Use of Experimental Ethno-Methods to Evaluate the User Experience with Mobile Interactive Multimedia Systems

Use of Experimental Ethno-Methods to Evaluate the User Experience with Mobile Interactive Multimedia Systems

Anxo Cereijo Roibás (University of Brighton, UK) and Stephen Johnson (BT Mobility Research Centre, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-871-0.ch002
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This chapter discusses research initially supported by the Vodafone Group Foundation and the British Royal Academic of Engineering, and subsequently by the BT Mobility Research Centre. It aims to unfold the user experience in future scenarios of mobile interactive multimedia systems, such as mobile iTV with plausible significance in entertainment, work, and government environments. Consolidated and experimental ethnographic data gathering techniques have been used to understand how peripatetic and nomadic users such as commuters and travelers interact in real contexts, taking into account their physical and social environment together with their emotions and feelings during interaction with the system. This approach potentially enhances the consistency and relevance of the results. This chapter also envisages how mobile users could become a sort of ‘DIY producers’ of digital content, prompting the emergence of mobile communities that collaborate to create their own ‘movies’ and exchanging them not only with other users but also places (real and virtual environments) and objects (intelligent objects and other digital-physical hybrids). This work illustrates that mobile and pervasive TV would go further than merely broadcasting TV content on handhelds; it will be a platform that will support collaboration and enhancement of creative skills among users.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Sociability: Regards the social character of the usage of TV and it involves the identification of suitable applications and interfaces that support social use.

UX: User experience (UX) is a term used to describe the overall experience and satisfaction a user has when using a product or system. It most commonly refers to a combination of software and business topics, such as selling over the web, but it applies to any result of interaction design. Interactive voice response systems, for instance, are a frequently mentioned design that can lead to a poor user experience.

Pervasive iTV: An amalgamation between the concepts of iTV and pervasive TV. However this term goes beyond the concept of traditional TV programs data stream and focuses on content personalization and users’ creativity, socialibility, context awareness, advanced interactivity, immersive environments, convergence (iTV, mobile phones, in-car-navigators and Internet) and connectivity (one to one and one to many).

Mobile TV: Watching TV on a mobile phone. There are several mobile TV air interfaces competing for prime time. Digital multimedia broadcasting (DMB) is based on the digital audio broadcasting radio standard; digital video broadcast-Handheld (DVB-H) is the mobile version of the international digital TV standard, and forward link only (FLO) is based on QUALCOMM’s popular CDMA technology.

Convergence of Technology: The coming together of two or more disparate technologies. For example, the so-called fax revolution was produced by a convergence of telecommunications technology, optical scanning technology, and printing technology.

ICT: Information technology as defined by the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) is: “the study, design, development, implementation, support or management of computer-based information systems, particularly software applications and computer hardware.” In short, IT deals with the use of electronic computers and computer software to convert, store, protect, process, transmit and retrieve information. Nowadays it has become popular to broaden the term to explicitly include the field of electronic communication so that people tend to use the abbreviation ICT (information and communication technology). Strictly speaking, this name contains some redundancy.

User-Centered Design: UCD is a design philosophy and a process in which the needs, wants, and limitations of the end user of an interface are given extensive attention at each stage of the design process. User-centered design can be characterized as a multi-stage problem solving process that not only requires designers to analyze and foresee how users are likely to use an interface, but to test the validity of their assumptions with regards to user behavior in real world tests with actual users. Such testing is necessary as it is often very difficult for the designers of an interface to understand intuitively what a first-time user of their design experiences, and what each user’s learning curve may look like. The chief difference from other interface design philosophies is that user-centered design tries to optimize the user interface around how people can, want, or need to work, rather than forcing the users to change how they work to accommodate the system or function.

iTV: Interactive TV (iTV) is an umbrella term. Interactive TV is the content and services (in addition to linear TV and radio channels) which are available for digital viewers to navigate through on their TV screen.

Pervasive TV: It is an adaptation of the term pervasive computing and it reflects the concept of accessing TV in different contexts such as home, the office, the auto, outdoors thanks to the convergence of technology.

Context Awareness: Is a term from computer science that is used for devices that have information about the circumstances under which they operate and can react accordingly. Context aware devices may also try to make assumptions about the user’s current situation.

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