Short-Video APP Experiece Redesign

Short video APPs are one of main online entertainment in China now, eg. Tik-Tok. It fills up people's fragmented leisure time when commuting, waiting for someone or taking a break. Tik Tok is expanding its market to USA. In 2018 most popular downloaded APPs in US market, it is in the first place. So many short-video APPs are booming in China, and one of them is my client's product. 


It was a short video APP redesign project. Most of the content (videos) on this APP was about ACGN (animation, comics, game and novel). That was to say a Tik-Tok in manga. The client owned many copyrights of animations, movies or any other entertainment works, so they'd like to monetize peripheral products of those. And my client had their in-house product, design, development and operation teams; and we collaborated with them for the next big iteration version based on the MVP.


I worked as a user researcher and interaction designer with a project manager, interaction designer, user researcher and two visual designers. I was involved in the whole phases of the project including research, concept design and design deliverables.

Project Objectives Were to:

  • Provide solution in order to increase retention rate

  • Train client's teams and optimize the UX design work flow for them

  • Monetize IP related products in APP - long term business goal

Project Challenges:

  • The client kept iterating the product while we conducted user research and redesigned the APP -  we negotiated with the client to define the redesign scope for a big iteration version.

  • The success of short video APPs relied on the content operation more than product features, which we weren't in charge of but the latter. So on top of it, we provided operation principles and corresponding tangible practices from research and co-creation workshop to our client.

  • The users our client wanted to target weren't those who would get interest in ACGN content represented on the short video APP - we re-positioned the product and created new product strategy. 


Immerse with Desktop Research & Stakeholder Interview

What is ACGN (two-dimensional) ? How do people get addicted to short-video APPs?

Before we reached to end users, we first studied lots of secondary reports about the stats and trend along with competitive analysis to get to understand what ACGN cultures and short-video APPs were. After, discussing with our client for the potential user, we were able to not only define target users we wanted to recruit for interviews but also validate our hypothesis on potential users. 

Top 3 leading short-video APPs in China

First Understand What Users Think & Do

An inspiring takeaway here, it wasn't always easy to find the right users we targeted. For instance, one type of users we wanted to recruit were KOLs. At first, they were hard to find. Secondly, they tended to be more busy and ask for more compensation for interviews. Last but not least, they often misunderstood user interviews as a TV interview show. So I came up with an idea that we could try to reach out to KOLs in Tik-Tok and invited them for user interview. It was very challenging to gain trust from them at beginning, but eventually we found some users willing to have an interview with us. 

Quickly Gain Valuable Perspective by Expert Interviews

We also interviewed some experts who were specialized in related domains in order to quickly and efficiently gain valuable perspectives and output for the project. Finding an expert wasn't an easy thing and was apparently different from the way to recruit product end users. We made a lot of effort to contact people  through Linkedin and social networks in order to find experts. ( I will share my takeaways and experiences on expert interview and recruitment tips later on Medium. )

Insights from Interviews

We conducted user interviews with more than fifteen people in three cities, and ended up acquiring lots of findings and insights. Accordingly, all the output from users and experts were clustered into three parts, product, people, and business. 


We presented all the valuable findings and wicked problems sorted out with three themes, i.e. usability, content and operation issues, to align information with the client. They could start off solving the usability problems for the next product iteration according to these findings.


We analyzed the raw data and found out some people who had similar behaviors and values toward things by dimension, thus we created several segmented personas. 


According to the takeaways from expert interviews, we found out the definition of IP could be broadened and the operation of IP couldn't just rely on a short-video platform.

Analyze user interview raw data

Four key personas


Product Positioning Workshop

We made four product positioning strategy proposals based on the insight we gained. At workshop, we facilitated the client to brainstorm ideas, product opportunities, to drive our leading users to the platform by solving their pain points and satisfying their needs. After the client shared ideas with the attendees, we made them vote their preferred product position strategy. 

Let Our Creative Juices Flowing

So, we got product opportunities from users' pain points and needs. And after, it was time to wake up our brain to let our creative juices flow in order to produce more creative ideas. We wrote down several sensible adjective keywords that stood for the product personality and user behaviors on the APP like shooting videos, interaction and consuming videos. We brainstormed ideas according to these two matrixes. Later, we also planned and held a co-creation workshop for the client to brainstorm more ideas by asking HMW questions. Based on all the output, we voted the ideas based on feasibility and importance. 

APP Redesign Solution Brainstorm

Inspired by key insights and takeaways from user interviews and co-creation with the client, we defined major design goals as below so as to attain the business goals and satisfy users' needs, to name but a few.

  • Provide an immersive video watching experience

  • Build up a higher-engaged and popular vibe

  • Increase the interaction and connection between users on the platform

Design Highlights

Provide a Immersive Watching Experience

In order to provide a bigger accessible view, we moved the navigation bar of the APP from bottom to top so that the 'notch' of full screen phones wouldn't avoid users from seeing a part of the video player. Moreover, we reduced unrelated information on videos and hided other features or screens with less priority which could get triggered by different touch gestures.

Build a higher-engaged & dynamic vibe

Looking back to the user interview, many users mentioned they felt less attractive to a platform with just a few users and that was really a major reason why users stopped using a product. So first we added up a feature of auto-scrolling comment acting like a 'real-time' comment to build a vibe of higher engagement. Secondly, we showed the number how many people used the same stickers, bgm, hashtags and many more. At last, we designed a draft version of PBL and intimacy systems presented with some screens in specific scenarios.

  • PBL system: points, badges and leaderboard

  • Intimacy system: a level system based on the intimacy between users, which users can unlock specific rights and benefits according to the level

Increase Interaction & Connection between Users

I designed a new feature module of "friend", which had three different levels of relationships between users like fans ( followers ), following and friends. And users were able to see the new feeds and published videos from friends on this page. Besides, I showed the name of user's friends who had used the same stickers, bgm, hashtags as users on the sticker, music and topic pages in order to bring up the connection between them.  

Validate Redesign Solution & Make it Deliverable

We presented the APP redesign solution to the client and discussed about the main pages for the implementation phase. The client was satisfied with our redesign solution, however, they also would like to learn more from users. So the client's UX team conducted usability testing to get feedback from users while we crafted the design for all the features. In order to well collaborate with the client, we worked on the UX and UI design of the feature according to the priority from their agile iteration schedule. 

Modular UX Design Guideline

Before we started to craft the design, we thought about designing the UX and UI in patterns. Take scalability into consideration, we didn't create wireframe with a series of pages and views to enable users to accomplish the task. Instead, we created modular UX design components to complete all the design. After we had done all the UX specs, we built up the modular UX design guideline to enable the client to scale up the product design. 

The Achievement

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