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YouTube BrandCast

YouTube BrandCast



Office: San Francisco


  • User-Centered Design
  • Creative Technology & Engineering

An interactive mobile app for YouTube’s annual BrandCast event that automatically updated in real time as the event unfolded

YouTube wanted a mobile experience to guide visitors through the event, from learning about the schedule to discovering program content:

  • Push technology that updates the app in real time during presentations
  • Compatible with a wide range of iOS and Android devices, including tablets
  • Reduced costs by using a Google Doc as a CMS

What did we know?

When we met the Google team, they were trying to use mobile technology to create a better experience for visitors at BrandCast. The NYC-based event was invite only and had over 2000 guests attending (no pressure?).

The event is a big occasion for YouTube each year, and there is a lot of information to digest about the programs that Youtube offers.

How did we do it?

We mapped out the user experience from the moment the user hears about the event all the way through to leaving the event and follow up. We ran a brainstorm to look at those touch points in order to reimagine and optimize each along the user journey. These features were then consolidated and enriched to create the feature set of the mobile experience.

While utility and ease-of-use were the ultimate goals of getting users through the content quickly on mobile, some delightful interactions and animations were designed and implemented along the way, such as a background with tiles that flip on initial load. We found while testing that these subtle surprises really increased engagement.

The key features

  • Run Media: YouTube content packages by interest type
  • Sponsor Programs: overview of content programs
  • Event Details: included the event run time
  • Brandcast Live: live cast of information from the main event stage. As the content updated on screen, it was pushed to the mobile app.
  • Brandcast Live – live cast of information from the main event stage. As the content updated on screen, it was pushed to the mobile app.

Finally at the end of the event people were asked to complete a survey.

Technical approach

  • AppEngine, using Python
  • Reduced costs by using Google Docs to update content
  • Responsive Design covering desktop, tablet and mobile
  • Live feature using Websockets with a long poll fallback for real time event updates

The results

We unfortunately cannot publish the usage numbers. However, the project was delivered on time and within budget. Beyond supported the app onsite, and the client feedback was exceptionally positive.

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