Designing the Web for Television

Designing the Web for Television

Web, mobile and TV have intersected many times throughout the past fifteen years. From Gateway’s behemoth PC-TV of 1998 to mobile apps that help TV show watchers manage second-screen viewing. Some TVs are YouTube- and Netflix-ready. Others, such as Samsung’s SmartTV, let viewers make Skype calls and search the Web.

In the near future, Google and Apple will launch their own lines of smart TVs, giving viewers a way to fully integrate Web, mobile and TV experiences from their living rooms. As more innovative Web-enabled TVs enter the market, there’s an increasing probability  that viewers pointing remotes to your emails, your videos and, ultimately, your website.

graphic_tvAs television makers begin to launch a range of Web-enabled sets, now is the time to look beyond fundamental responsive design and development practices for your site.

First, let’s consider the screen and how viewers see it. This screen has been in living rooms since the 1950s. We’ve grown accustomed to sitting back from the TV, especially since that’s what our mothers told us to do for generations. That means smaller text and tiny or hidden menu buttons, usually found on websites for desktops, won’t work well.

Additionally, creating whitespace between enlarged text and big icons is key to keeping viewing experiences pleasant. Just like the responsive website features we’ve achieved on other screens, it must break well for other screens in the mix, such as desktops, tablets and smartphones. In some cases, adaptive web design may be necessary.

Since most TVs are created for widescreen viewing, vertical layouts may not work well. We may have to rethink how viewers see it, click it and act on it in a horizontal space.

What does all of this mean for our designers and developers? It may mean we have to consider a whole new set of breakpoints in your responsive website strategy. It may mean designing an adaptive solution for your unique TV audience. Ultimately, it may lead us to a flat design with large text, big icons, more whitespace and optimized forms.

As you consider the solution for your presentation on a Web-enabled TV, start to look at what other brands are doing on the TV. SoHoTV and Arrested Development have impressive layouts. Pandora reaches 10 million viewers through TV game consoles.

How will you present your business on TV? Let’s discuss it… @InflexionTweets.

Tags: , ,

The Webby Awards

Inflexion Interactive has been recognized by the Webby Awards as an Official Honoree for our work with D'Angelico Guitars and the Theatre Development Fund.

/* */