Project: Akimbo Internet Media Player
Scope: Product Design; User Interface; Prototyping
Timeframe: Winter 2002
Akimbo was ahead of its time for 2002: it's a viral-video player for your TV, not requiring a computer. I did the principal UI design for Akimbo, refining the behavioral model of how users choose and watch downloaded video.
I worked directly with the Akimbo team to develop a functional prototype of the UI, allowing us to interactively refine the menu layout and art style (provided by an artist I hired). My efforts were focused on retrieving and playing back video with a minimum amount of nested menus and clicks, and for creating a cyclic usage model that encourages users to keep the Akimbo stocked with download requests.
My main concern with Akimbo was it required two discreet tasks: choosing content to download (which in 2003 was estimated to take hours or days), and watching it. If the user toggled between these two tasks they'd always have their hard drive full. But if they didn't, it was quite easy to run out of unwatched content. I came up with a hybrid guide that combined downloaded content with not-downloaded suggestions and new releases.