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Starz/Vongo

Background
Vongo is an all-in-one application that allows users to preview, download, and watch 2,500 movies and video selections. The subscription service is available for television viewing through Media Center Edition (MCE) on Microsoft Vista. The Vongo TV application was designed for Starz Entertainment by Schematic.

Starz Entertainment worked with Ball State’s Center for Media Design (CMD) to test Vongo TV during various phases of development, both before and after its launch. Research used eye tracking and traditional usability testing methods to analyze and enhance consumer experience.


Research Objectives
  • Evaluate user experience of key features of Vista MCE interface
  • Test usability of Vongo TV interface in MCE
  • Assess visibility of key functionality in the Vongo TV interface
  • Track patterns of user gaze in relationship to interface
  • Explore behavioral issues related to interface
  • Determine value to specific member features
  • Look for differences in user experience/usability from previous version of prototype

Methodology
The CMD project team used an eye tracking methodology for this project to provide evidence of visual attention (i.e., where users look with respect to the interface while completing a particular task) as well as a wealth of quantitative data including gaze coordinates and dwell times. From this gaze data, the CMD generated maps of gaze paths and visualizations representing the duration of user visual attention to defined areas of the interface (e.g., title promotions, menu selections, barker channel).

In addition to quantitative gaze data, the eye tracking methodology also provided a deep qualitative exploration of user experience. Cameras captured video of the Vongo TV interface as seen from the user’s perspective, which was then superimposed with crosshairs demonstrating the user’s moving point of gaze throughout tasks. This video demonstrated where and when users looked while completing tasks like browsing and selecting, downloading and watching Vongo TV movies and videos.

To supplement data gathered by the eye tracking equipment, user attitudes and preferences were collected through verbal interviews before and after testing sessions. Satisfaction measures were completed after testing sessions as well.
Procedures
After their introduction to the testing environment, participants answered a few questions about their familiarity with Vista MCE, movie viewing habits and their use of online video. They were then asked to execute specific interface tasks that began with generic Vista MCE interface use requests and proceeded to Vongo TV interface tasks (45 minutes).

After the eye tracking session, participants completed posttest interviews exploring their reactions to the look and feel of the interface, interface ease-of-use and satisfaction.
Results
Vongo TV scored an 8.5 (out of 10) in usability for the users tested, representing a slightly better score than was achieved during Vongo TV prototype testing. Starz Entertainment is using findings from this study to continue to improve the interface and enhance Vongo TV features.

 

Center for Media Design
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Ball State University
Muncie, IN 47306

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