KIT digital – Collaborating with RTÉ Digital on App Development
This article by Caroline Stephens originally ran in the RTÉ Digital blog on June 15, 2012.
KIT digital (NASDAQ: KITD) is a leading video management software and services company who have worked with RTÉ to collaborate on the launch of iOS apps for RTÉ Player and the newly released Samsung Smart-TV app.
We’ve asked Fearghal Kelly, SVP Global Partner Solution Development at KIT digital, to share their experience of working with RTÉ to develop both the iOS apps and the Samsung Smart-TV app and the processes they followed.
“Our work on the RTÉ Player started in mid 2011 for the iOS Player design for both iPhone and iPad. Let me share a few words about how KIT digital went about tackling the app development process. First, we assembled a small team of expert practitioners, all of whom are experienced in User Experience, design and development for both iOS and TV experiences across multi-platform frameworks. At every stage of the process we implemented a feedback loop so that we could continuously adapt to the client’s requirements as well as resolve any unforeseen challenges at an early stage. This simple strategy cuts down on the time and greater expense of having to modify the product later in the process.
We then developed a Proof of Concept (POC) that allowed RTÉ to review and tweak the work in progress as well as enabling us to test the capabilities and make further enhancements before platform deployment. During the POC no additional risks were identified, however, it did highlight some weaknesses in the iOS ‘out of the box’ security. This POC process allowed us ample time to implement solutions, overcoming iOS video playback limitations.
Key challenges as always, good work doesn’t come easy. The significant differences in User Experience between the two devices created quite a challenge. However, as designs were developed by RTÉ during the POC and were delivered at the start of the Build, we were able to identify and address those issues at an early stage of the development. Throughout the process, the designs were continually tested and gradually built into the app with all the necessary alterations revised and redeveloped in collaboration with RTÉ.
iOS Player success
Post the immersive, challenging and collaborative phase conducted by KIT digital’s and RTÉ’s engineers, we didn’t have to wait long for the impressive results: - 324,000 downloads as of June 3rd.
Moving on to the Smart TV Following the success of the RTÉ iOS Player, RTÉ made a decision to engage us on their Connected TV project that started on the 1st of February 2012.
After the initial consultation, the POC followed pretty much the iOS steps, however, this time we needed to take into account the necessity to deliver wireframes and designs during the POC as well:
- Demonstrate the RTÉ assets being delivered and played on the Samsung platform with adverts playing pre and mid-roll
- Create an effective series of base, device-focused wireframes to be built upon in full development
- Build a base design skin in harmony with the iOS app that can be built upon later in the process
The POC was tested in two stages: 1) wireframes and design and 2) technology. Both design and wireframes reflected an intelligent and considered approach to creating an effective and dynamic TV experience. The technology POC received a significant amount of praise (particular acclaim went to the ease at which mid-roll advertisements were placed into shows).
We needed to develop an aesthetic that complemented what RTÉ had established in the iOS app, while creating a user experience that was uniquely developed to meet the requirements of Smart TV.
This work began during the POC stage and was expanded upon during Build. In addition to meeting the User Experience needs of Smart TV, we also had to ensure the designs were flexible enough to be easily adapted to meet the evolving requirements of the Connected TV platform.
As the RTÉ Player app on Samsung TV’s has only been launched, we are still in early days to measure its success, however, judging by the iOS Player reception and our own critical view of the accomplished work, we look forward to witnessing a very bright future ahead for the RTÉ Player on connected tvs.