Film Mobile App Case Study
Screen is a hypothetical mobile app that keeps you connected with film enthusiasts in your circle or wider film industry.
Film is both a personal and social tool. What we currently have provides film-related information but not enough ways to network and directly share experience at ease.
To be a platform used by professional and regular users, for a more synergic judgment.
To make discussion and review pleasant through interactivity and rewarding sense of productivity
15-38 years old moviegoers from regular to professional who watches movie regularly enough and has a social media account.
Redefining the focus from the rich potential tools movie has
UX UI Designer, Researcher, Copywriter.
As I listed assumption, I distributed nine questions qualitative survey to simply unpack users' problems and experiences in exploring films and their expectations and attitude to a review. It gained 21 respondents.
Here is the categorized insight.
1. Lack of integration
Articles, casual and formal reviews spread over different sites make comparing inconvenient.
2. Mainstream-focused exposure
Big media coverage tends to focus on popular films and little on independent and classic gems.
3. Low Quality
The reviews are often unclear with no credible writer that sets the benchmark. The reviews have inseparable noise between personal opinion and buzzers promoting the film.
On defining quality:
24% think proper language does not matter
76% think it proper language matters
First Phase Ideation
Low Fidelity Prototype
The importance of separate sections from both well-written piece by competent people and conversational take by the audience. This ensures a complementing take.
What does not
Writing a review is an effortful contribution so it should be more encouraging and easy than restrictive. Language regulation to control quality and review downvote is scrapped off.
A redeemable point is discarded to focus on enhancing the quality of contribution and social engagement. It takes away the air of genuine contribution.
Feeds to see film activity within circle.
Recommendation, media, and polls
List of added events
Journal-like review writing page.
Rate, read a review, and leave specific upvote.
View yours and others' profiles, befriend and see categorized past activity.
The Big Question
What sets apart this app from existing social media, which has a bigger pool of known circle who also watches film?
I Interviewed 8 people to find out their film activity in relation to social circle. The other 4 participated for a low-fidelity test.
It generates a few important but challenging points.
Most trust getting or giving a recommendation to or from friends.
There is more personality in reviews posted on social media, as it is honest and shows one's consistent persona which IMDB lacks.
Knowing the reviewer in real-life is a measure of the opinion's value.
Some regular moviegoers seek information one-off. A search on google without a specific site suffices the goal.
The storage issue made downloading an app a thoughtful decision.
Low fidelity user-test:
To consider forum discussion format as films have holes to discuss
Prefer to browse more than having a single review designated page to write
Likes the idea of having more recommendations based on similar movies that users have reviewed.
Re-consider UI for user identity registration.
1. Review Entry
Starting with a single review entry to encourage writing, I now spread the button across pages as writing has multiple purposes other than a review. The audience needs to go to a film page first to review.
Designated writing page
2. Addition of Forum Page
Forum is important to dig deeper. Designated for film player, made the conversation discussable from multiple perspectives.
High-Fidelity User Testing
Second user testing involves four people via call interviews. Two are regular reviewer with an interest in the industry while the rest are regular filmgoers.
Here is the iteration made which set the interface to its final form (for now).
Set up Profiles
Out of black and white,
all opted for black.
Role in film options appear on the first page to establish background,
so people would see where the perspectives are coming from.
Besides, it opens up collaborative connection.
Half of the users would not use the status given its redundancy with the existence of other social platforms.
Half others would for a quick unpolished rant or long film-related posts with an option to send it to another platform.
Long format writing is useful especially for people with industry insight.
Discover page has a ratio of
10% linked articles
A film enthusiast user would spend the first half an hour following industry people and utilize the rest by browsing films.
General moviegoers tend to care more about browsing films than following industry people.
One regular moviegoer thinks the app gives elitist vibe, given the intellectual tone of specific upvote compliment. Emoji is good to tone down its seriousness.
The rest prefer emoji for quick interaction.
There's a consideration for showing a number of downvotes. But in order to foster healthy discussion, to which means giving reader insight of the indirect reactions to the film, or direct reaction to the review.
All users were most enthusiastic about forum. Most would visit often and occasionally participate.
Rather than popping on news feed or notification, follow feature allows easy-access to see interesting forum on the top.
As profile usually shows, it shows the user's activity history. Users like to see and read their past thoughts and how others reacted.
That is why the profile has a look of a neat portfolio with categorized sections.
Instead of a graph that previously indicated activeness, showing progress of engagement with the user's activity/contribution is more informative, for it is beyond control and people tend to like seeing how their presence made a difference.
Likewise with your own profile, user can see other people's rating, review, forum post, and status.
It shows taste commonality, giving an idea of how much the rating could be personally trusted. All users tested like this feature.
The Take Away
Having created this app from scratch caused an overlap in the UX and business idea validation. It started with a wide array of features and constant redefinition to align with the goal causes discarding a lot of ideas to give space for new ones, or focus on strengthening the existing ones. The goal itself also went through minor evaluation.
I found that maintaining "gold" ideas for its brilliant discovery, can put other more crucial things at stake. Costumer don't always do the things we do and won't care as much about how good of an idea it is, more than how user-friendly it is.
I learned a more holistic view of the problem, which still leaves more gaps for further learning. As apps develop by number and quality, the analysis should be sharper to minute things that felt too petty to be an actual problem.