APRIL 5, 2017

This week we launched DAZN on Google Chromecast – something that we know fans have been eagerly waiting for. We caught up with Senior Product Manager, James Garside, to give us a bit of insight into how it works and everything we do to get a device like this live.

Who are you and what do you do at DAZN?

Hello! My name’s James and I’m one of the Senior Product Managers at DAZN. I work in the Living Room team and am responsible for DAZN on the big screen. I joined DAZN back in January 2016 (I’m considered old skool round here!) and have helped to grow the service from its beginnings up to today.

We’ve been live since August 2016, since then I’ve launched DAZN apps across PlayStation 3 (DACH only), PlayStation 4 (DACH only), Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, Android TV and Smart TVs from Panasonic, Samsung, LG and Sony. I hope you’re enjoying the app if you have one of these devices!

I love being involved in features and apps for people to enjoy in the living room as it’s such a great place for watching sport, plus there’s loads of innovation in this area. Chromecast definitely falls within this category, so was the obvious next choice for us.

We’ve heard of Chromecast, but can you tell us what it is?

Chromecast is an audio and video streaming device that plugs into the HDMI port of your TV. It turns any TV into a ‘smart’ device capable of streaming video and audio. Once your phone and Chromecast are connected via the same WiFi network, and the two devices are paired, you’re able to cast the video from your phone onto the big screen. It’s a great way to enjoy DAZN in your living room without having to buy a new TV.

How does Chromecast on DAZN actually work?

Chromecast is two separate DAZN apps that communicate with each other via WiFi. Your phone is the ‘Sender’ and the Chromecast is the ‘Receiver’.

Your Chromecast has a mini-DAZN app that plays the video through your TV. This mini-app stays asleep until you tap the Chromecast icon on your phone and select your device, this wakes up the mini-DAZN app on your Chromecast (‘waking’ it is just like tapping an app icon on your phone). The mini app now waits and receives commands from your phone (the sender).

Commands that your phone sends include:

  • Start video
  • Turn up volume
  • Pause video
  • Fast forward or rewind

In theory, your phone now only has the same functionality as a normal remote control for your TV.

Once the video is started on the Chromecast, it can run independently from your phone and without any interruption. The mini-app also has intelligence built into it that knows when it’s not being used and will return to the beautiful Chromecast backgrounds.

How does a project like this begin and who’s involved?

The team here in London work with our in-market Customer Services and Marketing teams by listening to and reviewing all the feedback received on app stores, plus any tweets or comments on social media. Chromecast was the most requested feature from you all, which gave it a high priority for our team to tackle.

Once we had sign-off from the bosses to work on this feature; as the Product Manager, I gathered together a tight team of people to begin the process of conceptualising Chromecast on DAZN. This was a really fun session as it’s a small group of people (usually no more than a designer, developer and product manager) sitting in a room and discussing how the feature could work. We always think from a ‘user perspective’ i.e. what do you want as a user and what are you expecting when you open the app and use Chromecast on DAZN. These are always the questions we ask ourselves continually throughout the project.

In total we had 10 people closely involved in building Chromecast inside the app:

  • iOS Developer – Sergey Korotkevich
  • Android Developer – Tomas Brixi
  • Chromecast Developer – Ivan Vit
  • User Experience (UX) Designer – Paul Kitchener
  • Quality Assurance Engineer x 2 – Shilpa Sur and Michael Mould
  • Product Manager (Living Room) – Me!
  • Product Manager (Mobile) – Muj Ali
  • Project Manager – Andy Spencer
  • Business Analyst – Daniela Egerland

These guys were just the team actually building the feature in the app. This number hugely inflates once we include Marketing, Commercial and other support teams to get the feature into the hands of fans.

How do you know what you’ve designed and built is correct? Is there a rule book?

No two apps are the same, so Google provides examples of best practices and recommended steps when designing and building Chromecast into your app. This allows them to inject some common user behaviour (familiarity) when people use Chromecast across multiple apps.

Paul is our User Experience Designer who was responsible for designing each of the screens that make up the Chromecast feature – he’s the man that decides how everything should look and feel. He shares his designs at each stage, and this formed the basis of iterating and improving the feature. It’s very rare to get everything right first time!

Did you test it ahead of launching?

Definitely! Everything we do at DAZN goes through a series of internal and then external testing. Internally, we test it on all three types of Chromecasts and a large array of mobile/tablet/TV devices. We have an internal test team (Quality Assurance Engineers) who run through a series of 132 tests to ensure Chromecast on DAZN works as we and Google intended it to.

There are many, many internal iterations of the feature (each getting better) and once it works to an acceptable standard, we like to get it in front of external users to gauge their reactions and provide feedback. We achieve this through our Beta Community who are a specially selected group of users that receive features we build in advance and give feedback on what they liked, but more importantly, what they didn’t like. We do this by sending a survey with a few easy questions for them to answer that give us a clear direction of what needs improving. Our Beta Community are great and they provide critical feedback ahead of us releasing app updates to everyone else.

Anything else to say?

All I’d like to say is I hope you enjoy using it! I’ve been loving using my Chromecast at home whilst testing – that’s one of the perks of the job 😉

Chromecast has been a great project for us all at DAZN – we love delivering features that you guys have been asking for.