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Crafting the perfect MainActivity

9c25a2bf5a099e419fe0a79ce116807c?s=47 Elvis D'Souza
November 10, 2016

Crafting the perfect MainActivity

Every part of our apps hold information and actions useful to our users. But the Main Activity is special: being the first screen seen by our regular users, the best of what we have to offer is on this screen.

This talk is about the principles we used to craft the MainActivity of Sensy TV Guide & Remote app — helping users find the best show to watch on TV. I share the challenges we faced, solutions we put in place and lessons learnt building a compelling recommender systems interface for our users.


Elvis D'Souza

November 10, 2016


  1. Crafting the perfect
 MainActivity Elvis D’Souza
 Sensy Remote

  2. Which among these
 telecom service apps
 would you like to

  3. What went right? • User Profile identified, saved & remembered

    • Timely information • Important actions
  4. Two focused offerings • Warranty Status • Request Service

  5. 1 Focused offering • Progress towards water drinking target •

    Calls to drink more water
  6. 1 Focused offering • Get a cab • ETA &

    options readily available
  7. What is at stake? • First Screen, first impression •

    Users prefer getting things done faster • Funnel continues beyond acquisition • Direct impact on revenue/engagement Content Marketing, Cold Calling, Viral, 
 Growth Hacking, Trade Show, Blogs, 
 SEO, SEM, Publicity, Social Media,
 Biz Dev, Community, Email Blast App Download Main Activity Active User
  8. Sensy • TV Guide & Remote app • Whats playing

    on TV? • 14 languages, 400+ channels, 
 10,000 + shows every day • Control your TV & Set-top box
 using the app
  9. None
  10. Visual Experience We perceive information fastest via 
 visual media.

    Images & video trump text We use images wherever possible - show
 promos, movie posters, channel icons, 
 action icons.
  11. We assimilate information better, when it is grouped around meaningful

    anchors or pivots
 We use attributes of shows like language, genre, actors, show types, to group shows and display them to our users. English Action Movies Salman Khan Anchored Groups
  12. We find it hard to change our set
 ways of

    doing things
 We learnt the hard way — TV channels
 have very strong recall. Our users 
 wanted their favourite channels
 right on top. Inertia
  13. Closure We need to complete the entirety of the task

    at hand With Sensy, you can change channels right from your phone — either using a IR blaster in your phone, or through a companion device we offer.
  14. We value things when we feel we own them and

    have control over them Our users can favourite anything - shows, channels, actors. They can set their DTH/Cable, HD/Non-HD preferences. For you Ownership
  15. We seek to learn and adapt from how other users

    experience products we use Sensy uses TV channel switches to determine popular programs and shares it with all our users for their consumption. Trending Wisdom of the crowd
  16. We need to be reminded & motivated to take actions

    Sensy places useful calls to action right in the main activity feed. For you Trending Add more favourites Triggers
  17. We expect our phones not to ask questions they already

    know answers to Sensy adds extra focus to the program you are watching “right now” and helps you with common actions/follow ups. For you Context
  18. We need to be introduced to new concepts before we

    use them Our users may not have read play store descriptions, skipped tutorials during onboarding. For you Priming On Air
 Welcome to Sensy. This tab shows you programs running on TV right now
  19. We perceive cluttered interfaces as being harder to use While

    more information enables faster decision making, clutter impedes it. Clutter & Overload
  20. We seek to look beyond our biases, and expect our

    apps to do the same At Sensy, we use curation to augment our filtering algorithms. Filter Bubble
  21. We form mental models of how things work and are

    annoyed when things do not behave as per our expectations Distinguish tappable items, help users understand your recommendations and how they are expected to change Predictability For you
  22. @elvisds Elvis D’Souza
 Sensy Remote