Mobile App Development

The Top 5 Essential Tips For Smart TV App Development

15th March 2013

This week we’ve covered the entire smart tv app development process through planning, design, development, testing and deployment. We wanted to provide some insight into the real world smart tv app development process and explore some of the opportunities available to businesses, brands and content providers. The size and nature of the device itself, presents both opportunities and challenges. Understanding the layout of the living room and the behaviour of your target viewer is essential.


1. Plan For Success

As you’d expect, planning your smart tv app development project has many similar characteristics to planning a mobile app development project. You have to do your homework and research your audience and your target platform thoroughly. However there are also many subtleties you must be aware of before embarking upon your project. LG smart tv’s use a wand instead of a remote to offer a more fluid user experience. There are constraints in terms of navigation using a QWERTY keyboard layout and ‘up’, ‘down’, ‘left’, ‘right’ and ‘enter’ to guide the viewer through your smart tv app. Planning for success in smart tv app development requires extensive iteration and use of both an emulator and a device. All of these points should be covered in a pre-production planning document and used as a reference point throughout your project. In 2013 we expect to see up-to-date HTML5, Javascript and CSS technologies combined with greater CPU/browser capabilities to make the overall planning, design and development process less challenging. Understanding the skills required to develop smart tv apps is critical during planning. If you’re looking for a company with the ability to execute large scale, enterprise level smart apps – this is where we can help. We’re mobile app developers and web technologists currently working with several UK based companies on exciting new smart tv app development projects.

2. Focus On Design

“Smart TV apps are HTML5. This means you’re effectively designing a fluid user interface using web technology”

What’s different about developing smart tv apps compared to websites? For starters, the devices used to test and deploy smart tv applications differs enormously from what your average web development team would be used to. Understanding the interface of the device, factors like ‘overscan’ and the use of a remote control for navigation are all key considerations of the design process. We’ve stressed heavily the importance of thorough iteration of your design on a real device, to avoid any nasty surprises when you deploy your app to the marketplace. The challenge for designers is to innovate within the marketplace in the same way we’ve witnessed with smartphones. Mobile app developers have been given the tools to create a rich and immersive ecosystem of apps for iOS and Android. Now brands and businesses have the same opportunity to design high performance smart tv apps having considered the challenges and constraints we’ve outlined.

3. Use A Developer With The Right Skills

When you’re developing for mobile, you’re usually dealing with a native, standardised environment. When developing apps for smart tv there is no such standardised framework to work in. This again reinforces the need for exceptional HTML5 skills and a thorough understanding of the wider software architecture required to execute a particular project. In order to create rich and immersive smart tv apps with interactivity you must also require a comprehensive understanding of complex Java applications. Remember what you’re dealing with when developing apps for smart tv. Traditionally, smart tv has provided a monologue between broadcaster and viewer – a one way street of conversation. As smart tv developers, our role as a company is to create an immersive dialogue between the broadcaster and the viewer, with the ability for a two-way relationship and deeper levels of engagement. Pulling this off means working with a team who understand the smart tv app development process inside out.

4. If At First You Don’t Succeed, Test & Iterate

You must always design a rigorous process for testing smart tv apps. It’s essential to focus on QA and take a comprehensive approach to testing. All bugs and fixes should be stored in a centralised bug tracking database. We use version control to track fixes for each build. Never assume the emulator you’re running will be 100% consistent and use browser profiling tools if the IDE tools are inadequate when identifying bottlenecks. Always refer to your target audience and device. Use a real-world simulation of the anticipated environment of your app. Stand back from the screen. Can you make out the UI from 15ft away on the other side of the room? Test, test and test again. Test until you’re satisfied this makes sense for your target viewer.

5. Be Creative & Innovate

As with any new platform, there is always a rush to the start line. As the design and development tools for creating smart tv apps become more sophisticated, our ability to develop highly engaging user experiences via smart tv will become enhanced. By understanding the complexities associated with the development process and working with a top company to develop your smart tv app, you can become a ‘first-mover’ in this rapidly expanding and highly lucrative marketplace. There is currently a gap that exists for brands and businesses with rich content to plan, design, develop and deploy highly compelling experiences for viewers across the world.

If you’re a business or brand, with top notch content, currently seeking to access the ever expanding world of smart tv app development, contact Waracle today. We’re currently working on a range of exciting and dynamic smart tv apps for customers all over London and the UK. We’re helping these brands and businesses to develop rewarding and engaging relationships with a new audience using web connected smart tv apps.

Insights like these directly to your inbox

Keep up to date with out latest thoughts
subscribe icon