2023

Improving the learning experience on Youtube

Improving the learning experience on Youtube

Youtube

Youtube

Product Designer

Role

2023

Product Designer

CONTEXT

Beginning with an untapped opportunity area

Beginning with an untapped opportunity area

○ 2023 was a big year for YouTube as the platform began experimenting with Generative AI.

○ Over the years, the platform has slowly evolved from a place of entertainment to a destination for learning. This transition is underscored by recent initiatives aimed at learners.

○ This shift has inspired me to explore an untapped opportunity within the platform catering to the 92% of viewers who now use YouTube primarily for learning. 

○ 2023 was a big year for YouTube as the platform began experimenting with Generative AI.

○ Over the years, the platform has slowly evolved from a place of entertainment to a destination for learning. This transition is underscored by recent initiatives aimed at learners.

○ This shift inspired me to explore an untapped opportunity within the platform catering to the 92% of viewers who now use YouTube primarily for learning. 


This is a 1 week self-initiated side project.

THE CHALLENGE

Enable a more personalized experience for Learners

I conducted research surrounding learners' pain points and found that users are overwhelmed by the abundance of content within the platform.

While Youtube launched several incentives in recent years aimed at learners, there's a gap between the current experience and an optimal user experience. This is a problem for both creators and learners. 

I conducted research surrounding learners' pain points and found that users are overwhelmed by the abundance of content within the platform.

While YouTube launched several initiatives in recent years aimed at learners, there's a gap between the current experience and an optimal user experience. This is a problem for both creators and learners. 

For creators:

For creators:

○ user overwhelm affects engagement with their content

For learners:

For learners:

○ poor discoverability hinders productive learning on the platform

For Youtube:

For Youtube:

○ poor content discoverability & personalization face a competitive disadvantage to platforms like Skillshare that offers creators and learners a similar proposition

THE PROPOSAL

Introducing Smartlist

I connected with learners, performed research & tested prototypes with users leading to the development of Smartlist. Powered by Generative AI, Smartlist makes it easy for learners to engage with content without having to spend time browsing & curating content.

I connected with learners, performed research & tested prototypes with users leading to the development of Smartlist. Powered by Generative AI, Smartlist makes it easy for learners to engage with content without having to spend time browsing & curating content.

Youtube-Thesis-Case-Study-Features-1

Learning a new skill is difficult — from knowing where to start to where to go next — it’s a lot for someone to do on their own, and it's easy to get lost.

"Learning a new skill is difficult — from knowing where to start to where to go next — it’s a lot for someone to do on their own, and it's easy to get lost."

- Youtube Creator

THE DISCOVERY

Surfacing the learning gap

I conducted user research & performed an audit to drive my design phase. These are the key insights that define the feature design.

I conducted user research & performed an audit to drive my design phase. These are the key insights that define the feature design.

i-2
ii

DESIGNING THE FRAMEWORK

Meet the existing mental models of learners first

When sketching interaction models, I considered balancing developer effort & meeting existing mental models of learners. This meant optimizing for familiarity and creating components that felt already existed.

When sketching interaction models, I considered balancing developer effort & meeting existing mental models of learners. This meant optimizing for familiarity and creating components that felt already existed.

To establish a clear focal point for each stage of the user flow, I broke the phases down into inform, discover, engage, and control.

Inform-1
Discover
Engage
Control

TESTING & VALIDATION

Gaining confidence through prototypes

To ensure learners can intuitively understand Smartlist, I made high-fidelity prototypes and put them into the hands of users. I started each person with a goal to “discover a suggested video from start to finish,” observing how quickly they could do this.

During these thinkaloud sessions, I discovered usability issues and used these insights to iterate the prototype.

To ensure learners can intuitively understand Smartlist, I made high-fidelity prototypes and put them into the hands of users. I started each person with a goal to “discover a suggested video from start to finish,” observing how quickly they could do this.

During these thinkaloud sessions, I discovered usability issues and used these insights to iterate the prototype.

usertestgif

A key element I continually strive for is creating mid to high-fidelity prototypes as early as possible. This increases the likelihood of meeting user expectations and gaining quality feedback.

A key element I continually strive for is creating mid to high-fidelity prototypes as early as possible. This increases the likelihood of meeting user expectations and gaining quality feedback.

NEXT STEPS

A foundation for future iterations

Any of the following outcomes would suggest that the final design was successful

Any of the following outcomes would suggest that the final design was successful


○ More learners complete content through Smartlist
○ Reduced user-reported frustrations related to content discovery
○ Increase in average session duration, Growth in average watch time, Completion rate improvement
○ Repeat interaction rate with curated content

© 2023 Josh Rayray

© 2022 Josh Rayray

© 2023
Josh Rayray