Vimeo for iOS
A new iOS, a new Vimeo experience.
With the release of iOS7, Vimeo hoped to double down on mobile. I designed a compelling, immersive application with an eye toward improving engagement, facilitating sharing, and making Vimeo a habit for video fans.
Historically, Vimeo outsourced their mobile design and development – and the results of being hands-off showed. Apps were getting stale, and no in-house talent was available to maintain the apps. iOS7 was coming and provided a huge opportunity for Vimeo to focus more energy on mobile – somewhere YouTube and other competitors were flailing as well.
I was the lead visual and user experience designer, working closely with a couple of product-minded engineers (Joe Schmitt, Jason Hawkins) on a small team hired to focus on mobile – the first of its kind in the organization.
Being a new team in the company provided us with a huge amount of room to explore – and limited support. Also, iOS7 was an unknown quantity. The fresh, clean look was exciting but design resources were limited, betas were buggy, and new features everyone wanted to harness were coming out every day.
Focus on viewing
Earlier versions of Vimeo for iOS included limited tools for video creation in the same app that supported native viewing. Maintenance of those features in the one app was nearly impossible and detracted from what most customers were trying to do – consuming rather than creating content. To solve that, I designed a continuous-play, immersive viewing experience focused on viewing videos from the first launch. We also baked in the typical suite of Vimeo actions (Like, Watch Later, and Share) which made interacting with Vimeo on your phone as quick as it was on a desktop computer.
Buy on the go
With the integration of in-app purchases, I also designed a flow for customers to browse Vimeo On Demand’s paid content (at that time, a new product) – and watch it without digging out their credit cards.
Discover videos just for you
Loyal users absolutely love the curated Staff Picks channel that Vimeo employees maintain. The curatorial voice of the Vimeo team along with dedicated Vimeo enthusiasts who maintain their own channels provide a wealth of specialized content for users to explore, but that isn't obvious for a first-time user. We surface this curated content in an onboarding flow to connect new users to content they're interested in – and get them hooked on Vimeo.
Watch anywhere, whenever
Vimeo’s most successful product at the time was their embedded player, a small, shareable interface into video content that anyone could put anywhere on the internet. We wanted to make native iOS sharing a priority to not only acquire new users, but maintain that Vimeo was available anywhere, even offline. Along with including AirPlay functionality and multi-device sharing, we designed a feature to make any user’s “Watch Later” queue locally storable, enabling users to watch content underground or when they don't want to spend bandwidth.
I'm still proud of myself and my tiny team. We produced a lot of work and envisioned a big world, but I left Vimeo to explore working for a smaller, leaner startup (Kitchensurfing) shortly before the app was launched. If I could apply what I know now, I would have encouraged my team and management to approach the problem with more agile methodology – breaking down the big vision into smaller, more edible chunks, and doing a lot more live testing on the existing product (even if we were going to retire it!) to ensure we were building the right thing.