Why Data Driven Design is here to stay

The OTT market is competitive. In the past two years, 60 new OTT services were introduced in the U.S (with only 7 terminating in the same timeframe). Ensuring that your product appeals to your customers is crucial in keeping their loyal engagement.

Damien Donot, UX/UI Senior Designer, explains why more and more OTT providers are using Data Driven Design to shape their platforms.

The power of design

One of the biggest challenges facing all OTT providers is churn, aka when a customer cancels their subscription and hops over to another OTT platform. Cancelling a subscription is easy and often doesn’t cost to do so. To keep their customers on side, providers must keep their services desirable through focusing on design – focusing at both UX & UI. A successful OTT platform looks good and is easy to use. Losing the trust of customers with bad user experience gives you a lot of effort to get it back.

So why do OTT services bother with design updates?

Surely once you’ve worked out a successful design which your customers love to use, you should stick with it? With other OTT platforms constantly evolving to improve design, efficiency and usability it is difficult for providers to remain static without seeming dated and difficult to use. Focusing on UX and streamlining OTT content discovery is the driving force behind service updates within the industry. Consumers are now expecting to spend less time on discovering relevant content. Netflix has identified that their users are only willing to browse for content for 60-90 seconds; any longer and they’ll give up and move on to elsewhere. Updating the design of UI is important too and mustn’t be forgotten about. Even subtle changes can have a massive impact on user engagement.

Change in design can be risky

Not all change is good. Snapchat’s drastic UX/UI update saw Kylie Jenner tweet her disapproval and stop using the app. As a result, Snapchat’s parent company’s shares took a 6.1% dive (equating to $1.3 billion). Positive consumer sentiment towards Snapchat has decreased 73% since the beginning of 2016, largely due the failed redesign.

So what can be used to minimise the risks?

Data driven design is being used by many large businesses to analyse the psychology and habits of their users to mould their platforms’ designs. Famously, Google spent time and money analysing different shades of blue to distinguish which shade is most likely to be clicked by consumers. Although this analysis may seem frivolous, changing the shade of blue used on their ads enabled them to earn an extra $200million a year in ad revenue, proving that there is real value in the introduction of data driven design to your organisation’s design process.

Some of the most successful OTT platforms confess to the constant analysis of their users’ viewing habits to help understand which design updates are most likely to be received well. An updated design is not all about visuals. It’s important to take the time to analyse why users choose your app and what they are using it for. Designing is making a choice.

When you are designing a platform, the research phase is important, but this can be completed with data to back up the decisions made about how to create the best user experience. Understanding your user demographics and how they interact with the product should indicate what elements of your service are the driving force for your success. Changing these core features too much may upset your loyal audience and see them switching to another provider. Data-driven design helps creators move beyond best practices.

Getting change right: how does data driven design work?

Data driven design gives organisations an insight into what their customers want from the product. DDD uses a mixture of cognitive psychology, human/computer interaction and usability testing to understand what designs are well received and why. Tests can include eye tracking, surveys, screen recording and A/B testing, depending on what information you wish to gather and how you intend to use it to influence your re-design or update.

Looking at both qualitative and quantitative data is crucial when trying to understand the psychology behind your audience’s decisions. Selecting one type of data alone could create a misleading outcome, consequently decreasing the effectiveness of your findings. Analysis of test results can suggest which designs will be best received by your customers prior to beginning the redesign/update.

The next step for many providers is to turn to A/B testing to gauge how platform updates will be received by users. By targeting a specific demographic, it is possible to understand how changes are being received, why and whether their engagement is increasing or decreasing. Trialing changes on a smaller batch of customers is a cost-effective way of reducing the risk of implementing an upgrade. 

How accessible is Data Driven Design?

Historically, collecting and analysing data has been an expensive job, perhaps deterring smaller businesses from analysing their customers’ habits and allowing the larger companies to make headway. Thanks to the cloud and the large drop in the cost of computer processing, collecting and interpreting data is now becoming far more affordable for smaller businesses. Smaller OTT providers are now able to measure, analyse and see patterns in usage. Accessible data driven design services allow smaller providers to react to their customers’ needs and provide a highly tailored service – establishing smaller OTT providers as a force to be reckoned with.

Our white paper takes an in-depth look into Data Driven Design and its impact on the OTT industry

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