An Evolution From Primary To Second Screen Experiences
In talking with stakeholders and fans, it became clear that in addition to your standard DVR functionality like play, pause, rewind, and fast forward, the large array of player, team, and game data that the league had available could be used to further immerse a fan into the game.
The application first launched as a bit of a prototype. A web-based solution that was used to measure success, learn from, and provide a foundation to build upon in the future. It turned out the app was a hit, and the following season the NBA re-engaged us to help design how we could expand the experience to mobile devices. This came with its own unique set of challenges, both technical and with the UI as mobile applications were still in their infancy. Through research, experimentation, and testing, we were able to find the right solution and delivered an experience that allowed for streaming of both video and audio-only (to conserve bandwidth/data usage) and provide statistics and data visualization so people could use the device as a “second-screen” experience.
Designing The 10-Foot User Experience
Once again the experience proved successful and for the following season, a new type of streaming experience was beginning to emerge. Digital set-top devices like Apple TV, Roku, and early smart TVs were rolling out and providing a new type of app store and digital ecosystem. Eager to expand the application and build upon the success of the web-based and mobile versions, NBA again asked for our help in designing a solution for this new type of experience.
At the time, all of these devices were very new, some hadn’t even been released in the US yet, so none of the design standards we take for granted today had been worked out yet. Also, many of these platforms had incredibly tight technical restraints because the hardware components used in the devices were still being ironed out. Again we relied on our design process to understand, concept, and test ways for a user to interact with a “10-foot-UI” via a TV remote.
Halfway through the season, it was crystal clear that the NBA League Pass suite of products was a smash hit. With a platform that now scaled across the web, mobile, and set-top boxes, the NBA started to expand its in-house team to support, evolve, and push this new line of business forward.