What makes a good TV app?
Make it a sit-back experience
Remember the TV is a very different device from a phone or website, so don’t just re-purpose existing apps. You need to make it a “sit-back” experience relevant to the sitting room. Save “sit forward” interaction for the PC or tablet as a companion service, and focus on video as the communication medium because that’s what TV does well. This means making sure the app can be navigated easily using a remote control. Avoid data input, because the remote control is hard to use for text. And remember people will be 10 feet from the screen and won’t be able to read easily, so steer clear of text and small images. Don’t ask people to register or manage an account: it’s too complex with the interfaces available. Instead, re-use existing website customer accounts.
– Tom Cape, chief executive of connected TV development agency Capablue
Keep on innovating
Don’t make an app designed for interaction via a TV because it’s a waste of time. And don’t force users into an environment that’s less user-friendly than other points of interaction in their lives (for example, YouTube’s connected TV search feature). If you can’t nail the user experience, don’t include it. Instead, think primarily about how the user will interreract, and whether that point of interaction is the best possible method of execution. Above all, continue to innovate and don’t assume that apps are the be-all and end-all of connected TV.
– Daniel Ruch, VP of Tremor Video and chair of the Internet Advertising Bureau’s Video Council
Look beyond IT for design inspiration
Don’t assume everyone is like you or understands the same interfaces. There are viewers who’ve never used an interactive service or the internet. Do look outside the information technology world for interface design and ways to present information – to gaming and gesture-based interfaces, for example. And surprise us. If we shout at the TV or walk away in disgust, why shouldn’t it turn itself off?
– Philip Ely, digital world research centre, University of Surrey