HBO

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Sr. Staff HCI Design Engineer, March 2014 - September 2017

Role

A former colleague intrigued me with an offer to join him on a cool new project: HBO had just started a new technology group and based it in Seattle. He was the first designer there and since the objective was to become a large "design-led" studio he wanted my help building the team and putting appropriate processes in place as the studio evolved.

In my three and a half years there we grew from five designers to around 45, most of whom I had a role in hiring and many of whom I managed at some point. I reported directly to the VP and along with two other senior designers planned strategies for our streaming products and coordinated the various projects within Design. We defined and socialized our principles and constantly evolved the way we collaborated and communicated based on the team's size and organizational priorities.

The aim of the design team was to rethink and redesign the existing streaming app, HBO GO, build a direct-to-consumer streaming app, HBO NOW, and explore ways viewers may consume content in the future. I focused on specific aspects of the streaming apps like a proposed motion language for transitions and micro interactions, was heavily involved in the initial design and building (by MLBam) of HBO NOW and similarly engaged as HBO brought that product in house and onto a new code stack, and had some involvement with the more experimental work including a virtual reality app and the new interactive app, Mosaic. 

I also had license to find work, which usually meant working with product managers and technical program managers to improve or better express internal processes, and working with studio leadership to better communicate our status to other parts of the organization.

Take-Aways

Good process gets you a long way towards designing good solutions to most problems. Having a large set of tools you can draw upon to analyze and define the problem and to understand the user allows you to focus your efforts where they belong.

Good design needs iteration, and iteration needs to be factored in to the development cycle.  

More on HBO UX Design Team

Here's a recent article from Fast Company that explains the team's vision for HBO's apps:

HBO Doesn't Want To Be Just Another Netflix