The TiVo user experience has many issues. The menus are long, cluttered, and sometimes confusing. Completing simple tasks requires too many steps. Searching for content is a pain.

TiVo's competitors are overtaking it in many areas. So, how do we redesign the UX to help Tivo beat its competition?

Proximity to Content

Content has always been king. Whoever makes it easiest and quickest for users to get to the content they want will have a huge advantage. That's what helped Google beat Yahoo!, Facebook beat MySpace, and iTunes beat everything.


This is TiVo's secret weapon. The user searches for a favorite show, and OnePass goes out and finds every episode of that show—whether it's on TV, in the user's on-demand library, or streaming—and records and organizes the episodes. It does a wonderful job of reducing the proximity to content. Making OnePass more prominent is very important to TiVo's future success.

The Current User Experience

Tivo's current user experience keeps users away from their content and OnePass by forcing them to navigate through a maze of options. I identified specifically how this was happening, and designed solutions.

1. Too Many Options

On the initial screen, Tivo introduces a large number of first-level options. Not one of them is the user’s content ('My Shows' leads to content but isn’t content). 

I identified TiVo's core emotional functions—what the system means for users—and organized them hierarchically. Then I placed them in a persistent navigation bar so that users would have them readily available.

2. The Discovery Bar

The discovery bar needlessly complicates the screen. It increases the infomation density in a way that's unhelpful to the user, and pulls the user's attention away from his or her content.


I removed the discovery bar and replaced it with the new navigation bar. Because the items in the navigation bar are emotionally important to users, they make the initial screen more relevant.

These changes make it quicker and easier to search, and browse, and record. This brings OnePass closer to users, which brings their content a lot closer to them. That's exactly what the TiVo brand is based on, so these changes strengthen the brand.


3. Information Architecture

The existing information architecture buries the user's shows on the second level of the hierarchy. That places a mental hurdle between the user and his or her content. The user has to waste time and energy getting to the content, when all he or she wants to do is watch TV.

Because I had already implemented the core functions within the navigation bar, I filled the initial screen with the user's content. Once here, all the user has to do is press 'Play' to watch the most recently-recorded show.

The new screen is organized into two sections: core functions and the user's content. This dramatically reduces the cognitive load on the user and makes it quicker and easier to find content.

4. Voice Search

TiVo offers only on-screen search capability. The search feature forces the user to use the remote control to navigate letter by letter. The process is out of date and frustrating.


I added a prominent 'Search' button to the remote control. The user presses the button and speaks a search query. The user can then use OnePass to record shows directly from the results.

Result & Status

The new design starts with the user's emotions, leverages TiVo's strengths (such as OnePass), and brings the closer to his or her content than any other smart TV or DVR system. It makes TiVo relevant again by giving it tools to beat its competitors.

This is an ongoing independent project. I'll be encouraging TiVo to implement my recommendations.