User Vision has launched the UK’s first fully comprehensive multi-media testing lab with eye tracking – the Interactive Lounge. For the first time interactive TV (iTV), remote control activity, mobile and the internet will be tested simultaneously as a single user experience.
User Vision is one of Europe’s leading user experience consultancies and has worked internationally with broadcasters including the BBC, for many years.
The company has developed the lab in partnership with iTV technology specialist, Jonathan Marshall, who has pioneered research and innovation in iTV for over ten years. Jonathan also joins the expanding User Vision team as Head of Interactive TV.
Today’s launch positions User Vision as leaders in iTV user experience and signals strategic expansion into this rapidly growing market, offering user experience insights to broadcasters, set top box manufacturers, advertisers and content producers.
A constant proliferation of channels, an insatiable appetite for new services and the exponential adoption of iTV by the consumer has created a massive opportunity for User Vision to grow this area of its business.
Increasingly consumers today access information simultaneously across multiple platforms and devices. Services, like youTube and iPlayer, are specifically developed as ‘multi-platform’ services capable of working on devices including TV, mobile and PC.
Being able to switch between different stimuli such as a TV, mobile phone and computer, in one session means User Vision can capture every move as well as the emotion and psychology of the user’s experience in the lab.
Moreover, clients and developers observing user experience test sessions can view how each participant is using the different platforms, capturing information first hand on issues and complexities as they arise, and even seeing where their eyes are looking and their fingers pointing, as they interact.
Emma Kirk, User Vision’s Strategic Director explains: “Our new lounge is very comfortable yet technically innovative, allowing us to capture a complete 360 degree picture of multi-media user experience, and enhancing this with specialist technologies such as eye tracking. Recording and observing the user’s journey will cover interactive TV, mobile, games and the internet.”
The specially constructed lab housed in User Vision’s Edinburgh headquarters has been designed to simulate a comfortable home environment. This means the user is relaxed and more engaged, not influenced by the feeling of being in an office or testing lab.
A large screen will show client observers views of the TV screen and remote control, the user’s face, and eye tracking movement. Observers will watch how the user navigates through options, reacts to advertisements, how the remote control is used and how well they understand the process.
Jonathan Marshall comments: “This lab brings together a unique combination of technologies to ensure that multi-platform services are tested effectively. This will allow content producers to simulate their services prior to launch, reducing costly changes to deployed services.”
The lab has been used to test the PoGo service, developed for the BBC by User Vision, which allows users to browse record, rate, recommend and share programme content from any source and to access that content from any device anywhere.
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