary.com) when Legendary Digital Network approached us about helping them concept out a subscription video on demand platform that would capitalize on all the special content they’ve been releasing, as well as a few new shows that they would spin up exclusively for the platform.

The Challenge

To bring several Legendary owned properties (Nerdist and Geek & Sundry) under one roof in a way that would cater to both fanbases, and allow them to engage with their favorite content in a way they haven’t been able to in the past. We were tasked with helping shape that subscription offering and bring solutions around how to best funnel fans into the environment.

The Solution

A highly engaging, responsive React-based platform with Brightcove integration to serve up premium quality videos and allow for real-time live show streaming. A handful of other SaaS integration powered chatrooms, forums, unified LDN account management and much more. From very early concepting of the web app to the recent launch of the Android native app, our team has collectively spent almost two years dedicated to building, improving and supporting Alpha.

Wires Prototyping

The nature of this work was very much iterative and a collaborative sprint based process, working very closely with the client to really shape the full offering, as well as define a narrowed down MVP with a clear cut path for feature roll-outs and enhancements. This type of work necessitates that we focus solely on the flow and baseline architecture of the experience. In favor of doing so, the first few sprints were conducted with mid-level fidelity wireframes, which we dropped into InVision so that we can get something clickable at the earliest stages. This allowed us to pivot quickly and have everyone aligned and focused.

Interactivity & Engagement

Out of the gate I knew that the real differentiating factor for this experience would be the level of participation and engagement that we provide to the fans. It’s not simply about access to streaming video, it needed to go further and deeper than that. The Nerdist and Geek & Sundry audiences are well versed in tech and gaming, they needed a platform that has extra levels of interactivity. To achieve this we concepted out different variations of live stream quizzing, partnerships with 3rd party services that allowed for real-time fan call-ins into the live shows, and other means of active participation.

It's not simply about access to streaming video, it needed to go further and deeper than that.

Persistent Chat

Allowing subscribers to have active conversations around the programming was a no-brainer. It’s the sort of thing that is prevalent and heavily utilized in the community (e.g. Twitch, Steam). We created a persistent chat that lives throughout the experience. Much like Facebook, you can chose to engage in it, or not, but we wanted to allow people to seamlessly browse and watch content while having the freedom to maintain those conversations at the same time.

Watch & Chat

Building further on the chat abilities, in the instance that a Live Event is happening, users are directed to that chatroom for more timely discussions. The Live streams are always lead by LDN designated monitors and there’s almost always an appearance by one of the notable celebrities. This allows fans to chat directly with the stars of shows like Nerdist News and Critical Role, acting as a huge value proposition for the subscription platform.

User Accounts

From a UX and back-end development standpoint there were a lot of nuanced things that had to be resolved that are largely ‘behind-the-scenes’. One of those was unified user log-in. Prior to working on LDN, when we re-platformed the Nerdist and Geek & Sundry sites we preemptively added the ability for users to create accounts (which at the time had limited value props). With the launch of Alpha we were able to carry over those accounts in a way that let users with existing LDN accounts to more easily create Alpha account. That elevated subscription then also opened up extra bonuses for those properties. Two years into working with Legendary it was rewarding to watch that grand master plan finally unveil!

Native iOS App

We came out with a very defined product on the web side of the house, but approaching the app experience we knew it would be a whole other beast. It couldn’t be just a mobile version of the desktop platform (we already had a responsive website), it needed to be an innovative experience crafted specifically for the device and the way people interact with it. Get the app here.

Browsing Content

Coming out of a focused exercise of competitor analysis and multiple drafts for the flows of the mobile experience we deducted that the primary focus should be the ability to quickly and easily discover new content, and search for content users know and love. We wanted to take what Hulu, Netflix & others were doing but turn it on its head a little with a slightly unconventional navigation. It was a task of balancing out good, clear-cut user experience with something new and different. Swiping left and right from the landing page allowed you to either enter passive content land or active participation territory.

We broke the content out into the different properties, and allowed people to browse by either individual recent episodes or their favorite shows.

Fan Engagement

Giving the users the ability chat while watching the content was just as much a priority on mobile as it was on desktop, it’s what the fans expect. We gave them two different ways to go about that: we integrated chat into the video detail pages, letting them chose to either participate or sit out. We also implemented a persistent collapsable video that follows the user around the app, enabling them to continue exploring content, or even go into the chatroom and watch while chatting. As a result we were able to achieve even more features on the mobile app and have the whole experience feel very native to its environment.

And then we did it again with the Android native app.

Credits

Sanborn Agency

2016 - 2018

Role: Creative Director, UX Lead

Branding by: Moto

Lead Web App Designer: Jeffrey Peltzman

Lead iOS & Android App Designer: Mariana Bricio