Modern smartphones are capable of replacing a myriad of single purpose hardware devices, including the remote control. To date, most smartphone remote apps presented a rather literal translation of a remote control interface onto a screen. At Peel, we instead believed that this was an opportunity to fundamentally rethink what a remote could be and to fully exploit the power of an internet connected smartphone. In particular, a smartphone remote could serve as a gateway into a shared social television experience.
Existing social television products were largely uncreative concepts and I didn’t believe they captured the true power of a compelling social experience. I was tasked with figuring out what social experiences peel should build to serve as a key differentiator in the remote control marketplace.
I designed several potential social experiences for Peel:
Peel Overlay: Peel Overlay is like a mobile Quora for television. It allows real time, question asking and polling of other users watching the same show and also integrates with data sources like imdb and Wikipedia to allow it to automatically answer questions like “What other shows have I seen this actor in before?”.
Different people will watch the same show for different purposes. Peel Groups allows people with a similar purpose to find each other, organize and engage in a shared experience around a show. Sports fans can use groups to bet on whether their team will score this field goal, jeopardy watchers can compete to see who can answer correctly the fastest, watchers of cheesy sci-fi can make fun of the same show together. Groups allows television watchers to convert from a solitary experience into a shared social experience.
Peel Recommends provides an elegant and lightweight way of notifying friends about a show they should be watching right now. It optimizes the sharing process by remembering who you’re most likely to share with and what mode of sharing they prefer and reduces the friction of sharing a recommendation down to just 2 clicks.