Evolution of the tagged video UI

Our viewer interface has evolved a bit since the beginning. Usability and A/B testing, feedback from network execs/UX designers/lawyers, feedback from partner marketers, and more has shaped the product to what it is today.

The first iteration of our product overlaid dots on top of the products seen on screen; you could hover over them to see more details or click them to launch a modal to buy it or shop similar products in a lower price range. Obviously this approach could only be used on pause because it completely cluttered the screen, but what really caused us to move on was the legal concerns of the studios because this overlay might imply an actor was endorsing a product.

The next version dropped the dots in favor of a more removed listing of products. We wanted an interface that didn’t obscure the content and that could potentially run while the content is playing. We landed on a list of bubbles that expands/contracts on hover or pause.

This new interface had engagement issues. The data made it seem like most people accidentally expanded the bubble list and never touched it after that. The bubbles alone were very bare and provided no context as to what they were (unless one was of a product very prominent on screen while engaged), so we added guidance banners that disappeared upon hover. They also reappeared at select points in the video to attract attention to a look of the night – this in particular played well with one network’s audience for reality programming but did nothing for another network’s scripted shows.

The data showed that a majority of users went full screen at some point during their sessions. An evaluation of the full screen experience brought to light that the bubbles could be potentially too diminutive on a larger screen and due to their contextual nature provided limited utility (only what’s on screen) so users would quickly forget it was even there. Because of this, we introduced a full screen experience for browsing all the outfits in the video at one time, while the video still played.