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Designing for the Big Screen

At Screach we have a dedicated Product Team; designers and developers who create the on-screen animated, live and interactive content for ScreachTV.

Dave Potts heads up the team. Here’s some insight from him on Screach’s approach to designing for the big screen.

Our inspiration

We spend a hell of a lot of time in pubs, and we can see that conventional broadcast solutions suck – when a pub isn’t showing live sport, it’s normally just the news with the sound off. We see that the current broadcast model is broken for venues, so many of our ideas come from trying to fix this. We’re also data junkies, so when we come across a cool data stream, we love to experiment with visualising it on the screen.

The Challenges

Television in a bar is not watched in the same way as conventional television in the home, but you’ll notice that the current broadcast in both settings is still exactly the same. This makes no sense to us; few people go to a bar to watch television, and the on-screen content just becomes background visual noise, often with illegible text; it’s designed to be watched up-close in the quiet of your living room, not in a noisy social surrounding. On top of all of that, bars usually have the sound off on their TVs, so not only can viewers not read the content on it, they can’t hear it either. Not exactly the best user experience, is it?

Our challenge is to change this media format into something useful for venues, and interesting to customers, making the television in a venue relevant again. Viewers are accustomed to looking at broadcast content, so our biggest challenge is creating something new and appealing which isn’t jarring to the viewer. It has to be visually stimulating to cut through everything else that’s going on in the venue. It must function without audio too, and text must be completely legible, even from the back of the bar.

The process

The creation process starts with getting the team members together who will work on the project. We sit and thrash out possible solutions, and it’s a great feeling getting excited about the prospect of creating something new and game-changing. Our product team is a talented bunch of smarty-pants; they’re designers first and foremost, but they’re also code ninjas and are just as comfortable when developing software solutions. Most of our ScreachTV products have lots of moving parts, so we develop and design features in tandem. Before testing, we go over every aspect of the project with a fine-tooth comb to make sure the visuals for on-screen and in-phone are complementary, and that the software just works. At this point we do internal testing coupled with live trials in customer control groups, before rolling out to our nationwide customers.

What’s Next

The product team moves fast. We are working on a brand refresh across the whole platform that we hope everyone will love, it’s to keep the advert templates and interactive games feeling new. We also have some cool new television channels coming that we can’t wait to release. And in my work stream right now, I’m building some cool tech for smartphones that will change the way users play games in venue. I can’t say any more than that for the moment!

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