When Charter Communications wanted to make its content available on mobile, we helped create an app that changed the way its customers watch TV.
Television is alive and well.
According to Nielsen, the average American watches more than four hours of live TV a day, though not necessarily on a standard living room television set. Viewing trends, led by millennials, are shifting to include more non-traditional screens, including mobile devices.
In response to this shift, Charter Communications is adapting its traditional video model to make its content available on mobile devices—meeting customers on their terms while delivering a consistent customer experience across all Charter platforms.
“It’s what you want, where you want it”
Charter’s flagship mobile apps were designed to extend—and improve—the television experience, said Dan Graham, senior director of mobile products for Charter Communications.
Charter’s vision for mobile aligns with where the broader television industry is headed.
“We believe it’s what you want, where you want it. Now, it’s a service I get wherever I go,” Graham said about video access on mobile devices. “It really expands that footprint to wherever [viewers] are.”
Designing for every man, woman (and child)
Designing for a broad audience of users, from a four-year-old to a frequent business traveler, demands intuitive, easy to use interfaces that allow for managing DVR content, browsing listings, or watching live TV.
Today’s market is challenging cable companies to rethink both the user and the customer experience, said Ben Dunton, lead Slalom architect on the project.
He added that having the user experience be paramount was essential to the development of the Charter TV app.
Greg Martin, solution architect on the project and Slalom practice area director for mobile, applauded Charter’s strong UX team, noting that without such a critical knowledge base and focus on the customer experience across every screen, success would have been impossible.
Content as hero
Charter’s mobile apps focus on getting the content to the user as fast as possible, said a user experience lead who worked on the project for Slalom. “It’s about letting the content be the hero.”
Users can live-stream up to 150 channels and choose between thousands of On Demand titles and TV listings.
The apps allow customers to turn their mobile device into a TV … or a remote.
Martin noted that “being able to pull up the guide on your iPad, find the show you want, and send that automatically to your TV,” was yet another way that Charter is engaging customers on any device, not just the living room TV.
It started with a prototype
When Martin first spoke with Charter during the 2012 holiday season, Charter was passionate about the need for a beautiful, high-performing mobile experience—an experience that he felt wasn’t achievable with an HTML5 app, like Charter was considering.
He decided to show, not tell, and built a functioning native iOS app demo in two weeks.
The successful prototype helped Charter see something tangible and paved the way for collaboration on Charter’s mobile apps for multiple platforms.
Freedom to watch—when, where, and what
“It really is making it so the customer can choose when they want to watch, where they want to watch, and what they want to watch,” said Dunton.
Recognizing the changing competitive landscape, Graham noted that this partnership has “allowed [Charter] to be more versatile with how we address the ever-changing consumer needs,” successfully enabling Charter to maintain a competitive foothold in the marketplace.
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