Designing a Video Streaming site – Home Page

In this blog post, I will try to reason out why a website has been designed a particular way and if can be optimized further. this post, refers to a desktop version of a video streaming website.

Some video streaming website has been a following way. It depends on where the user lands on your page from.

So 1. Track the source: Is the user coming directly to your website “www.examplevideoandstreaming.com”.  Now let us suppose that the home page looks like this. The rectangle with cross inside denotes a video.

Featured image

Now thinking about the design, there can be a number of questions that arise:

Advertisements:

  1. Should we have advertisement on the page – is our aim to get the user latched on to videos and then slowly kick in advertisements or should we have ads in Page 1?  It is usually one of the 2 scenarios:
    1. As a user, when I go to the website directly, I am sure I want to watch videos but I am not sure what video I want to watch.
    2. As a user, when I go to the website directly, I am sure what video I want to watch. I am going to go to the website and search for the video.

Putting up advertisements on the page, takes up some land scape. Is it worth putting advertisements on the home page considering that we want to provide the user with what the user wants right now. the additional aim is to keep the user in the website for as long as possible.

  1. Let us consider scenario (a) – Suppose the user does not know which video to watch, it is better to provide the user with more options.  If we put up an advertisement on the top half of the page, we may loose out on space where we could provide potential recommendation to the user. Hence putting Advertisements in the top half may not be a good option.
  1. Let us consider scenario (b) – Suppose we put the advertisement in the bottom half, what is the probability that the user is going to scroll down and go to the bottom half.
  2. Even if the user reaches the bottom half, the user would have seen a lot of content and images by then. What is the probability that the user is going to see the advertisement distinctly? The user aim is to decide on a video now.

Considering the above 2 common scenarios, it may not be a good option to have advertisements on home page.

Recommendations:

The next aspect to inspect is: How do we recommend videos? There a few options here. There are 2 types of user – new user (no data on preference) or existing user (data on preference available).

Categories (vs) No-Categories

  1. Do we just put in all the videos without any categorization – This may confuse the user. Combining the videos into categories will make it easier for the user to think and select the video. Data collection will also be easier for us based on categorization.
  2. We have decided that we are going to categorize our videos. Now there are many variables, we decide in the next section.

      New user (no data on preference)

How many categories should we have? How many videos per category? How many times should the user scroll before reaching the end of page?

  1. Number of categories: There are 3 types of user – active clickers, passive clickers and no clicks. The names are self explanatory.
    1. Active clickers – need to present a large collection of videos so that they have multiple options to click at. For these users, we need to present as many videos as possible on the home screen. Considering a standard screen size, we can push in 30-40 videos. This may make it look a little cluttered, let us ball park and fix at 35.
    2. Passive Clickers – need to present some information about the video. We may need to provide details such as number of times it has been viewed, when the video was updated and information such as genre if it is music. So while we provide this information we may have space for only 25 videos at one screen fit.
    3. No clicks – these are the negative personas. We need to provide them a optimize mix of “number of videos and information about video”.  Difficult to ball park a number for these users.

So considering the above scenario, about 30 videos with 2 lines of information about each video may be an ideal number.

On the number of categories, it is important to give enough categories for users to browse and select a video but also make is small enough to make it look uncluttered. It will be beneficial to provide around 5 video per category and a (>) arrow key after the 5 video if users want to browse more videos in this category. 5 videos per category can be accommodated in a single line and hence 5 seems a good number.

So if there are 30 videos and 5 videos per category, we will have 6 categories in one screen frame.

The categories we want to present can be based on a number of factors such as

  1. Trending Topics
  2. Country specific recommendations
  3. Popular categories (Music, sports, cartoon, movies)
  4. Recommendation based on time etc.

     Current user (data preference available)

The preference of the user is available, we can customize the number of recommended videos, the categories based on the historical data available about the user.

Generally it is considered that users should not click more than twice to achieve their action. Hence, it would be ideal to provide one more screen if the user scrolls down. To stretch it further, we can provide a 3 screen.

This is my take on the home screen  of a video streaming page. Please send me your feedback!

Thanks

–R