CineGlass | An enterprise end-to-end asset driven workflow management system for content creators and distributors in the film production and entertainment industry.
Film production creators and distributors at Technicolor had no visibility across the entire feature film production workflow, from script to distribution. CineGlass minimized waste and redundancy, provided effective forecasting, resource allocation, and competitive scheduling releases.
CineGlass had to integrate into decades-old, embedded, and mostly analog practices. It would touch almost every division throughout Technicolor.
During production, Technicolor’s entire film service division was shut down. The CineGlass project continued through the shutdown and the team size was reduced. Executive support and company-wide commitment to the project were crucial for success.
I worked closely with the internal film production team to gather a detailed understanding of the film production workflow, the project’s underpinning technology, and intended users.
Local Production Staff Interviews
To learn firsthand about Technicolor’s departmental organization and general production workflow, I interviewed local post production staff. I became familiar with existing tools; but more importnatly I learned about the ingrained protocols and both the desire for, but resistance to change.
Provisional personas, based on subject matter experts, anticipated stakeholders’ behaviors, needs and goals. These were later validated and revised according to findings from ethnographic fieldwork.
White Board Sketches
Design collaboration white boarding with the core team in order to iterate quickly on potential interface requirements and further define technical data structures.
Wireframe/Sketch of the Pipeline
Preliminary wires explore possible pipeline visualizations according to developing technology. In turn, the resulting design explorations informs the further development of the technology.
By rapidly documenting high level discussions from the team’s explorations of detailed tracking of the assets, their states and smart systems warnings; the team could understand the required architecture to support the system even before coding.
Rapid Collaborative Ideation
Early sprints were intimate with the core team: myself, the system engineer, and the lead developer. My office was the war room. It was dynamic, alive and always open for anyone that had a new idea to test out or get feedback on. It was about the rapid iteration of ideas, sketches (lots of them), wireframes, code, and collaboration.
UX Strategy starts with establishing alignment around the project goals and measurable success criteria. I led the development of the primary strategy with the executive and production teams.
Team Mission and Values
A series of questions were provided that required deep thinking into what we were doing, why, for whom, questions about the industry, our competition, etc. We worked with sticky notes in the war room as a team to find answers and assimilate them into a set of core values, and a mission and vision statement.
Business Case Hypothesis
Lean UX starts with an idea, an assumption, a business hypothesis and then methodically iterates to either validate the idea or ‘pivot’ based on the collected user data.
Initial Interface Design
Using the business knowledge described in this section, and the assumptions we felt comfortable making about the user’s needs and goals, and the foundational understanding of the underlying technology, it was time to take the first stab(s) at the interface
I elevated the influence of user experience design and achieved a shared product vision by leading collaborative design exercises that included the executive team. I also started the eXperience CineGlass newsletter to educate and inform stakeholders about the value of design thinking and user experience
In the early stages of design thinking, I included all members of the production team, regardless of roles, in defining a set of unified core values, along with mission and vision statements. This gave teammates a deeper sense of connection and ownership of the design.
After identifying personas, assembling the hypothesis, and building the underlying architecture, I took the team into the field to assess the user’s actual needs in relation to the product hypothesis.
Data Architecture Validation
The architecture needed validating too. With real data, it became obvious that our initial thoughts about the pipeline as the primary view required rethinking.
User’s Mental Model
Our assumption that the workflow revolved around receiving and sending assets was spot on, but we learned a lot about how the users actually wanted to see the data. What we learned is that the user’s mental model expected to see something more like the arrival and departure boards at an airport.
Color Study Across Exisiting Products
It was interesting to document the color uses across the systems used in the various departments. The color was all over the place, lacked standards and there was no palette that would provide uniform transition for all departments. It also emphasized the fragmentation of the existing systems and the need need for unification.
We invited Christian, the producer, onto our team as an integral contrib- utor. With a good understanding of what we were intending, Christian gave us his idea about what he thought the dashboard would look like. Caution when allowing the client to design!
I used ethnographic research, user interviews, and task analysis to form a deep understanding of the trailer localization production and distribution process. I also gained an understanding of the needs, behaviors, and goals of the people making it happen. This led to my insights into the eventual dashboard solution.