The Social TV Experiment

The Social TV Experiment
What do Consumers Really Want?

User Insight is investing $500,000 of our own resources in 2011 to conduct The Social TV Experiment, an internal research project that will take you through the full life cycle of applying user research to inform product design. For this project, we created a fictitious client and scenario to fully explain all of the steps along the way. We’ll form a discussion around each blog post; please join in and share your thoughts!

Let’s get started! With each project, we first outline the business objectives that will drive the research methodology. Our clients typically come to us with a problem that they need to solve or a product they want to develop or improve. While the actual client and scenario is fabricated in this case, it does reflect a typical situation that we see in our business. We’ll outline our recommended approach to address the clients’ objectives. Our research and strategy teams will carry out the research over the next 12 months sharing deliverables both monthly and quarterly.

The Scenario
The client is a media company that we’ll call SportsGuy Media, Inc. (SGMI), which offers a number of sports media products that are widely used across the U.S. SGMI syndicates content to many of the major sports media outlets such as ESPN and CBS Sports providing up-to-the-minute updates on sporting events across the globe. Three years ago, SGMI launched their own website to provide sports content directly to the consumer. At the same time, they launched various fantasy sports games and applications that have become widely popular because of their ease of use and robust stat tracking capabilities. Much of SGMI’s content is available through their mobile applications for the iPhone, Android and Blackberry.

Recently, the CEO of SGMI came across a compelling blog post written by a scholar at Forrester® who cited research that indicated that the average time U.S. consumers report spending online is the same amount of time that they report watching TV. This gave him a reason to believe that SGMI should develop an application that can integrate with multiple platforms: mobile, TV and the Internet. Further, segmentation data suggests that the demographic profile for SGMI’s user base is expanding beyond males, aged 30-45.

As a result, SGMI contacted User Insight to understand the needs of end-users with respect to a multi-platform fantasy sports application. SGMI would like for User Insight to better define the users, the platforms that need to be included, as well as the features and functionality of the application.

Our Approach
Based on the goals and objectives of SGMI, User Insight recommends the following high-level approach:

  • Conduct persona research to define the behaviors, motivations and attitudes of the market in general.
  • Understand how the market in general relates to the target market.
  • Assemble a competitive analysis to understand similar service offerings in the market place.  Map these offerings to the personas to identify opportunities.
  • Create an iterative approach to user experience (UX) design that includes contextual interviews, wireframing, prototyping, in-lab and remote usability testing, UX design and visual design.

Next Friday we’ll take a closer look at Persona Research; don’t miss any updates on the Social TV Experiment, sign-up here and follow on Twitter @UserInsight. We’ll use the hashtags #SoMeTVExperiment for general updates and #SoMeTVInsight for real-time updates on insights derived from the research.

In the meantime, give us your thoughts!

What types of research and information do you use to help inform new products that you want to develop or changes to current products?

What do you think about our approach? What approach would you take?





  1. Anthony Bosio

    This is a great idea. Looking forward to it.

    1. User Insight

      Thanks, Anthony! Please share your thoughts with us as we move forward, too.

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