UX & UI Design | Research | Motion Design
YOUTUBE MIXED REALITY
YouTube is one of the most popular video streaming platforms on the internet, regularly being used by people of all ages and backgrounds. How do we keep such a prominent brand relevant within a growing technological world and how do we further enhance its goal of bringing together the community? Introducing YouTube Mixed Reality: allowing users to connect with others in a holographic space, elevating social media and interaction to an entirely new level.
For my User Experience Design class, my partner and I were tasked to reboot and elevate a brand of our choice. We chose YouTube and envisioned what it could look like in 5-10 years.
User / Market Research
Lo-fi and Hi-fi Prototyping
We started off our project by doing research on YouTube’s history (including mission statements and company goals) and statistical research on the YouTube experience. From this, we found that most users watched YouTube on the mobile app, so we originally decided to focus on that, creating user personas and journey maps to understand how users interact with the app. This was one of those journey maps.
We realized from our journey maps that since the YouTube app is already well established, the pain points that our users experience are minor. We then conducted several rounds of interviews and surveys to either confirm or debunk our journey map. We asked questions both about the YouTube app and about emerging technology such as VR, AI, and AR, as this was a rising trend for various media platforms in the market today. The results confirmed our journey map - participants did not report any major pain points and were mainly frustrated about aspects we couldn't address in this project, such as video ads. However, they did express interest in seeing new technology on YouTube and we decided to really hone in on this.
We researched our main video streaming competitors, Vimeo and Netflix, to see what our brand can do to stand out from its competition and reinforce its company mission.
MIXED REALITY RESEARCH
As we got deeper we got into our research on VR, AR, and AI, we learned about new Mixed Reality technology. We saw a lot of opportunity in this, compared to VR or AR, because of its ability to combine real physical space with interactive holographic projections. We brainstormed multiple possibilities, including implementation with YouTube tutorials. For example, cooking tutorials could show users step by step holograms in their actual kitchen space, making the process much more seamless. However, after studying current Mixed Reality platforms such as the Microsoft HoloLens, we ran into a lot of questions (mostly technical) about how these ideas could be implemented. We asked how the YouTube content creators themselves could even produce this type of content. These were questions that we could not answer due to current technological limitations. This led us to the next phase in our project - simply building a foundation for YouTube Mixed Reality.
VIRTUAL CHAT ROOM RESEARCH
This led us to develop our concept of allowing users to interact with their friends and community on the app. This was a big mission statement for YouTube - bringing the community together through video sharing. However, we had to do more research to see how this would work. We looked at Microsoft Holoportation. With this method, sensors are set up in the room, allowing you to create a 3D rendering of yourself and import it into a different user's headset.
To connect people around the world through interactive video sharing
After laying out our possibilities, we wanted our project to directly address the questions we had at the beginning: How do we keep such a prominent brand relevant in this rising technological world and how do we further enhance their mission?
What if instead of watching a live game walkthrough by your favorite YouTuber, you can experience aspects of the game in your own space? Instead of watching the YouTuber move the game character through a forest, you can see the forest animals and plants right in your own living room, making the game come alive.
What if instead of watching a soccer game livestream, you can do so with your family members or friends that live across the country, experiencing that excitement of having game night right in your living room?
These are concepts that we wanted to explore, but we first had to develop the basics: how do we even display and interact with the holograms?
SKETCHES AND WIREFRAMES
The black outlines in these wireframes represent your physical space and the red represents interface projections. Since we were starting with basics, we envisioned what it could look to see projections of your favorite YouTubers whenever you go on their channel. Once we developed the interface for that, we moved on to the concept of watching a soccer game livestream with your family and friends from across the country.
We tested these UI patterns and flows often with our classmates throughout our process. It was clear from our paper and InVision prototypes how big of a learning curve this was for people. We decided we needed something to help them through the learning process.
Toolie is our Artificial Intelligence with a personality. She is there in the onboarding process when you first activate the headset to introduce you to the new technology and gives you tips along the way. She is also the one that will respond and carry out tasks when the user uses voice commands.
BRIEF ONBOARDING TUTORIAL
Our completed exploration was a foundation for what YouTube could look like in the Mixed Reality space. In the future, we could see this technology being implemented for other aspects of YouTube, such as the various other concepts we had brainstormed during the project. Thanks for reading!