Showtime is a premium cable and satellite entertainment network that serves first-run and original series and movies to nearly 30 million households across the US. In 2010, Showtime launched the web-based streaming service Showtime Anytime, which offers on-demand access to programming across Showtime’s 8 multiplex channels.
Showtime followed the launch of its streaming web service with an iOS app a year later, and now needed to complete its mobile offering with a native Android phone and tablet experience. In order to be successful, this app needed to effectively communicate Showtime’s consumer value and fit naturally within the Android ecosystem — a quick “port” of the iOS design would have been at odds with the premium service model core to Showtime’s brand.
My team’s task was to design and build an app that supported a wide range of Android devices and felt natural and at home in the Android ecosystem. Since none of Showtime’s senior leadership and executive teams were Android users, we kept them actively engaged throughout the design process so that they understood the benefits of working with the differences in the Android platform and capitalizing on its strengths — as opposed to merely accommodating its weaknesses.
My role on the Showtime Anytime Android project included:
- Assessing Showtime Anytime’s information architecture and formulating a context appropriate approach to interaction design for Android
- Working iteratively with Showtime stakeholders and Übermind’s engineering and QA teams to create a detailed interaction design specification
- Working with engineering and QA throughout development and deployment in Google Play to ensure an effective and performant final product
Project stakeholders wanted an application that had a good “Android fit,” but were conflicted as to what that actually meant. To help sort this out I led a series of workshops that focused on understanding Android design patterns and on generating a common vision for high-level design direction.
Information Architecture & Interaction Design
The existing Showtime Anytime information architecture was deeply influenced by web metaphors and technologies. Articulating this IA to a native context required me to rethink how key elements of the information design could be expressed effectively on the Android platform. I began by addressing global structure as a whole, then worked thorugh individual screen hierarchies, interactions, and flows in detail.
Support & Launch
As the project moved into the development phase, I worked closely with our studio team of visual designers and Android engineers to ensure that the information architecture and interaction design of the application was effectively carried through to the device. The final result is an application that lets Showtime’s brand shine and meets the expectations of Android users, whatever device they happen to be using.
The Showtime Anytime Android app earned a “top developer” rating on Google Play at launch and has since been installed over a million times. More importantly, because the original application was designed to leverage the strengths of the Android platform, Showtime has been able to build on this foundation over time to respond to evolving market opportunities and the changing demands of their customers.