Hiroo Aoyama

Facebook Video



In the summer of 2019, I interned at Facebook on a product called Facebook Watch within Video. Here, I will present one of the 3 projects I worked on: Promotional Banner on Facebook Watch.



Be a key player in the video industry.


But how?

If you take Youtube for example, it’s a platform where you can discover videos and watch them.

But on Facebook, you can do more - you can watch videos and socialize with your friends. There’s a quote I really like by our VP of Entertainment:

“To win the video market, Facebook is not trying to become Youtube, but to differentiate ourselves".

My Focus: Improve discovery of Facebook Originals

Facebook has 50+ original contents like Red Table Talk and Will Smith’s Bucket List. Compared to other videos, these shows have very low watch time. My task was to create a promotional banner to increase exposure and awareness of these shows.


Step 1. Looking at current work and data (Sorry for the lack of images and specific data points - NDA)

  • There was promotional banner on mobile. It did not gain much traction. UX researcher mentioned that people did not want to watch long shows on mobile. Web has potential.

  • There was a very simple promotional banner on web as well. It only promoted 1 show for all people. Personalization is important as seen from Netflix and Hulu.

  • The existing design has one button “Play”. Some shows like Steph Curry’s Story should start from episode 1 but other shows like Will Smith’s Bucket List can start from latest episode. “Play” is vague and not customized.

step 2.png

Step 2. Design Explorations + User Testing

The goal here was to use previous research to explore and design. I worked with 2 senior designers and a product manager to do whiteboard session and design iterations.


I then worked with a UX researcher to conduct interviews with actual users. We showed the above 3 designs (prototype with hover states and trailers playing) and asked for feedback.

Here were the some summaries:

  • Trailer is the most eye catching. People preferred watching the trailer than looking at any of the other information on the banner.

  • Social is the key. People said if they see that their friends watched like on design 2 and 3, then they have a very high chance of trying it out.

  • People only want 1 show as promotion. They did spend more time when given choice like design 1, but in the end they scrolled through and didn’t seem interested in the shows.


Step 3. Details + Talking to people

After hearing back from research, I wanted to explore and experiment what social information will intrigue the users the most. I talked to Facebook integrity team to understand what I can include and not include (I can’t include if a friend watches a show, I can only include if a friend “follows” a show).

Here are some examples:


I worked with TPM and 2 engineers to come up with experiment plan to test which ones are the most effective. The experiment is still ongoing.

Other details include responsive design, hover states, and flow of “Watch Later”. Here is the final design in two breakpoints.



After this, I also pitched ideas about ways to join communities after watching shows. And I wrote a post about how discovery, watching, and socializing all intertwine.

Although I cannot share specific detail of the impact, I can say that the work will produce not only more watch time but also more chance for people to socialize, bringing people closer through video.


Lessons Learned

  1. Be curious and proactive: reach out to people to understand more and work together.

  2. Be intentional: design with reasoning whether that is UX or business related.

  3. Be you: we designers have a seat at the table. It’s okay to push back if you need more time. It’s okay to push ideas if you are passionate. It’s okay to be yourself.