Xenoabe UX

Emmy award winning UX professional. I put the fun in functional.

Cartoon Network Anything

Idea

The original idea pitched to our team was a Cartoon Network app that was Vine meets Wario Ware. I'm not sure that's exactly where it ended up but that was the jumping off point. The idea eventually morphed into what we call a micro-network. It is an endless stream of various types of content that's all around 15 seconds in length.

Early App Stage

We met with vendors to help flesh this app out due to the concurrent work of the Cartoon Network Site Redesign. The great thing about this app is that the app itself doesn't have a lot to it. The user swipes from content to content. They can access Likes and a few other things but the app itself is mostly a shell for pieces of content. The vendor did a great job at putting together a simple but usable design very quickly.

Early Content Stage

The content was going to be what the success of this app hinged on. We had several brainstorms to come up with all kinds of content that we could create. We would eventually start to bucket those ideas into categories that would define how the content was constructed.

CMS Stage

There were three big things I was aiming for in creating a custom CMS for Cartoon Network Anything. First, I wanted the creation of content to be quick and easy. We worked out templates so producers could essentially fill out forms to create the necessary content. We also created a QR system so that using the app and the CMS allowed us to easily QA specific pieces of content. 

Secondly, I wanted to be able to find pieces of content quickly and easily. We created a robust and multi-factored search feature so that producers could quickly find the content they were looking for. They can then either batch edit or edit individual pieces of content as needed.

Lastly, I wanted quick reporting within the CMS. This gives us a few high level details we need to keep the product successful on an ongoing basis. It allows us to make sure we maintain balances of the types of content and the properties from which those content are based. It also allows us to quickly see the number of views and likes any content has. 

Launch

We launched on October 9th of 2014. The network has had steady promotion since then. The app and the network are in a symbiotic relationship in that the network promotes to the app from on-air and the app helps promote the network by building content around new shows, specials, and stunts. The app has actually grown in popularity and continues to do very well. The 15 seconds rule has given us the freedom to test new and stranger content with very low risk.

Cartoon Network Site Redesign

Idea

To split the site into two distinct areas of video and games. The idea was to provide a responsive site for our video to allow our users to view that content on any device. The games relied heavily on Flash so we would section that off and keep that a non-responsive site. We also had to account for in-between areas such as the homepage and community.

Early Stage

Video was the first responsive project we had ever tackled so we spent time learning the ins and outs of making a responsive site and how we would need to design for that. We worked very closely with our developers to make sure we were keeping our site as truly responsive as we could. 

Games was a more conventional redesign but we also were factoring in streamlining our production process. Our audience was moving away from the web and towards mobile so we needed to make sure our resources aligned with that shift. 

We also would need to address the homepage. We needed to figure out what we would promote and how we would be able to adjust that from day to day. We also took a responsive approach to the homepage. We landed on an idea of cards designed for specific types of content that can be shifted around based on our needs at any given time.

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Design Stage

With the responsive site we found out we would actually need to design it a few times. We started mobile first but we would find out that by the time we worked up to the desktop size we would need to refactor our smaller designs as well. From a UX perspective, we would design parts of each page as modules and adjust those instead of designing the page as a whole and having to adjust everything with each change. It was a time intensive process to achieve our final designs. 

The Games redesign was more about what features to remove and what to add. We cleaned up some things like our social features and controls. One feature we added was comments on every game that have proven to be very popular.

The homepage redesign has been very successful. It allows us to promote our top content, Games, for 90% of the time but also allows to promote a big network event or even sponsorship if needed. The Cards concept has proven to be very successful across various areas of the network.

Development Stage

We worked with internal developers on this project. This, in my opinion, makes things much easier because we always had access to them. Any issues that arose they would immediately come to our desk and we could figure out a solution on the fly. Our developers were absolutely amazing and accomplished difficult technical tasks that we asked of them.

Launch

We launched in three stages. We launched the video site first, then the homepage, and then the games site. The time between each phase was difficult due to old designs and features feeling wonky but the final product is something I'm very proud to display. It's an unorthodox solution but one that fit our business needs while meeting our users' needs and expectations.

Cartoon Network Video App

Idea

To go beyond the typical on-demand experience of most television networks and create a Pandora-esque experience for video.

Early Stage

We knew we needed both an on demand and a Pandora like experience so we had to figure out how to meld the two together. We settled on the bold idea to make the decision for the user and land them on the Pandora like experience and allow access to the on demand area. We called the Pandora like experience The Mix and started designing from there.

We took a room that was not used very often and filled it with post-it notes of features, personas, and early sketches/wireframes of ideas. We then had daily and weekly meetings with various stakeholders to discuss specific features and areas of the app.

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Design Stage

UX and Design worked very closely on this project. We spent time wireframing and doing design exploration of the various areas and features of the app. We would review those various stakeholders to get sign off. 

Once we got a good portion of the design in we brought in the outside vendor who was going to develop the app. Ideally, I like to work with a developer from the very beginning of a project but we had to wait until we could bring the outside vendor in as early as they could manage and still maintain our budget.

Development Stage

We had discussions with our developers about how feasible our ideas were. Sometimes we had to make compromises with our designs and sometimes we had to push the developer to try some new and unorthodox techniques to accomplish a design.

Our internal design, UX, and production teams worked very closely with the developer to accomplish what we set out to create.

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Evangelism Stage

Other areas of the network had been brought in at various stages to provide insight into how this app would affect their worlds. Once we got close to completion of development we really began to evangelize the app and what we created across the network. Buy in was fantastic and other departments began to rethink how they would work in the future to support the success of the app.

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Launch

The app launched on July 3rd and was a huge success. We increased video plays and time spent in the app by significant margins. The success has continued to be much larger than it was with the previous iteration of our flagship app. We continue to work on updates and improvements to roll out to enhance our users' experiences with the app.

Post Launch

We've continued to make improvements to the app. These improvements are mostly based around enhancing the user experience and increasing the ability to personalize and tailor the app to each user's individual needs and desires. There have been some revenue enhancing improvements as well. Those are always balanced out with the experience so as not to push users away. We've even reduced the amount of ads shown to users based on early feedback. 

We have many improvements currently in the pipeline and we're very excited about some much larger user-facing improvements that are set to launch in the next year or two.

If I make two of these are they feeters?