Redesigning RTÉ Player: User Research on Watching Behaviour and Pain Points (1/5)

Michael Bengwayan Jr.
4 min readJan 22, 2021

This blog is the first of five posts of an academic group project. The goal of the project is to iteratively redesign and evaluate the user experience (UX) problems of an identified app. In this blog, we will be looking at how our team conducted research to understand an app’s audience and pain points.

I. Identifying a UX Problem

The number of problems that UX can solve is limitless. To narrow the wide array of options, all proposed ideas were filtered to mobile apps local to Ireland as our team is based in Dublin and those that didn’t require paid subscriptions or sophisticated account setups like banking apps. Using dot voting on the remaining apps, our project decided on RTÉ Player — a broadcast video streaming app for Irish content.

II. Heuristic and App Reviews Analysis

A. Heuristic Analysis

Jacob Nielsen’s 10 Heuristic Principles (Nielsen 1994) was used by our team to review RTÉ Player. Seven general issues were discovered. They are the following:

  1. Inconsistent and unclear information architecture
  2. Lack of video playback controls and information
  3. Lack of appropriate call to attention (CTA) buttons and description
  4. Presence of nuisance like multiple ads played in succession
  5. Poor prioritisation of content
  6. Lack of flexibility for the search feature
  7. Lack of customer support

The heuristic evaluation table below shows detailed issues under each general issue.

Heuristic Analysis of RTÉ Player (See higher resolution in Miro)

B. App Review Analysis

To gain quick user insights, the rich feedback that’s readily available in mobile app stores was used. There are thousands of reviews present, so only reviews with intelligible and design-related issues were chosen for analysis. From the findings, user pain points were discovered such as having no feature to download and watch shows offline and having no quick option to continue watching shows where viewers left off.

The rest of the findings did not provide new insights because they were already identified during heuristic analysis. However, this was also reassuring because the results from two of the analyses corroborated with each other.

Online Reviews Insights

III. User and Competitor Research

A. Competitor Research

Ten competitors were identified, both local and international, to help understand what is already working well in their apps against the issues identified in RTÉ Player.

The mood board below shows all the notable competitor features that were adapted into the redesign.

Competitor Research Mood Board (See higher resolution in Miro)

B. Surveys — Qualitative and Quantitative User Research

Initial insights on the pain points of the users were already identified through the reviews analysis mentioned earlier. However, there were no insights on who the users are and how they consume video streaming content.

Surveys were then conducted to build a demographic of the users.

Results from the survey identified and showed the following:

  1. Users who rarely uses RTÉ Player
  2. The content users enjoy watching from the app are news and documentaries
  3. Users are discouraged to continue using the app due to their bad browsing experience despite the appealing content

NOTE: Due to time constraints and the challenges of working during lockdown, our team conducted surveys individually. This may introduce potential biases in the results, but we plan to be rectify it in future research efforts.

IV. Empathising with Personas, Empathy Maps and Scenarios

From our surveys, two personas were drawn to characterise our users. Persona Derrick represents the majority of the app’s users. He’s a young professional who watches video as a form of relaxation. The other persona is Roderick who represents a smaller segment of users.

The personas were then used in empathy mapping and to as-is and to-be scenarios.

These artefacts have been vital in aligning our team’s understanding of the users whenever there are doubts or confusion in later stages of our project.

Persona Derrick (See higher resolution in Miro)
Persona Roderick (See higher resolution in Miro)
Empathy Map for Persona Derrick (See higher resolution in Miro)
Empathy Map for Persona Roderick (See higher resolution in Miro)
As-is Scenario for Persona Derrick (See higher resolution in Miro)
To-be Scenario for Derrick (See higher resolution in Miro)

Key Takeaways

From our research, it was concluded that majority of the users of RTÉ Player are young professionals, ranging from age 25 to 34. They watch videos as a form of relaxation and escapism from work and they also enjoy being up to date about shows with their friends or colleagues. They want to watch without interruptions as much as possible. They value getting recommendations from the app, so they don’t have to go through the trouble of searching and deciding what to watch.


Nielsen Y. (1994) 10 Usability Heuristics for User Interface Design. Retrieved from on 21 January 2021.



Michael Bengwayan Jr.

T-shaped designer and life learner, portfolio design enthusiast and nerd.