The Google-owned video platform brought its short-form video offering to its television application Monday for TV models 2019 and later and newer game consoles.
User experience directors Brynn Evans and Melanie Fitzgerald wrote in a blog post Monday, “To make this moment happen, product managers, engineers, designers and researchers from the Shorts and TV teams came together to discuss how to bring this new video format to the big screen. It was important that the Shorts experience on TV felt consistent with what the community sees on mobile and also natural on the bigger screen.”
Three design concepts were created: Shorts in the conventional video player, customizing the feed to fill the blank spaces on either side of the video and a “Jukebox” style with multiple Shorts on-screen simultaneously, taking advantage of the additional space offered by TVs.
The teams found that “the joy of Shorts” was not conveyed via the first option, and the third option, Jukebox, strayed too far from the “essence of Shorts.”
Evans and Fitzgerald added, “We also learned that viewers wanted to be in the driver’s seat of the viewing experience and were happy to use the remote to manually advance to the next Short rather than have the feed auto-play. This was unusual. Typically, we find that level of interactivity can be tedious with a remote, but in this case, short-form video is unique. Research indicated that people want to take charge of the viewing experience— just like with Shorts on mobile—and even expected it.”
The final phase involved two prototypes: a simple one with the bare minimum, sidebars and basic functionality; and a “maximal” one with more visible functionality, including comments and related tags, with a color-sampled blurred background added later in the process.
The teams found that the maximal version made better use of the additional space on the TV screen, and the color-sampled background made the experience feel more modern.
YouTube chief product officer Neal Mohan said in the blog post, “Bringing Shorts to our community has transformed the way people create and watch video on YouTube. When we introduced this new format, we optimized the experience for the mobile creator and viewer. Today, we’re expanding viewing access to Shorts to our fastest-growing surface: the TV screen. While this may seem like a natural next step, an incredible amount of thought and care has gone into bringing this vertical, mobile-first experience to the big screen.”