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How to Design a Streaming or OTT Application


Table of Contents

The rise of streaming services and OTT (over-the-top) platforms has revolutionized the video content consumption experience. As the demand for these services increases, the competition between providers has become more intense. To succeed in this competitive landscape, TV app developers must prioritize user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design along with the quality and variety of content.

According to research conducted by PwC, the perceived value of streaming services is influenced by UX as much as content. Therefore, designing an application for a streaming service requires more than just aesthetic appeal; it needs to optimize user experience across VOD (video-on-demand), live streaming, and OTT platforms.

In this article, we will provide a comprehensive guide to designing a great streaming application. We will cover the crucial aspects of a well-designed streaming application, from simplifying UI and UX to maintaining consistency with design systems and taking inspiration from personal experience. By following these guidelines, you can avoid common design mistakes that even the most significant streaming services have made and create a well-designed streaming application that can attract and retain users.

What Makes a Great Design?

When designing a streaming application, simplicity is essential. A complicated user interface can negatively impact user experience and discourage users from using the service. Therefore, it is crucial to prioritize simplicity and avoid overloading the interface with unnecessary features or information.

Clear navigation and architecture are equally important for creating a great design for a streaming application. Users should be able to locate and access content easily, without having to navigate through multiple screens or menus. A well-organized application with a simple and intuitive structure can help users quickly find and access the content they are looking for.

Using categories to separate content is a useful strategy to make the app simple and intuitive. By categorizing content by theme, genre, or other relevant factors, users can quickly find what they want to watch. This strategy can also help to create a personalized user experience, making users feel that the application is tailored to their preferences.

Overall, the key to designing a great streaming application is to create a simple and intuitive interface with clear navigation and architecture. By prioritizing these aspects, you can provide a positive user experience and help users find the content they want to watch quickly and easily.

Branded, But Without Compromising the User Experience

While branding is crucial for creating a distinct identity for your streaming application, it is equally important to prioritize user experience over branding. The interface should be tailored to the end-users first and the brand second, as the primary goal is to provide an intuitive and seamless user experience.

Accessibility is another critical aspect of designing a great streaming application. The application should be designed to be easily accessible and usable by all users, regardless of their abilities. This includes consideration of text sizing, layout, buttons, and color choices. These design elements should be selected and optimized to make the app easy to navigate and use for all users.

Text sizing should be legible and appropriate for the device used to access the application. Layout should be designed to ensure a clear hierarchy of information, with the most important information being displayed prominently. Buttons should be easily recognizable, and the color choice should ensure sufficient contrast between text and background for readability.

When branding the streaming application, it is essential to select appropriate fonts, color schemes, and other branding elements that align with the application’s purpose and target audience. However, the branding should not compromise the usability of the application, and the user experience should remain the top priority.

Consistency with Design Systems

Consistency is a crucial aspect of creating a great streaming application. To ensure that the user experience is consistent across all screens and platforms, it is recommended to use a design system. A design system is a collection of reusable components and rules that help to efficiently manage design. Using existing components across platforms and screens eliminates the need to recreate the design every time an app is developed, ensuring consistency and reducing the time and effort required for the development.

Design systems help to ensure efficiency for projects at scale by harmonizing app designs and experiences. By keeping the user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) consistent with a design system that adheres to the brand guidelines, you can create a visually cohesive experience across all devices and platforms. This consistency helps to create a familiar feel for customers, regardless of the device they use, which provides the best experience.

Consistency in design also ensures a smooth transition between screens, which can help to reduce user frustration and improve engagement. By using consistent design elements across the application, users can easily understand how to navigate and use the app, reducing the learning curve.

A design system can also help to ensure that the application is updated regularly, allowing for a more seamless experience for users. By using a design system, it becomes easier to maintain the application and update it with new features and design changes.

Take Inspiration from Personal Experience

Personal experience can be a great source of inspiration when designing a streaming application. By looking at the streaming applications you use at home, you can identify the features that work well and the ones that don’t. This analysis can help you to create a streaming application that caters to the preferences of your target audience.

When designing a streaming application, it is also important to consider the cost and time associated with the development and quality assurance (QA). Creating a proprietary application from scratch can be expensive and time-consuming, with significant investments required for development, testing, and maintenance. An alternative approach is to use an out-of-the-box solution that has already been tried and tested, allowing you to avoid the costs associated with extensive development and QA.

Choosing an out-of-the-box solution allows you to focus on the customization of the application’s features and content to match your branding and user experience requirements. Additionally, it ensures that the application is up-to-date with the latest industry trends and technological advancements, providing a more seamless user experience.

Another consideration when designing a streaming application is the importance of user feedback. Engaging with your users and seeking feedback can help you to identify areas for improvement and provide insight into the preferences and needs of your target audience. This feedback can be used to make data-driven design decisions that improve the user experience and increase engagement.

In summary, personal experience can provide a valuable source of inspiration when designing a streaming application. It is also important to consider the cost and time associated with development and QA, and an out-of-the-box solution can be a viable option to reduce these costs. Engaging with users and seeking feedback can provide valuable insights that can inform data-driven design decisions, resulting in a better user experience and increased engagement.


To design a successful streaming application, more than aesthetics are required. The application must be easy to use and tailored to the target audience while maintaining brand guidelines. The design should prioritize accessibility, usability, consistency, and personalization. By using a design system, development costs can be minimized, and consistency across all platforms can be ensured. Personal experience and user feedback should inform design decisions to optimize the user experience further. Following these guidelines can create a positive user experience, increase engagement, and drive business success.

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