If I Can Dream

Reality TV, reinvented for our digital-first world.

What American Idol would have been...

When Simon Fuller (not to be confused with Simon Cowell) originally had the idea for American Idol, he envisioned a world where fans could follow up-and-coming stars on their path to fame, and aspiring stars could use their fan-base to propel them to stardom. But in 2001 when the Idol series became a reality (first in Great Britain, then in the US), the internet wasn't ready to support his vision. By 2010, the internet was a vastly different place, and with the help of our team at POKE NY (now known as Makeable), If I Can Dream was born.

Bringing Simon's dream to life:
If I Can Dream was conceived as an entirely web-based reality show that followed five young aspiring stars as they tried to become successful in their own right, in real time. The show's cast members — three actors, a model and a musician — moved into a Hollywood, California house wired with 60 HD cameras, streaming live 24/7. (30-minute episodes were also created specifically for hulu.com, serving as Hulu's first forray into content creation.)
Their goal was simple: GET FAMOUS.

The UX Process

Bringing If I Can Dream to life proved to be a massive undertaking. My primary roles as part of this amazing team were strategy and UX design, a unique challenge for the IICD experience due to the digital representation of a physical space.

Early Prototypes:
In order to help us envision what it would be like to walk through a digital representation of a physical space, we started by "building" variations of the digital house in paper...

Wireframing the IICD Experience:
Working hand-in-hand as our designers concepted the digital experience of the house, I was tasked with creating wireframes of the site experience. This too proved a unique challenge as we wanted the wireframes to also provide a means of working with partners to create placements of virtual objects — digital representations of real-world objects like a guitar that hangs on the wall — throughout the house. As such, the wireframes were designed to be printed, allowing notes and objects to be placed (and erased) on a transparency layer attached to each page.

Click here to view the entire wireframe document.

Wireframes and Prototypes Come Together:
Once we locked in the paper prototype and the wireframes, we began work to combine the two into a digital prototype of the experience.

The Final Product:
After further testing and experimentation, we ultimately simplified the design of the digital house. Here is the final experience...