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Jun 2009

EuroITV 2009: Design Perspectives

Pierre-Alexandre Lapointe and I recently presented some Yu Centrik research on design methodology and alphanumeric input for interactive TV at Euro ITV 2009 in Leuven, Belgium.

The community is in very strong agreement that TV’s place in the future lies somewhere between a traditional source of broadcast content and a fully interactive computer.  At Euro ITV 2009, professionals from around the world were drawing lines in the sand on the dimensions of social interaction, user generated content, broadcast vs. downloadable content, input devices, media convergence and systemic integration.  While synthesizing the information presented, I wanted to add two high-level design perspectives which should be considered by those on the front lines creating an iTV system or service for real users.

The “living room” context of television might shift user values.
Many of the papers presented discussed the main distinguishing factor of television is its appeal for a “lean back” experience; users tend to be in a more relaxed state when watching tv.  From a design perspective, this issue might actually reflect a shift in values.  When debating issues for an iTV system, unlike the web, consider that a more engaging, expressive or fun interaction model might provide a better experience than one that is more classically ‘usable’ (efficient, clear, direct).

Optimizing business organization for cohesive design.
Integrated solutions move beyond the traditional business model of the television industry.  No longer can a service provider order a set-top-box from a hardware provider, configure a third-party remote and compete.  This type of disjoint business model prevents one team from being responsible for a cohesive design vision and serves as a major obstacle to user experience.  The suggestion is not necessarily to perform all these tasks in-house, but instead for the individual units to collaborate more openly on a specific service (the service provider and hardware providers should be open to customizing and adapting their products for a unified vision).

Access specific details from the conference: EuroITV Proceedings

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