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Lead Interaction Designer


As the lead interaction designer, my goal for this project was to improve the highly sought-after ability to customize buttons for preferred channels, addressing a limitation of the existing partner buttons.

The Problem

Voice shortcuts were introduced in a previous remote. However, research showed that users who didn't understand how to use voice were not able to set a shortcut.  

To set a voice shortcut, users would have to:

  • Hold down the microphone button while saying a command

  • Let go of the button and wait for the system to respond 

  • Then, press & hold the "1" button until they hear a beep to set it as a shortcut on the remote.

  • 😩 I'm stressed just trying to explain this interaction


My team and I explored ideas for what types of things users would want to set as shortcuts, how they would set them and what the UI to interact with shortcuts would look like.


1. Create an intuitive way to set and use shortcuts Improve

  • Allow users to set a shortcut without using voice

  • Provide informative and concise instructions on how to use the feature

2. Expand the existing functionality of things that could be set as a shortcut

  • Provide meaningful shortcuts to the user 

  • Give examples

I started off by exploring options for how the 1 and 2 shortcuts could interact when they are short or long-pressed. 

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Next, I explored what types of things could be set as a shortcut. We knew from prior research that it was important for users to set whatever app they wanted as their shortcut. Those are referred to as partner channels in the table below. 

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We went with option 5 which was a combination of the most used settings on Roku, channels to increase engagement (The Roku Channel and Live TV Guide), partner channels and a voice command.


7 Roku employees were recruited for an in-person guerilla study. We used a dev preview version of the implementation.

Various UI explorations were tested with users. We also tested the user's ability to long and short-press buttons on the Roku remote. 

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This option gave users the ability to assign 1 shortcut per shortcut button on the remote.


This option gave users the ability to assign 1 shortcut per button with a short press for quick access. Long press would invoke multiple other shortcuts for the user to pick from.

Testing highlighted that users preferred option A - 1 shortcut assigned to each button. 


Take a look at the shortcuts design which launched in 2021.

By default, there are no preprogrammed shortcuts on the remote.

If a user presses the 1 or 2 button on the remote, they are shown an animation with instructions on how to set a shortcut.

When the user long presses the 1 or 2 buttons, an overlay appears with options of things that a user can set as a shortcut.


There are 6 buttons at all times: Specific channel or generic channel, The Roku Channel, Live TV Guide, Sleep timer, Closed Captions, Last voice command, or generic voice command.


These specific shortcuts are a combination of the most used settings on Roku, channels to increase engagement (The Roku Channel and Live TV Guide), and the channel a user is currently watching or has highlighted on the screen.


Once a shortcut is set, all the user has to do is short-press the button the shortcut is stored on to get to it.

Want to learn more?

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