Smart TV App Design

In late 2014 W12 Studios worked with Russian TV startup Okko to build a new smart TV app that blended together broadcast channel content, on demand video & catch up into a single platform, working to the limitations of smart TV apps with a radically simple UI.

Okko’s existing VOD app, play.ru, has become one of Russia’s most popular On Demand services, with prime billing on smart TV home screens and a companion mobile app. For the latest iteration, the eponymously titled Okko, they looked to expand their offering beyond just On Demand movies and TV-Series to Channels, allowing users to customise their alá carte subscription service to their desire.

Channel page for a live channel

For Okko, we looked at extending the classic convention of channels: a chronologically ordered, set of live broadcast content. To do so, we did an inventory of the kind of content that could exist on the platform and settled on three main channel types: Live channels only feature live, broadcasted content. New channels only feature on-demand content such as TV-series, movies and short clips. Hybrid channels live somewhere in the middle.

These channels would have to fit into an interaction model that allowed users to easily navigate across channels, see what’s on, and then jump into what they wanted to watch. The model we settled with uses a single, clear point of focus and navigation based on two axis: vertically across channels, horizontally within channels.

In addition, Okko was one of the first projects where we produced an end-to-end prototype that would cover off the main interactions, visual designs and motion of the platform. Throughout the duration of the project Okko was built by a designer working double duty on interaction design and prototyping. This allowed us to test interactions, try out image treatments with a large content set, and present our progress in detail on a facsimile of the real product.

The project concluded in the delivery of the prototype, a visual style guide detailing key patterns and styles and a technical documentation of how we structured TV and film data for the prototype. We look forward to seeing the ongoing development and debut release of Okko TV.