Twitch is a live video streaming service and platform owned and operated by a subsidiary of Amazon.com, that offers a variety of creative content. Founded in 2011, the service’s purpose is to bring people together to build communities and live interaction to create entertainment together in real-time. Twitch’s native features allow anyone to create their own live streams/channels and communities to naturally build around people who appreciate the content.
As of February 2020, the platform has grown to
3 million monthly broadcasters and 15 million daily active users.
Virtual interactions and online community-spaces have been growing as tech continues to assert its influence within all our lives, but may have never been so important until a time like the COVID-19 pandemic where the world had to collectively stay at home and lose much of our contact with the outside world for an unknown amount of time. This change has affected the ways in which individuals and groups had to interact and pushed it further into the digital space.
When adding the live, real-time element to the streaming and chatting experience, Twitch offers an edgy authenticity, a je ne sais quoi-- to an otherwise familiar virtual, social experience.
Currently, streamers/channels utilize third-party platforms and social tools to communicate with their viewers outside of live streaming hours-- the most frequently used being Twitter and Discord. Although both parties have seemed to have acclimated to using external methods, it made me wonder....
I started off by conducting 4 research methods to help get a thorough understanding of the problem space surrounding the platform; these methodologies included a comparative and SWOT analysis, general market research, contextual inquiry, and user interviews.
My comparative and SWOT analysis served as the foundation early on by providing me clarity on Twitch’s landscape and building more context when conducting contextual inquiry and user interviews.
Due to time constraints, I was able to rapidly recruit 3 user participants; 2 for solely user interviews and 1 for both an in-person contextual inquiry and in-person interview. All 3 participants are Twitch users and use the platform at least 2-4 times a week-- I also decided to focus on the audience/viewer end due to having access to them much easier than streamers. Through the interviews and inquiry, I discovered an interesting pattern surrounding engagement in and outside the platform between streamers and their audiences:
Using my research findings, I started to understand our user’s identity a bit clearer; ultimately, I decided to create a singular archetype + persona that encompassed my users and further broke down the needs, motivations, goals, and pain points:
I conducted usability testing (coincidentally and due to availability, with the participants in my user interviews) to test the feature’s usability and understand users’ attitudes and thoughts while navigating through the prototype.
With the addition of this new feature, Twitch audiences can stay updated on their favorite streamers directly on the app, but also have another opportunity to strengthen their bonds with the communities that they’re a part of.