03. Redesigning Crunchyroll for TVs

Redesigning the premier anime application streaming service.
Category
Application
Service
year
2022
03. Redesigning Crunchyroll for TVs

Project Background

I love anime. I grew up watching anime with my grandma, falling in love with the diversity of the medium, as well as the high concepts. Crunchyroll is a legal streaming service that has always been a bit clunky on TVs. The company has to focus on two apps, leading to sort of a split experience where there are different pros and cons between the Crunchyroll app and the VRV app. This project goes over the process of redesigning the Crunchyroll app for Amazon's Fire TV.

Research

My research this time was focused on two things: Which tasks are proving to be the biggest challenges, and which streaming services have features that I would consider more comfortable to interact with and view. In terms of research tasks, I conducted the following:

Market Analysis

For the market analysis, I looked into standards and functions on other streaming platforms. These services included:

  • Netfliix
  • HiDive
  • Hulu
  • Discovery+
  • Disney+

Whenever I conduct this type of research, I try to include direct industry leaders, as well as more tertiary or secondary options. The reasoning behind this is simple. I want to cast a wide net, while also focusing on smaller, more focused products that cater to unique audiences.

I investigated their general layouts, application features, accessibility options, and categorization/filter options. After doing so, I created a list of pros and cons of each. This research was primarily done to figure out what features are standard and to learn where it was possible to inject more accessibility and ease of use into the Crunchyroll system.

Task Analysis

When it comes to task analysis, I focused on two core tasks: finding a show in a certain language, and skipping the intro or ending in an anime. As a regular Crunchyroll user, I'm fairly familiar with their system; however, when it comes to general usage, the anime industry is catered towards two general types of users, folks who like the original Japanese language with subtitles and people who prefer to watch a series dubbed into their native language. This helps identify one of the most important features, language filtering and overall accessibility.

Task #1: Find a specified show in the Portuguese language:

In terms of steps, this is average. You login to the application, and begin searching for your desired show; however, the most present issue is a lack of language filtering and unclear language on the application. In general, users would often find it unclear what language they were looking at, because it was all sorted based on season. For instance, the Portugese dub or sub might be listed as season six or seven, when the series only has two seasons. This lack of clarity identifies two needs, an easier means to sort between actual seasons, a way to sort between your preferred audio language, and a way to sort between your subtitle language.

Task #2: Skip an opening or ending song:

In the anime industry, you find that shows always have opening songs and ending songs. Some people prefer to watch them, others watch only one, and others will skip both entirely. Therefore, it's very important that users have flexibility in the app, so their preferences are more easily met. This is an area where Netflix shined (As of now, more platforms offer skipping). At the time of this project, if you wanted to skip, you had to go to the playback bar, and move it forward the corresponding amount (roughly nine button presses on your TV remote). This sounds small, but when it's being used every 24 minutes, users aren't able to be as relaxed or satisfied as they could be.

Netflix far outclassed Crunchyroll in this area, not only offering a skip intro button, but also saving that preference in a binge watch session.

The Final Product

In designing this product, I found that the best service to mimic or take features from was Netflix. The video player and hierarchy for shows needed the most improvement, so I improved upon those most heavily. I also designed a series of pages that guide the users through language preferences, both in dubbing and subtitles. This is meant to alleviate the core issue that I ran into, watching a show in your preferred language, without having to struggle or wait for text animations.

Preferred audio language screen.
Preferred audio language.
Preferred subtitle language.
Preferred subtitle language.
A new series screen.
A new series screen.
And a video player with more features.
And a video player with more features.