︎ Maximilian Bode | Design ︎︎︎︎︎︎

Succession for HBO (2018)

UX/UI Design · Project Leadership · Team Management

I was hired by HBO in 2018 as a Product Designer to work on the first season of Succession. The production needed a functional mobile phone prototype, with built-out clickable applications, for cast members to use, that would be featured on screen.

The scope of the project proved to be sizable, as it spanned ten, ten-hour episodes, with requests coming in from multiple department-head stakeholders, up until the moment the director yelled “Action!”.

Using Figma to Validate and Test Prototypes

During the beginning research and design phase, I mocked up some static concepts for the director and producers to review. The mobile phone prototype needed to feature a Waystar Royco intranet email function, messaging function, and news landing page, among other assets (featured in the below flow). I built a clickable protoype that allowed cast members to interact with it live on camera. This was not only useful for displaying scripted elements that were constantly changing and being updated, but it also allowed background characters to interact with their devices in a realistic way.

Section Usability Testing

I tested the prototype with cast members, and used their feedback to streamline the design, making it simple and more intuitive.

As this application only existed as a visual prototype, one pain point was the lack of a functioning keyboard when drafting a text message or email. I addressed this problem by adding multiple clickthrough states in the application, when such an action was required.

The End Result

The actors were able to interact with their phones as if they were real, while the production was able to retain complete control over what was displayed. This was the first time this solution was implemented, and the production reported that everyone was happy with it.