Mobile, Desktop
Research: Heuristic Evaluations, User Testing, Contextual Inquiries
At a Glance

The Consumer Insights team at DIRECTV hired us over the course of a year to understand the changing television landscape, how DIRECTV performed in relation to its competitors, and to learn how users discover and personalize their content. 


Multiple rounds of learnings across various methodologies took place to uncover the competitor landscape, where DIRECTV measured up against their competition, and understand consumer use cases of cross-platform video discovery and personalization in the home and on-the-go. Our mixed-methods approach included heuristic evaluations, usability benchmarking, customer voice, and contextual inquiry. 

The Challenge

For this project, we researched 10 competitors across all platforms that the products supported. Coming up with a way to collect the data that was consistent and similar, despite having a variety of platforms and services required a very precise approach to formulating the tasks. Likewise, creating an algorithm for scoring that took into account multi-dimensional attributes, with proper weighting posed a challenge, but ultimately resulted in rich, digestible data. 


Because we needed to conduct research in the homes in the geographic area that each cable service supported, and because we needed to keep the experience consistent for all participants to gather accurate insights, we conducted sessions in vacation homes to provide a controlled but realistic setting.

The Challenge Image

"This project was as challenging as it was fun. There was an enormous amount of work that needed to go into the planning of the project to ensure that the methodology would bring us the insights the client was looking for. Creating an algorithm based on the client's needs was the highlight of this project."

Sarah Garcia, UEGroup UX Researcher

How We Did It

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Heuristic Evaluations (Customer View)

Each service was evaluated by 2 researchers against a checklist of attributes including: Ease of Use, Aesthetic Design, Browsing, Searching, Personalization, Speed & Responsiveness, Fun & Delight. The service was evaluated for each of the platforms that it was used on (Set-top box, Phone, Tablet, Web).



User Testing (Customer Voice)

Participants of each service interacted with all four platforms during 90-minute user testing sessions. Users were able to go through the task flows on all platforms in a counterbalanced order, with follow up ratings and reflections that factored into the benchmark scorecard.  



Contextual Inquiries


Our researchers visited households throughout the US to get a glimpse into the entertainment eco-system of users. In this phase of the project, the focus was on understanding how people access content and on which devices. This included many opportunities for show and tell, as well as a chance to talk about “what could be” in terms of a richer, more personalized experience. Part of the reporting included comic strips to tell the stories of user behavior. 

The Final

In addition to creating reports for each service and platform, a benchmark scorecard was created as a way to visualize the findings.  This scorecard could be viewed based on platform type or attribute, to make the information as digestible as possible.  Because there were a lot of individual deliverables separated by service and platform, we created a coded, interactive dashboard for the DIRECTV team to showcase all the information that had been collected and delivered over the course of the project, as well as provide an interactive scorecard for viewing. The interactive dashboard was accessible on all devices and could be easily shared between team members and stakeholders within DIRECTV.


Due to confidentiality, we are not able to share the findings from this project or the interactive deliverable.

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