Design Approach for Google TV
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I'll be talking about things to keep in mind when deciding whether or not to make your app available to Google TV and if you decide to do so what factors are important in the process.
For the technical side of things I recommend checking out Mark Allison's posts on his Styling Android blog. At the time of writing this he has already published two parts of his Google TV series and more is to follow:
Styling Android - Google TV - Part 1
Styling Android - Google TV - Part 2
There's also Google TV team provided handy documentation about implementing and designing apps for the Google TV. It is good read and worth checking out: https://developers.google.com/tv/android/docs/gtv_android_patterns
- The 10ft Environment
- TV Displays
- Sound and the UI
- Navigation Design
- User Interface Design
- UI Zones and Patterns
- UI Performance
- Additional Tips
Another good Google provided read is the recently added Designing for TV training on the Android developer site.
But let's dive in to the domain of connected TV and factors that affect app design.
TV is shared
TV is for entertainmentPeople use TVs to relax and to be entertained. We need to keep this in mind when we build apps for TV. Google TV is not a living room PC. It is not a good device for surfing the web and reading emails. People have better devices for those tasks.
For entertainment a large display is great. Naturally, watching video is a perfect fit to a Google TV but also other visual content and games can greatly benefit from the large screen experience.
Do people want to interact with the TV?
TV remotes are difficult to use
Simple, direct access, one-click-experience
An app can adapt from a phone display to a tab display using the awesome tools provided by the SDK because the user goals and app's main function in basically unchanged between these two device categories. The same does not apply to TVs. Users have very different goals on TV and on portable device. Simply tweaking the app UI to utilise TV screen space and making controls work is not enough.
I'm in the opinion that most apps do not need to be on TV. Many apps could work together with TV though.
We already have few second screen apps. They are fairly primitive but are already showing the potential that is there. The most obvious one is of course a remote control app. Able remote control app already does many great things.
Can't wait to see what kind of second screen apps people come up with! Let's think beyond remote controls.
Summary, TD;DREven though Google TV runs Android it doesn't mean that every Android app should run on it. TV is a very different environment and most importantly user goals are very different when they watch TV or use a smartphone (watch is passive use is active). Optimal TV user experience is a hands-off one-click experience.
Published at DZone with permission of Juhani Lehtimaki, DZone MVB. See the original article here.
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