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Oppo Media Control App

The OPPO MediaControl app turns your mobile device and tablet into a remote that provides complete control over your OPPO Blu-ray player. The app is able to browse media libraries, control playback of media files, and even turn the player on and off.

2014 was a year of significant transition for Oppo Digital business. On June 12, thousands of U.S. customers turned their smartphone to Media Control at no additional cost.

My Role

 

I did this project with oversight from Lanping Deng, Director of Product Development at Oppo. I was responsible for the design process including user research, wireframing, user testing, visual design and documentation.

The Challenge
Create Deeper Relationships 
OPPO Digital is Manufacturer of DVD players.Since 2013, Blu-Ray DVD sales have declined and now a sizable proportion of the media industry’s revenue is made up by on‐demand streaming services. For Oppo, this signaled a rapid change in consumption habits.

Our challenge was how can we connect our Blu-Ray DVD user by their smartphone. Could we turn the mobile device to be a remote control?  And make the app better than a real remote control?

The Approach

Oppo Remote Control 

In favor of speed to market, we were tasked to design and build Oppo Remote Control App before Oppo Media control App within our existing architecture. This tactic was perceived to be advantageous and the least riskiest.​

The assumption was simple—we made an app to replace user's Oppo DVD Remote. Extend the acquire, play, manage conceptual model that customers were familiar with and leverage the existing infrastructure to get to market sooner and cheaper.

This early architectural decision had a major impact on the quality of the customer experience we could both create and reconcile.

The Discovery
 
CUSTOMER INSIGHTS
​       
At the same time, I conducted customer and market research to drive our planning phase. I interviewed 10 customers in the Best Buy of Mountain View and did 3 deep interview.
Rsearch Methods
  • Interviewed

  • focus group research with the OPPO Blu-Ray Player users

  • survey

 “What's different behavior for smart device user and Blu-Ray device user  to play the stream media?”

82% user play streaming videos on their Blu-Ray DVD for their family. And most smart device users play the media for themselves.

91% customers expect the smart device know them. Like their favorite movie, most played CD. But they don't have same expectation for the Blu-Ray player.

Price are very sensitivity for both Blu-Ray player and smart phone user. It was the motivating factor for customers switching from DVD to on-demand streaming services.

The Vision

DIRECT STREAMING 

We want to make the OPPO MediaControl app is more than just a replacement remote for Blu-ray player. It allows cusotmer's tablet or smartphone complete control over their OPPO Blu-ray player.

They can use it to to browse media libraries, control playback, direct streaming from mobile device, turn the player on and off. 

THE Process

HOW I GOT THERE

 

I  read all threads about Blu-ray & HD DVD in avsforum which is the largest discussion forum dedicated to Home Theater. I was not only  focus on Oppo owner's threads but also discussed with users who use other brands Blu-Ray Player.

The biggest challenge I faced throughout this project was balancing moving forward with designs, whilst collaborating with the wider team. Since this project touched every part of our Blu-Ray Player business, I needed to coordinate from many teams that were both co‐located and distributed. This was hard.

Managing feedback was even more challenging because it felt like a swinging pendulum of viewpoints. The team spent a disproportional amount of time debating design decisions— when there wasn’t data that could easily be gathered to help drive a decision.

Since our developer team is in China, I observed this pattern early enough in the project and invested time into creating documentation to help alleviate the data crutch and better articulate and distribute design rationale. Doing this upfront was quite time consuming, but saved a lot of back‐and‐forth as the project progressed.

Replace of remote 

Like Oppo Remote Control, the Oppo Media Control can be used in place of or in conjunction with the physical remote control.

Control multiple players

User want to control all the blu-ray devices by one app. But sometimes It is confused to find the blu-ray device they want to control.

Quickly browse

Help user find what they need quickly. Use could go through media files by using the alphabetical scrollbar and search.

Easily control

User play a media to complement a mood or an activity such as relaxing, working‐out, cleaning or reading. So it is important to easily access and control the playback of media file.

The Aim

What is the priority?

My aims were to understand how customers thought about different categories of content and what was most important to them.

During the think‐aloud I was surprised to hear participants ranked content based on what they felt was predictable and could trust as relevant, what made them curious and finally what they were skeptical about.

The results highlighted that we needed to prioritise browse source. The touch control was a familiar tool for customers to use as a remote. I put these two concepts nearby each other to design the navigator experience. 

Design Draft

Here I recorded my concerns and his feedback. I sketched out my ideas for each page and discussed the interface design  and user flow with my manager. My thoughts are all written in black, and my manager's insights is in red.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Usability Test

 

For the sake of efficiency, I used the Rapid Iterative Testing and Evaluation method to test our design. I conducted moderated, 60 minutes long, one-on-one usability tests with 3 participants using the prototype. two of them were experienced with OPPO remote control but never used OPPO media control.Based on their feedback, we refined our design.

 

 

Test Findings

Wayfinding

“After using the media control app for a couple times I still feel that the player menu isn’t design in an easy to use way. There should be only one or two options…It’s hard to master the app.”

—Anonymous Beta Participant

I observed that customers had difficulty finding the Blu-Ray Player; felt disoriented in the app; and could not re‐find the player they used. These devices name are very similar, like BDP-103, BDP 105.

Oppo Media app embedded  customers mental model to add a Blu-Ray Player. This heavily influenced their expectations and behaviours, which meant the experience was very difficult to use.

To solve the discoverability issue, I tried 3 method to help user find the player:

  1. Allow user change the name of Blu-Ray Player

  2. User could change the color of the icon of player in the App

  3. User could add a picture for the Blu-Ray Player.

 

The first method was chosen because most users have 2 Blu-Ray Devices at home. Changing name of the player was the most convenient way for them to connect the right Blu-Ray Device.

After making this change, I observed that user could recognize and connect to the Blu-Ray device immediately.

The name and the icons looks very similar. User can't find the right player at the first moment.

The Execution

Bringing It All To Life

The gallery below shows some of the app designs for Android Mobile and iOS App.

Instructions for new user 

The Impact
A Good Start

It’s still early days for the service, yet the results have exceeded our expectations. Since the launch of the Oppo Media Control on iOS and Android, the median number of active customers has increased by 186%

  • Increased median active days per customer by 50%

  • Increased median playing hours per customer by 36%

  • Increased new customer retention rate by 31%

“I am so excited about Oppo Media Control! I can’t wait to see what else Oppo comes up with! Well worth being a Oppo’s customer!”

By Howard Ostrow

“That is fantastic!!!!!! Oppo means more right now! I will recommend the app to my friends! Wow still cannot believe it is true!”

By John J. Davidson

“Using this to navigate my substantial music collection is SO much faster and easier than doing so with the regular remote! Also, this allows me to turn my plasma HDTV off while selecting and playing music, which is great as the fixed image shown during music playback ”

By Jason R.Loudenbeck

“The app is much  better than any other app for control I have used. Shows not just control options but media info sources. Such as song info and streaming options. Very easy to use. Great if you stream a lot of files on your home network.”

By James Seymour

Reflections

What I Learned

Design is not just about functionality or effective communication, but also it is about the experience. While re-designing the dashboard process, the main focus is the experience – how make the first time user feel less overwhelmed and more pleasant? With that in mind, my re-design proposal significantly reduced both number of steps and amount of information. 

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