For around two and a half years, Reed Words formed part of the team developing what was originally known, secretively, as ‘Project Canvas’ at the BBC in White City.
The project was finally unveiled in 2012 as YouView, a joint venture by the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Five, BT, TalkTalk and Arqiva.
It was one of the first platforms to combine digital broadcast channels with web-based on-demand services like iPlayer and 4oD, directly to the TV.
This revolution means your YouView programme guide doesn’t just show what’s on now or later. It also lets you go backwards, and call up shows that were on yesterday, or even last week. Instantly.
Equally revolutionary was the fact that the box talks to you like a human being.
At the time, smart TVs tended to come up with all manner of bewildering technical guff – especially when something went wrong. (A lot of them still do.)
Instead, we wanted YouView to speak like a human. From the set-up process to every button, notification and error message.
As well as this mammoth task (you should have seen the spreadsheets), we worked on the branding, launch website, and a script for the pre–launch video.
It was fascinating to be part of the development of a complete product, from marker sketches to shipping. And best of all, YouView works brilliantly.