Creating a central hub for Clips on Twitch to help make relevant content more discoverable

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Reimagining the shopping experience for a sustainable meat delivery service ūüćó

Project Overview
As a UX/UI Summer Design Intern for NIKU Farms, I helped re-design and ship new checkout flows that increased conversion rates by 200%.
Duration
May - Oct. 2020
6 months
Role
UX/UI Designer
Team
Michael E. (Dev)
Myles B. (Dev)
Toolkit
Figma
Project Overview
Twitch is the world’s largest live streaming platform, enabling anyone to stream and build communities around a shared interest. The livestreaming market, however, is highly saturated. It’s hard to decide who to watch, what to watch, and how to do so effectively.

As a personal passion project, I set out to design a central home for short-form content on Twitch, consolidating Twitch’s existing Clips feature into one place where users can consume and share them. My goal was to improve discoverability so that viewers could find more communities to call home, ultimately benefiting the growth of smaller streamers as well.
Duration
May - Oct. 2021
(6 months)
Role
Product Designer
‚Äć
Team
Kelly Chong
Mentor: Jennifer Wong
Toolkit
Figma
01. Problem identification & research
Initial assumptions

Starting a stream on Twitch is hard.

I strongly believe in the idea of enabling anyone to create and monetize regardless of their situation or background. So when I began this project, I was interested in investigating the struggles with streaming and how we might increase visibility of marginalized creators on the platform. I interviewed five people new to streaming who identified as a member of a marginalized community, and discussed their experiences thus far with streaming on Twitch.
The actual issue

Getting started wasn't the problem‚ÄĒdiscoverability is.

What I found throughout all conversations, however, was that it was less of an issue to get started with streaming than it was to get discovered on the platform. So, while I believe there is still value in uncovering ways to make streaming more accessible, I decided to pivot my case study in the direction of improving content discoverability.
I then spoke to five existing Twitch viewers to test the current content-discovery and viewing experience (1a). Additionally, I explored Twitch UserVoice‚ÄďTwitch‚Äôs existing user feedback system‚Äďas well as threads on r/Twitch to act as supplements to my research (1b). I also conducted an individual app audit to fill knowledge gaps and pinpoint any key issues (1c).
1a. interview takeaways

Viewers struggle to find new content relevant to them in a timely fashion.

Pain points

Browsing is overwhelming

  • Visually over-stimulating
  • Endless amount of streams available with no clue where to start
  • Difficult to search and browse through current filtering options
  • People wanted additional context surrounding a streamer before investing time into them

Too much content, too little time

  • Viewers are not always able to catch a stream when it‚Äôs live nor can stay for the entire duration
  • Viewer must constantly click in and out of streams in hopes of finding something even remotely entertaining (often after having sit through a 30-second pre-roll ad -> barrier of entry)
  • People wanted better ways to consume content on-the-go
When I browse, I would usually click a streamer and then not vibe with them. I have to click into streams several times until I find something relevant, but then I just get tired.
‚ÄćI give up because it‚Äôs too hard.

~ An interviewee's comment while recalling frustrating experiences they had on Twitch

1b. secondary research findings

Small streamers are impacted most by low discoverability.

Turning to Twitch's existing customer feedback platform, Twitch UserVoice, I sought additional feedback that could potentially answer some of my questions around discoverability. I also sifted through issues people had in the r/Twitch subreddit.
In general, most people appeared to have concerns with the way discoverability was currently set up, and how it promotes a king of the king's structure where those with the highest views get rewarded while lower view counts are pushed to the bottom of the directory. Some comments talked about a more robust tagging system, some about promoting small streamers, and some about leveraging Clips. While there were debates on what the best solutions were, the underlying consensus was that Twitch's discoverability algorithm needs work.
1c. app audit

The 'Clips' experience is fragmented.

Clips are 1-60 second long snippets of an existing live stream. Clips are ‚Äėclipped‚Äô by the community, so a streamer doesn‚Äôt personally upload them (unless publishing on other platforms).
From my audit, I found that to access clips from the web app there are 3 entry points: A) Scroll to the end of the home page, B) Filter a streamer's videos by clips on their channel, or C) Click any category in Browse and select the Clips tab.
This experience is fragmented, which is an issue because burying Clips underneath different sections makes it less discoverable. Short-form content is one of the best and fastest ways for a creator to get discovered, and for a viewer to discover streamers without having to sit through an entire stream. It’s harder to retain viewers when they can't tell what content is worth their time.
02. context

New to Twitch? 

Before continuing, here's some more Twitch lingo to note: 

In a Twitch subscription, viewers will pay $X/month based on tier (Tier 1, 2, or 3) and receive Y benefits as a result (i.e. no ads).
Bits are a digital way to cheer for streamers like you would for a sports team. You pay for bits and subs. Follows are free.
Twitch Affiliates are streamers who can start monetizing their content through subscriptions, bits, etc. There are certain targets and goals a streamer needs to meet (i.e. # of hours streamed, daily avg. viewers) in order to achieve Affiliate status. Before this stage, people can still stream but can't make income off of it from Twitch.
Twitch Partners are a step up from Affiliates. Being a part of the Partner program grants you all the same benefits as Affiliate but with a higher percentage of payouts, increased emotes and badges for your community, and more. As a result, there are higher quotas a streamer must meet to be eligible to be a Partner.
03. goals

Make relevant content more discoverable

My main design goal is to make it easier and faster for viewers to consume relevant content (relevant as in entertaining, educational, and/or suits the viewer's interests). This not only directly increases revenues for Twitch, but indirectly does so since streamers are motivated to continue streaming.

Business Impact

  • Increased user retention &¬†attraction: If users are able to discover content they enjoy, they're more likely to stay. If it's too hard, they'll give up.
  • Increased revenues: More engaged users increases the chances of them subscribing, sending bits, or supporting streamers in other ways. Subscriptions are the main money-makers of Twitch, spearheaded by their Affiliate & Partner programs. Thus, the more creators who can monetize, the more money Twitch makes.

User Impact

  • Less decision fatigue
  • Less time wasted on searching, more time spent engaging
  • More streamers can make money doing what they love
  • More fun, more community
04. ideation
How might we help users discover content they like faster?
When approaching ideation, I prioritized exploring volume and the breadth of what was possible; out-of-box solutions for enabling users to discover relevant, tailored content whenever they land on Twitch's website.
I then categorized my ideas under 3 conceptual directions:
1) Introducing new ways to preview content
2) Providing options for customizing viewing experiences
3) Curating recommendations through onboarding interests
Giving people a 'taste' of streams like how Costco gives out free samples
After getting initial feedback on these three areas from a mentor, I decided to move forward with exploring more solutions under the premise of 1) Introducing new ways to preview content.
When you go to Costco, for example, one of the key elements of its marketing strategy are the free samples provided. It's a low-cost, delightful tactic to get customers coming back ‚ÄĒ and it works because customers can experience value before fully investing in a product.
Exploring more ways to preview content, or otherwise getting a 'taste' of streams was one of the main needs from user interviews, and would aid overall in achieving my goal of making relevant content more discoverable. With that being said...
4a. conceptual wireframes
Idea #1

A central hub for clips to bolster curated recommendations

Idea #2

Timestamped clips on VODs to signal high-interest durations

Idea #3

Profile preview cards to provide additional context

Viewers can experience clips in one place, alongside being able to interact with and share clips in more ways (liking, commenting, etc.).
When reviewing past broadcasts, viewers can quickly access highlights based on visual clustering of clips.
On hover, viewer can quickly assess if they find a streamer interesting without having to click in and out of streams.
How could we reproduce the 'Costco samples' experience on Twitch?
Idea #1

A central hub for clips to bolster curated recommendations

Rather than fragmented entry points, viewers can watch and engage with clips all in one central location.
Idea #2

Timestamped clips on VODs to signal high-interest durations

When reviewing past broadcasts, viewers can quickly access highlights based on visual clustering of clips.
Idea #3

Profile preview cards to provide additional context

On hover, viewer can quickly assess if they find a streamer interesting without having to click in and out of streams.
4b. scoping ideas
Iteration I: Profile preview cards
Among these ideas, I first thought to flesh out the idea of 'profile preview' cards that would appear upon hover of a channel on any Twitch page. This was designed with the 'Explorer' persona in mind, as I thought the additional context could help users quickly evaluate a streamer and their content without having to click into any stream.
While this idea had merit, after feedback from a mentor it felt as though the profile preview idea was more of a bandaid solution to a broader problem with discoverability. It was low-hanging fruit, and as such, I decided to turn back to some of my other ideas regarding previewing content.
Iteration II: A central hub for Clips
Moving forward, I decided to focus on centralizing short-form content on Twitch, with Clips at the forefront.
From these approaches I decided to pursue the ideas in Approach #1, a recommended feed, as I felt it suited the long-term vision for a solution in this problem space best.
05. solution

Helping viewers find more communities to call home

In this central hub, I created various sections to organize Clips. Starting with 1) A tailored recommended view which aggregates data compiled from a combination of factors such as watchtime, similar streamers, and interactions (like, comment, share). Interaction features are introduced here so that viewing Clips is no longer a static experience, and involves the community. The Discover page is an opportunity to search and browse for clips in one location, and the ability to then collect and view previously watched clips lies in the Liked and Saved tabs. In terms of the process of consuming the clips, it's done in an infinite scroll fashion.
I'm still continuously iterating on the designs as I look towards exploring more of what's possible, but for now here's a sneak peak of V1 of the solution :) 
06. learnings & future

What I learned

It's okay to pivot.

Definitely had a lot of challenges defining the problem and scoping. As an active user in the space, there were so many areas I wanted to explore and address, but ultimately had to scope it down to one thing for feasibility. I had a lot of trouble figuring out what was the right problem to work on, and understanding if the issues were actually issues. But I enjoyed all of it as part of the process and it felt really good to finally gain some clarity after the initial struggle :) 

Epiphanies don't occur in isolation!

I wouldn't have been able to produce what I did without the help of mentors and friends who inspired me along the way to keep pushing through and really pinpoint what it is I wanted to solve and why it was important. Special thanks to those people (in no particular order): Jennifer Wong, Estelle Chung, Kevin Duong, Liam Ramsey, Christina Chen, everyone from PDF Cohort 1

Future

  • Ideating different ways to display and consume clips as a whole
  • Adapting views for the mobile app, and implementing dark mode
  • Focus on improving clips as a whole, not just the hub i.e. ability to edit and publish clips like you might on other platforms
  • Improving content previews on other sections of the platform i.e. Browse, within a Category

There's still a lot I'd love to explore and flesh out further, which means I am now working on V2 of this concept. If any of this resonates feel free to contact me with your feedback via the links below!