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iTV Usability Research

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The iTV News Design course, a collaboration between the Center for Media Design and professors from the departments of Journalism, Computer Science, and Telecommunications, has been offered at Ball State since spring 2006. In spring 2008, in addition to an interactive TV interface, students developed interfaces for the iPhone and iTouch to integrate with news content.

Insight and Research conducted multiphasic, multimethod usability testing with TV and mobile interface outputs during the course.

The first and second rounds of data collection focused on standard usability testing of the interactive TV and mobile interface prototypes, using the talk aloud method during participant sessions. The final rounds of research focused on revised interfaces.

Interfaces for TV and the iPhone and iTouch were each tested with a group of 12-16 students and nonstudents, ranging in age from 18 to 55, who have varying levels of experience with mobile phones. Participants were asked to play with each interface, “talking aloud” as they did, to share their impressions and thoughts. Moderators asked probing questions as the session progressed. During post-session interviews, participants were asked to compare and rate elements of each interface. They were also asked questions about their experience with the interfaces, the device and the interactive content.

Results from the first two rounds of usability testing provided feedback that students used to revise their TV and mobile interfaces.

“Like the Internet, this sort of interactive navigation is designed to give consumers what they want, when they want it. It’s also designed to develop futuristic-media students, who around Ball State are referred to as hybrids, because they are a sort of bionic student built from parts of journalism (including journalism graphics, broadcasting, and telecommunications) and computer science.”
American Way Magazine, 9/1/2007

“This is a very innovative project that could change the way we use our cell phones, PDAs or portable media players to consume news and entertainment as well as interact with advertisers.”
Jennifer Palilonis, professor of journalism graphics. Ball State University

“Interactivity gives consumers and advertisers another option when it comes to who controls the message being delivered. The genie is out of the bottle for most consumers who want to control how news, entertainment, and advertising messages are delivered to them.”
Mike Hanley, professor of journalism, Ball State University iTV banner



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