HULU FOR YOU — UX ACCESSIBILITY RESEARCH PROJECT
Client: Hulu, LLC
Hulu Design Mentor: Jenée Jernigan, Product Designer – Viewer Growth & Experimentation
Project Team: Stephanie Hawken, Florence Lafite, Sarah SathavipatMy Roles: UX Researcher/Analyst, Participant Interviewer, Videographer, and Prototype Designer
Project Duration: Fall 2018 (Research & Data Analysis: 6 wks; Concept Creation & User Testing: 6 wks)
Design Tools: Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere, Sketch, Figma, InVision, Google Docs & Slides, Slack
User Testing & Simulation Tools: Aira™Simulator, EyeWare App, Lookback.io
Hulu's Design Challenge:
“How might we design Hulu to be more accessible for people with special needs or different challenges when it comes to discovering and/or viewing content?”
Hulu partnered with SMC's Interaction Design to research and discover how they could make their streaming video content service more accessible to those with disabilities and increase viewership in an underserved population. My Design For Community Change class was divided up into teams of four student designers and we were paired up with a Hulu designer mentor who would be a touchstone advisor throughout the project.
Research & Discovery
Through our research of news articles, research studies, and other sources on new media and accessibility efforts, my team found that Hulu was dealing with a few challenges providing an equitable experience to all their users.There were many avenues we could go down when it came to making Hulu's services more accessible. We shared our findings with each other to decide on our direction heading forward.
One direction stood out to us as important and that Hulu should address. Users who are visually impaired were having trouble accessing the movies and TV shows on their service and those customers were asking for change. Specifically, the American Association of the Blind brought Hulu to court for not complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
We discovered, according the World Health Organization, out of the world population of 7.7 billion people, there are 1.3 billion or 14% with some sort of visual impairment. And visual impairments range from minor to severe low vision to blindness. On that spectrum, the blind population is around 36 Million and those with severe low vision is a whopping 217 Million! These are individuals coping with a variety of congenital and/or degenerative conditions that effects their ability to see and engage the world around them. We saw that businesses like Hulu tend to cater their service towards people on opposite ends of the vision spectrum, but excludes the people in between — those with severe low vision.
User Research – Interviews
My team decided to focus our study on those streaming entertainment customers with severe low-vision and our Hulu designer agreed that it would be great to gain insights on their challenges and their work-arounds when using the product. We inquired with local organizations, SMC’s Center for Students with Disabilities, and even advertised on Craig’s List to find willing and suitable research participants.
Hulu For You empowers users like Alison and Daniella to customize their Hulu experience based on their personal accessibility needs. Based on the changes we propose within our prototype, the Hulu experience will adjust to the user’s needs by providing customizable accessibility features (such as changing the caption sizes, increasing screen contrast, and the ability to use voice recognition). These features would be embedded throughout the sign-in process and will also appear in the user’s profile manager. By enabling these features throughout the entire Hulu interface, this will facilitate and centralize user’s needs in one seamless experience. It’s the new Hulu for You.
With the Hulu For You features in place, a first-time visitor to Hulu's website who has a visual impairment, would immediately discover there are customizable settings that enable them to enjoy the streaming content the way that works best for them. With a few clicks and adjustments of the accessibility settings in a revised User profile manager, anyone — including the visually impaired — can customize their own Hulu experience.
It’s the new Hulu for You!