Social TV Concepts
In order to increase engagement and viewing numbers, TV channels always looked for ways to promote the interaction between the audience and their shows. Until the advent of Smart TVs, this interaction happened outside the TV, either by website, apps, phone, or even mail.
At the same time, the TV viewing experience always had a communal and social aspect associated with it. People enjoy discussing what they see in the news, sports, and TV shows they watch.
With these two points in mind, we explored the combination of social features with the interactive capabilities of a Smart TV. Below are two concepts I developed for Hisense:
Social Media Feed
The intention behind this exploration was to use the biggest screen you have for displaying social media content.
We were aware of the issues involved with mixing TV and social settings. By its nature, the TV is very passive experience, while people in social networks usually interact a lot. Writing even a short text with a TV remote is terrible, an issue that does not exist in web or mobile devices. So, we had to explore what does and does not work.
Direction: Curating the Content
Because the content was going to be displayed on a TV, we established criteria for deciding what it must contain to work in this environment:
a) Heavily visual content (photo/video)
b) Short textual content
c) Simple interactive content
We ran through the most popular content types on social networks against the criteria, removed  everything that didn’t fit, and finally selected the following six types of contents to use:
UI Design Results
The final proposal shows the social feed integrated into the TV. Users could take a peek at their timelines, browse the content, and perform simple actions (liking a photo or post).
From a UI perspective, the feed inherits the same structure, clean layout, and colors as the other tabs from the TV:
Social Volume
This concept was based on the notion that people like to gather and engage in activities with their friends. The Social Volume, as we called it, was data visualization in the form of a pyramid to help users choose a channel to watch. The pyramid was made of profile photos of one’s friends – the larger its size, the more popular the channel.
While flipping through channels, users could quickly get a sense of who and how many of their friends are watching that particular content. The closer the relationship with a friend, the bigger its block. This way, close friends would be easier to spot and also cause a greater impact on the pyramid’s size.
Split Mode
This was a variation of the Social Volume concept. In this case, the pyramid would be split into two or more groups so people could take sides, as commonly happens in Sports events or contests.

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