Carl Jamilkowski

Watercooler TV

This is a TV chat application that lets you chat about what’s happening on screen, without having to watch at the same time. We designed it to make use of the second screen experience and also attempt to avoid spoilers. Want to bring back those water cooler chats of the past, where you discussed TV from the night before? This might help.

The Team

Me: wireframes, mockups, software prototype development, actor, information architecture
Andrés Taraciuk: software prototype development, actor
Dekunle Somade:: writing, directing
All: research, ideation, prototype testing, user interviews, persona development

This is the original project site.

Final prototype on GitHub.


We talked to people who have some stake in TV, whether it be creating content or consuming it in some way. See our presentation about the interviews .

Expert interviews

Expert comparision

Expert: Sharon

Expert: Gabe

We also did an in depth investigation of existing TV market, demographics, and consumption data. See more in our presentation . What we found was inconsistency across the board. Some people watch distracted, with it on in the background; some religiously watch when it airs in isolation; some throw viewing parties. Definitely younger audiences tend to be more likely to view TV content on something other than a television. Attempts have been made to bridge device to TV set - the 'second screen' - but without much success. There's a culture and unspoken ruleset for discussing TV after it airs. Some networks try to resist DVR consumption by sparking this discussion immediately with aftershows.

Concept Exploration

Our early concept exploration was around the casual TV viewer, who might just have a show on in the background while doing other things. We looked at similar services in other realms: Pandora,, Spotify - allowing you to navigate large amounts of unknown media to get recommendations at a very low barrier to entry. The concepts didn't really play well with anyone we talked to about it. See more about the process in this presentation . It seems that those casual viewers don't have a strong enough motivation to use a product around TV.

Concept: TV Shuffler

Concept: TV Recommendation Engine

Our next step was exploring various social aspects of TV. We looked at gamification, group viewing, notifications of shared viewing habits, and general social network integration. See more in our presentation .


Social Ecosystem

Info Layer Storyboard

Concept animations

I created these simple animations on an iPad to capture some ideas in a dynamic way. They were surprisingly effective.

Concept: TV Info Layer

My team made this video under the direction of Dekunle, who has a strong movie production background. I mocked up a fake interface to display on the iPad.

So many people responded positively to the idea of discussing what they are watching. People want to discuss things with friends and coworkers, but everyone watches on their own schedule now with Netflix, DVR, streaming, etc. People once gathered around the water cooler at work to discuss the shows they watched the night before. People would bond over these types of discussions. We were particularly inspired by this scene from When Harry Met Sally . This last concept is what would become Watercooler TV.

Info Architecture

Information Flow

Action Breakdown

Logo Sketch

Concept: Watercooler TV


We created a functional prototype of our final concept; Andrés and I programmed it. It was a webpage you pulled up on your phone, then on the screen/projector we had another webpage with the video (i.e. our 'TV'). As the video played, comments that were left in previous viewings by others appeared at the timecode they were originally posted. The presentation went really well. We did a live demo of our functional prototype, so after one play of the video, it looped and people's eyes lit up as they saw their comments reappear.

This is the user flow:

Bob Opens up the Water Cooler TV App
Bob Enters His Name

He logs into the Water Cooler system..

Something Interesting Happens on TV

Bob watches his show and sees something that he would like to comment on.

Bob Sees Other Comments

Since he has friends who also watch this show, he sees the comments they have been leaving up to this moment.

Bob Enters His Comment

He types a comment about the CPR scene on screen at that moment.

The Comment Is in the System

Bob's comment appears on the left since it is his own - just as he sees his text messages in that app.

Some Time Later...

At some later point (day, weeks or more) a friend goes and watches the same episode

Dick Launches the App

Bob's friend, Dick, opens the app when he goes to watch that same episode that Bob watched previously.

Dick Sees the Same Moment in the Episode

The same moment when Bob left his comment happens on Dick's TV.

Bob's Comment Appears

The comment that Bob left all that time ago appears, as though he we there watching right alongside Dick.

Thanks for checking out this project! See other featured projects and learn more about me