Nutshell is a video editing tool that allows users to collect clips from their favorite TV shows and create “supercuts” that summarize complex plot arcs and compile recurring inside jokes. Nutshell is designed as a browser plug-in that integrates with streaming services like Netflix, giving users easy access to content for a supercut. Once the user has edited their clips and sequenced them on a timeline, they can publish their supercut and share it to social media platforms.
A "supercut," a compilation of clips from a TV show, is a quick and comprehensive way to share TV show content with others. Many fan-made supercuts have gone viral on social media, and several television networks have taken the time to create their own supercuts of shows as promotional vehicles.
Given its ability to condense complex narratives and character arcs into an easily digestible compilation of moments, the supercut is an ideal type of social, snack-sized content for today's TV landscape. However, for an everyday viewer, creating a supercut may require a significant time commitment and competent video editing skills.
We wanted to design a solution that could make the user experience of creating supercuts and sharing them with friends fluid and simple. We hypothesized that if viewers had access to a simple supercut creation tool, then they would be encouraged to create supercuts of their favorite shows as a means of recommending them to others.
Our user research focused on gathering data that would validate the existence of our problem space.
We conducted an online survey among user groups between the ages of 15 and 60. We received more than 60 responses, which helped us gather insights about why people want to share TV content and how they react to TV show recommendations from friends and family.
Respondents asserted that "when several episodes are missed one loses the plot thread," and they felt they "don't have the time" to catch up once they fall behind. Many of them expressed interest in the notion of using supercuts to keep up with TV shows and get a taste of shows that are recommended to them.
The survey also attempted to gather insights into popular types of supercuts and types of TV content that are often re-watched. We found that compilations of humorous clips and summaries of multi-episode plot arcs were popular subjects of supercuts. In addition, we also found that users would be inclined to watch supercuts that summarize the plot of an entire series or individual seasons.
Our user research led us to design Nutshell, an interactive supercut creation tool that, if implemented, would be packaged as a web browser extension integrated with streaming services like Netflix and Hulu.
We used Axure to build a high-fidelity prototype of the Nutshell user interface. In order to demonstrate Nutshell's use in several TV viewing contexts, we decided to prototype supercut creation experiences for three different shows: How I Met Your Mother ("Ted Meets the Mother"), Arrested Development ("Lucille Bluth's Best One-Liners"), and SpongeBob SquarePants ("Every Time Fred Says 'My Leg'"). We "faked" the complete Nutshell experience by creating the final supercuts in advance and allowing users to simulate the process of recording and arranging the individual clips.
Although we didn't get a chance to conduct a formal user study with the Nutshell prototype, we presented our demos to Georgia Tech graduate students, faculty, and alumni. We received the following feedback pertaining to future design directions:
Our main iterations of the prototype focused on crafting compelling scenarios for supercut creation (via the TV shows and topics we used) and considering different means of interacting with supercuts, such as hyperlinked annotations for each clip.
At the end of the semester, we mocked up our vision for the next generation of supercuts. They would be hosted on a brand new video sharing platform, as they would have functionality that goes beyond existing platforms like YouTube.
The "Supercut 2.0" contains an index displaying an image from each clip in the supercut. When the user clicks or taps on one of the index images, the streaming service loads the full episode that features the corresponding clip. The index would also appear at the end of the supercut, and users could access the index as a sidebar at any point while they are watching the supercut.