Project Brief: Designing for AT&T TV Search

Given the challenge to develop viable concepts for the search functionality of AT&T TV, this post is part two in a series chronicling work in our Communications in Design course. Post one can be found here


The internet has transformed television. With on-demand content available at our fingertips, users have matched expectations for their television experience to that of the technology it’s delivered through. Users treat smart devices as extensions of themselves and similarly expect viewing platforms to address unspoken needs. Many demand original content, when it’s relevant, on any device, through an interface that parallels the way they think about and search for content.


With AT&T TV, AT&T has entered the transformational business of tv and must address the role the internet plays in user relationships with television. As streaming technology makes seemingly limitless content available, some users are overwhelmed by options while others desire for more.


With universal search as a core product feature, AT&T has targeted its search functionality as an opportunity for differentiation in a saturated and changing marketplace. With the goal of becoming the center of its customers’ television ecosystem, AT&T TV seeks to create a search feature that balances user needs – capturing the way people watch tv, search and discover content, engage in their viewing experience, and convene around the screen.


Given the challenge to develop viable concepts for the search functionality of AT&T TV, I ask

How can we position AT&T TV to the center of users’ television ecosystem by balancing conflicting priorities?

I believe AT&T TV can differentiate with search functionality that targets problem areas in simplicity, choice, and experience.

Problem Area: Balancing Conflicting Priorities.

Research shows that users want more options but get exhausted when navigating them. According to NBC News, Netflix calculated that users will spend just 60 to 90 seconds browsing for content and will review between 10 to 20 titles before they lose interest and give up. Many viewers want television-viewing platforms to feel simplistic but offer variety. Users often consider tv as an experience, but ultimately want it to deliver one thing – content.

With these values in mind, I focus on problem areas in simplicity, choice, experience.


While others become more specialized, AT&T TV should feel universal. AT&T seeks to simplify the ever-expanding world of tv options into a cohesive platform.

Areas to explore: Flow. Eliminating the congestion of content and subscription service options. Personalization. Learning viewer habits and delivering options that match and explore preference


With a customer base of 130 million, AT&T serves an audience with diverse requirements. AT&T TV should deliver content that addresses a range of user needs.

Areas to explore: Integration. Options including live tv, on-demand video, premium channels, and DVR. Mobility. Content accessibility from device to device, location to location


AT&T TV can deliver unique value by capturing growing consumer trends while prioritizing serendipity, novelty, and engagement.

Areas to explore: Captivation. Incorporation of serendipity and novelty. Adaptability. Changing user behavior and culture around tv like binge-watching.


Applying design methodology to develop viable concepts for search functionality, I project eighteen weeks divided into two phases to complete this engagement. Key project phases will capture foundational alignment, contextual research, synthesis and insight development, concept creation and illustration, prototyping and refinement, in addition to product planning and market strategy.

Moving forward, I will continue with research as part of this theoretical design engagement with AT&T. I look forward to working on this project and exploring ways to challenge my perceived limitations of what a search feature can accomplish for this platform.