Channel 4 digital

E4 is a British digital TV channel, launched as a companion to Channel 4. The challenge that Channel 4 set Detica was to combine their digital entertainment brand E4 with the social media revolution. Fans of Channel 4’s entertainment brands were likely to be using digital only sites including YouTube and MySpace. The client believed that was missing a fantastic opportunity to offer a better and more integrated online entertainment experience. They were passionate about creating innovative and compelling experiences for forward looking customers and wanted to partner with an agency who shared their vision.

The challenge
E4 aspired to become the digital community for alternative entertainment and they asked Detica to help them transform the E4 brand beyond television, giving them the chance to earn kudos online. We added to this brief, suggesting that their website might be the ideal destination to provide opportunities for users wanting to develop into high quality content creators.

Detica and E4 set out to:

• Provide online access to content through viewing of videos, including TV and user generated content.
• Help customers to find programming schedules and support content via an easy to use and compelling interface design.
• Generate fan based communities through sharing of content, and via integration with social network sites like Facebook.
• Promote the discovery of external content by helping the site to become a trusted editor of related content on the web, harvesting the best content and sharing it on the site with users.
• Allow user participation, through blogs, video creation, comments, and profiles.

How Detica helped
From day one, we understood that the success of the new website would hinge on its ability to engage with E4’s entertainment-seeking audience. First we identified three key constituencies: content creators, content recommenders and users who interact with content.

Detica brought these groups to life with personas. We tested ideas with participants recruited against these personas and each trial gave us valuable insight into how actual users understood the solution, and how to refine it.

Detica set out a strategy for user engagement including cross-platform (TV, web and offline) interaction landscape storyboards. These established a compelling user experience and a commercial model that drives both loyalty and traffic to the television broadcast and its own online platform.

A book of user scenarios was created to define the user experiences. Detica then translated these scenarios into an information architecture, sitemap and fully defined set of detailed wireframes, and finally into screen designs. Detica was then part of the agile delivery team responsible for the successful implementation of the designs for launch.

The results
The site launched on time and within budget and in response to the brief, merges broadcast TV program support with user generated content, as well as integrating with external social media websites.

Detica helped Channel 4 define a new user experience that offers its users the ability to learn about multimedia content creation, contribute, and integrate with external social media destinations. has been a great success. The site has a personality that sparkles with humour and irreverence. It is a great example of how a content provider can define its own space to combat the ubiquity of social media sites – by both working with other platforms, but at the same time offering something unique and valuable. E4 won the best multichannel platform award by Broadcast magazine in 2008, and was recognised as best practice in digital design by Forrester in 2010.

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