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The Importance of User Personalization

Personalized onboarding in the Red Bull TV app

First Display

~ An Overview

The Problem

The Red Bull TV app provides access to exclusive video content from global adventure, entertainment from music artists, and live events featuring top athletes from around the world.

57% of Red Bull TV app users struggled to find the content they wanted to watch in the Red Bull TV app. After opening the app for the first time, users were dropped into a sea of content with no understanding of navigating it to find what they wanted to watch.

The struggle users faced finding content in the app led to a large turnover rate and loss of both users and capital for Red Bull.


An overview of the Red Bull TV app

The Challenge

Red Bull was struggling to connect and engage with young consumers leading them to partner with the Interaction Design Program at Santa Monica College. Red Bull challenged us to create new and engaging connections with young consumers through a mobile experience with their current and new touchpoints by using the following problem statement:

How might we personalize the Red Bull TV app to help Red Bull further connect and engage with their users?

Pausing for Clarity: This was a solo project.

My Role:

Ideation, research, prototyping, testing, and the design of the project.

My Solution:

I elected to implement a form of user personalization in the Red Bull TV app.

The Result – This is a spoiler! Click or tap here to show the result.

I implemented personalized onboarding in the Red Bull TV app, which let users select the content that appealed to them. This provided Red Bull with better user engagement while providing each user with an easy approach to finding the content that appealed to them.

      Take a look at the final prototype.

1.   The Kickoff

Interviewing Stakeholders

Before diving into the initial research, I interviewed the project stakeholders on Red Bull's mobile design team to better understand the project goals. I received the following quote about user trust and mindfulness.

“Consider how users could feel more comfortable using the app. Remember that their engagement impacts both them and Red Bull.”


David from Red Bull's design team

2.   Researching the Problem

Secondary Research

After the kickoff, I began the project with secondary research focusing on 10 apps and websites with successful user personalization. This helped me understand how each company successfully incorporated its users.

I learned that each company focused on connecting with their users by utilizing user data from one of the following:

  • The users’ daily life: Listening habits, name of their significant other, a photo or video, etc.
  • The users’ wants: Recommendations of products, an ease of completion, specific artwork, etc.
Spotify Wrapped

A user's listening habits from Spotify Wrapped

A Competitive Analysis

To get a better understanding the Red Bull TV market position, I completed a competitive analysis between Red Bull TV and similar content-focused apps such as YouTube, Hulu, and IGTV.

I found that while Red Bull dominates the energy drink market, they were behind when it came to their app. The content was there, but the users struggled to find what appealed to them, leading to a quicker turnover rate to find a better app.

Competitive Analysis

Competitive Analysis of Red Bull TV to competing apps YouTube, Hulu, & IGTV

A Heuristic Evaluation

Diving deeper into the research, I completed a heuristic evaluation of the app. This brought to light why users struggled to navigate the app and were overwhelmed when finding content.

Heuristic Evaluation

Heuristic evaluation showing why users couldn't find content

Understanding User’s Needs

Before ideating, I wanted to fully understand how current users found what they wanted to watch in the app. I sat down with a few users and had them complete a cognitive walkthrough, then interviewed them.

From this I learned:

  • Multiple users felt information overloaded due to the sea of content shown to them from the start.
  • With two menus, users didn’t have a quick and easy way to find and watch appealing content.

"I’m not here for the app; I’m here for the content. If I can’t find what I want to see on this app, there’s always another app."

This helped me focus on a major pain point: Users couldn’t easily find the content they wanted to see in the Red Bull TV app.


A cognitive walkthrough with a user

3.   Ideation

Narrowing the Focus

After honing in on the pain point I wanted to solve, I met with two stakeholders from Red Bull’s design team to discuss what direction to pursue. My primary ideas to help users find content were an advanced search, starring videos, and personalized onboarding.

I discussed all potential options with the team and decided to hone in on personalized onboarding. It was practical, improved personalization for users, and increased user engagement for Red Bull.

Dissecting the User Journey

I took a look at the current user journey to pinpoint where users were struggling to find content.

As you can see below, it was a challenge for users to find content because of the multitude of suggestions and paths to the content, which lead to a loss of engagement from the user.

User Journey

The User Journey in the Red Bull TV app


I drew up a few sketches of what personalized onboarding might look like. This helped me visualize my design decisions before wireframing and testing.


Initial sketches of personalized onboarding


Once I had a key idea of the user’s needs and personalized onboarding, I created a few wireframes. This helped me iterate on the onboarding options and hash out the look of the prototype for testing.

First Wireframe

Wireframes for personalized onboarding
Second Wireframe

Wireframes for the app after personalized onboarding

4.   Prototyping & Testing

Designing the Prototype

Using the sketches and wireframes, I designed the initial prototype for testing. I used Figma to design and prototype because of the ease of making changes and sharing the prototype when testing.

Initial Prototype

The initial prototype for personalized onboarding

Interviewing & Testing with Users

I tested my prototype with users of the Red Bull TV app to understand how personalized onboarding could help them find content and improve their engagement.

Testing helped me improve the prototype’s initial design and gather unbiased feedback from each user that I tested with. I received the following feedback from users:


"This is easier to use, but I really hate how small the buttons are. Going through it feels like a chore… I don’t think I’d use it."


“I’d use this if I had to but don’t like the look or that it’s all text-based. Pictures of the sports for a visual of each category would be much better.”


"I like the options... they’re helpful, but the amount I have to scroll is ridiculous. I’d love if there were an easier way to select the preferences."

5.   The Final Design

Redesigning from Feedback

From the feedback I gathered when testing the prototype, I knew that the design needed work. I understood what helped the users and what hindered their experience, which helped me easily refine the design.

I removed the layers of options and added each genre from the Red Bull TV app to the prototype. My goals were to provide users with a visual cue for each section and help them move through the app faster.

First Prototype

The first prototype screen versus the final design
Seconds Prototype

The second prototype screen versus the final design

Testing the Final Design

I tested the changes with the same set of users and learned that the new design helped them easily select and watch the content they were interested in.

Users could easily move straight into the app and watch content that appealed to them instead of wading through multiple pages to find something that barely met their needs. This helped drive further user engagement while improving user connections with Red Bull.

Final Design from Testing

All onboarding screens of the final design

"This is much clearer than the buttons I had to scroll through. I love how there are pictures of sports so I can easily pick and choose.”


“By just going through this, I feel like the app is going to be more oriented toward what I want to watch. I’m not worried about finding shows I like.”

The Final Designs

Before pitching the project, I prototyped an example use case to present to Red Bull.

      Take a look at the final prototype.

Final Design

The final design making it easier for users to find content they want to watch in the app

6.   Reflecting

Looking Back

Working with Red Bull on a solo project was an incredible experience. I learned first hand what it is like to work on each part of the design process while translating data from users into prototypes and a final design. While the project turned out well and provided me with a great learning experience, I still dealt with unforeseen problems along the way.


Pitching my findings to Red Bull's design team

What I Learned

As the sole designer, I was responsible for every single part of the project. I learned about the importance of completely understanding user data and asking sufficient interview questions.

When interviewing users, they mentioned that they were happy with most parts of the Red Bull TV app. However, when I brought up more specific questions about different parts of the app during interviews, users would mention that they were dealing with more pain points.

This taught me that there is usually more to each user’s needs than what is on the surface.


An interview with a user of the Red Bull TV app

What I Would Do Differently

While this was a solo project, I relied on my understanding of certain processes a bit too much. When I was struggling, I felt like I needed to come to the solution instead of asking other designers or stakeholders around me.

This didn’t hurt my progress but would have helped me articulate and build on different ideas quicker. Since this project, I make sure to reach out to those around me and ask for their opinions and guidance when stuck in a similar situation.

Class Pitch

Our final day pitching to Red Bull's design team

Thanks for Reading!

I appreciate the time you’ve taken to read through my case study and get an understanding of my process. If you have any questions about my Red Bull TV project, please reach out! I’d love to discuss it with you!