Combining Technology and In-depth Qual to Improve OTT Experiences

Combining Technology and In-depth Qual to Improve OTT Experiences


The media and entertainment sector is going through dramatic changes. OTT platforms define a new way of life and content consumption patterns see a tectonic shift post Covid. While richer and original content is the key, a personalised and smooth experience is important for user’s choice and satisfaction with platforms. This article describes a case study done for Zee5 combining in-depth qual and technology. At 3B (Big Blue Banyan), we focus on user experiences with the OTT platform to guide and create the best design systems that enhance user experiences.

Problem statement

The key questions for an OTT channel today are:

How to help the user navigate, search and discover?

How to fulfil the perceptual expectations from brand in reality?

Can we improve the disadvantages and limitations?

For example, content, being key for an OTT platform, the experience to discover and view the content must be equally delightful and seamless. Searching for content is a basic feature, however given the immense variety of content, search becomes a complicated function for the user. Either search yields a whole lot of unrelated content confusing the user or specifying search requires more time and effort, making search a tedious affair. How does the channel know which is the best route to search for content on an OTT platform? An understanding of the search process and steps involved will help create a differentiation in user experiences, even while offering the same features.

Methodology: In-depth qual

The method we used combines technology plus in-depth qualitative interviews and deep insights coupled with quantitative indices. We used User Experience Engine, which is an app-based method that is remote and allows recording of user experience. Every step made by the user while navigating through the platform is recorded on the app itself. This generates simultaneous heatmaps, eye gaze and emotions which forms the basis for the qualitative interviews which follow immediately. The in-depth interview focusses on the ‘whys’ of positive and negative experience, guided by the app-based data.


This method yields results at two levels:

  1. Overall indices on ease of operating on specific parameters while searching such as:
    1. Ease of understanding
    2. Convenience with navigation and search system
    3. Naming of sections, buttons and headers
    4. Steps required to complete the task.
  1. In depth analysis of the user experience: This method provides us with minute design related solutions that are unfathomable using regular methods of research. So some of the answers that arise regarding use of search option are:
  • How many steps does search involve? What is ideal?
  • Does the design system allow for episode number?
  • Are users becoming angry, frustrated or satisfied while searching for content?
  • Does the user have to type the entire name or just a few letters?
  • Do the episodes appear in line with the eye gaze, horizontally or vertically? Does the platform have an easy option for next episode?
  • How does the competition fare on all the above?

Results and Conclusion

Below is the visual representation of the results generated through the User Experience Engine. We found differences on simple details – like number of steps, recommendations given, ease to find specific episodes etc.

First step: Typed on search bar, recommendations given.
Second step: Typed on search bar episode number, still unable to locate
Third step: More typing on search bar, episode number, still unable to locate leading to anger
Fourth step: Unable to complete task

To summarize, today users want services that are quick and smooth at every stage of the experience. From sign-up to discovery, viewing and renewals. Building a robust experience engine is the key aspect in creating a satisfied user experience.

This case study was presented by Bipin Mundhwa, Lead -Market Research & Digital Labs,  Zee5  and Jaisy Desai, Executive Director Qualitative, Big Blue Banyan during Qual360 APAC. The full video is available in our video library. Here you will also find additional case studies and presentations.

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Jens Cornelissen

Jens Cornelissen has been writing for over two decades – initially for general newspapers in his home country Germany. After receiving an MA degree in Communications, he joined a new media start-up in Amsterdam as consultant on new media technologies and country editor for two daily newsletters. In his current day job, Jens runs the global conference division for Merlien’s dedicated marketing research events. Jens is a trained journalist with a BA in Journalism from Westminster University in London and has authored several media industry reports and articles on mobile and media technology.

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