NoTube WP7c Final Review, March 2012Libby Miller, Vicky Buser, BBC R&D; Dan Brickley, VU
NoTube is a project about the Web and TV. WP7c focusedon social media and TV, a topic that has become morepopular in the lifetime of the project.Early on we identified some key user questions and someassociated technological questions. We chose a strategy, sometechniques, and specific applications to explore thesequestions. Here we present a summary, including the resultsof user testing the N-Screen application and some notes oncontinuity and longevity.
TV, the Web, and Attention There is increasing competition for attention from the Web, and TV is losing out. But access to activity data, personal data and social network data potentially mean the viewers TV does get are more valuable We took a user perspective on these changes, rather than an industry one.
Key User QuestionsGeneral questions such as: how do people watch TVtogether, and why? How is this changing as the devices andavailability of programmes change and with the rise of socialnetworks? What are the technologies that might help themwatch together in the way they want to, in the future?
Key User QuestionsHow people can find something to watch when faced withan overwhelming choice? What is the role of socialrecommendations to end users? What are the perceivedtrade-offs between personalisation in exchange for loss ofprivacy? How is it best to interact with the Web and TVsimultaneously?
Specific Applications N-Screen: drag and drop sharing and TV control
Specific ApplicationsShaker: Randomising programme chooser.
Specific Applications TEA and TEAPlayer: video annotation and second screen annotation playback.
User Scenario A small group of people together in the same room, each with their own personal device, deciding what to watch together on one shared TV. Alternatively the people in the group could be physically remote. In either case, the specificscenario is about choosing and watching in real-time withothers.
Second Screen N-Screens Connected TV is a web page capable of playing streaming and on-demand HTML and flash video. You connect to a specific TV via a pin number. Multiple TVs can play the same content simultaneously.
N-Screen User Testing N-Screen started out as a technology demonstrator – so the UI developed organically – started out as a proof of concept. We created a more polished, professional visual interface in time for IBC.
Finding Something To watch N-Screen supports different recommendation and browsing strategies, including those based on Beancounter profiles, within one unified end-user interface.
Suggestions for you Each participant starts with a different set of personalised recommendations from one or more video collections (based on Beancounter). Our user testing participants all liked the concept of seeing programme suggestions based on things they’d done in the past.
Random Selection (Shuffle) An alternative means of surfacing content buried in the video collection, or for times when the user might reach a dead-end with the recommendations approach. It also adds an extra element of serendipity to the experience. It was liked by testers.
Drag and drop real-time sharing Finding interesting niche video content and sharing these ‘hidden gems’ with friends are both central components of N- Screen. This aspect of the UX really appealed to people because it’s simple and fun to use. But they were less convinced about real-timesharing.
Getting recommendations from friends Receiving suggestions from friends is another way of finding something interesting to watch. The idea of sharing and receiving suggestions for things to watch with friends in this way was a highlight of the app for many.
More information about a programme Tapping on a programme suggestion in N-Screen displays an overlay with a brief programme synopsis, and a linked data explanation as to why it has been recommended. Contrary to our expectations,people didnt care much about explanations.
Changing the TV using drag and drop Once the group has decided what to watch, one of the participants drags the programme to the TV icon. People really liked this feature, but thought being able to change others TVs remotely was a terrible idea.
Social TV People want to watch TV together. They like talking about TV - they like people having watched the same thing as them, and older people miss the days when people were much more likely to have watched something they had. To get the social benefit theydont have to watch it at the same time as others butsometimes this is fun.
Recommendations People like recommendations from friends, either personally or via social networks: social networks here are an extension of face to face interactions; but not all recommendations from friends are equally good.
PrivacyPeople will trade-off privacy and personalisation, especially ifthey see the benefit. Theyre getting used to systems that dothis, like Amazon.54% participants in our Social Web & TV survey eitherstrongly agreed or agreed with the statement:"I dont mind disclosing programs Ive watched in return forpersonalised TV recommendations"44.5% are concerned about the privacy implications of theTV programmes they watch being tracked automatically, 43%not very concerned, and 7% not concerned at all.
What to watch People use various means to find out what to watch, including social networks and word of mouth, newspapers and listings magazines, and TV adverts and TV show cross- promotion. They dont spend much time browsing content sites to find programmes towatch.
TV and Second Screen User ExperienceAs TVs become more complex, interacting with them viaremotes is becoming much harder, in particular, UX betweenapplications is inconsistent, text input is difficult, and readingtext is difficult.There are no conventions yet for tablets as first screencontrols, so their behaviour is not well understood in thiscontext, although in general people enjoy using tablets andfind them intuitive.
Predictions from a User Perspective We see second screen devices (tablets and smartphone) continuing to play a major role in complementing TV. We think TVs may get dumber rather than smarter. Interactions will be done on mobile devices/tablets which have better UX.
Key Technical QuestionsWhats the role of metadata in TV and in applications? Howdo devices find out about each other and communicate witheach other, and how can we make the process very simple?What are good technologies for syncing TV and othermetadata, and sharing information in real time?
PairingProbably the key issue is pairing of devices. We have triedvarious techniques: QR codes, numeric codes, autodiscovery,and numeric pin encapsulating enough information toconnect. Pin seems to be most useful, simple and bestunderstood and least prone to technical problems.
SynchronisationWe initially used XMPP permissioning mechanisms to pairdevices with TVs (for example using audio signals, QR codes,or numeric pins displayed on screen). For N-Screen we usedthe anonymous group chat feature of XMPP, pushing someof the permissioning out into social mechanisms that peoplealready have.
MetadataBeing able to access basic metadata about programmes isvery important for Social TV use cases, because links are thebasic currency of social mediaWhen you share a link you want it both to uniquely identifythe thing you want to talk about (so other people can shareit), and provide more information about it (so people canfind out more about it).Making a small amount of metadata available enablesinteresting apps to be created and helps people share.
Projects Face Choices...modest role in something huge - or a huge role insomething modest?NoTubes approach was to use our own modest work tostart conversations that allowed us to help shape some hugechangesWe cant schedule these but we can make them more likely.
StrategyBe visible, adaptable, demonstratable and open
TechniquesUse standards and open source software; reuse softwarewhere possibleUse web technologies for speed of prototypingUse mainstream commercial platforms for longevity ofartifacts and communications