MAKING MULTI MEDIA WORK

16 SEPTEMBER 2008

User Vision launched the UK’s first fully comprehensive multi-media testing lab with eye tracking– the Interactive Lounge - at IBC2008 in Amsterdam this week. 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.

This launch positions User Vision as leader 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 and Slipstream which allows users to browse record, rate, recommend and share programme content from any source and to access that content from any device anywhere.

The IBC exhibition showcases the latest technology and foremost business ideas in broadcasting and media. The exhibition is internationally renowned for being run by the industry for the industry and offers unparalleled expertise and opportunities in the fields of content creation, management and delivery.

Ends

For more information contact: Sarah Lee :: 0131 225 3875 :: 077 66 542110 :: sarah@hottinroof.co.uk

ABOUT USER VISION

User Vision is one of Europe's leading independent user experience consultancies, specialising in usability testing, web accessibility, eye tracking, user needs assessments and expert usability evaluations. The company tests and improves usability across many platforms including websites, interactive TV, software, mobile phones and keyboards. As well as offline advertising, TV commercials, shop layouts and computer games.

At the heart of User Vision's work lies the basic concept that a product that is easy to use gives a business competitive advantage. The company takes a straightforward, practical approach to user needs analysis, problem solving and usability testing, leading to effective design solutions.

Launched in 2000, User Vision has grown organically and remains free from venture capital. The company has pioneered usability and accessibility for many years working with organisations like the BBC, HSBC, Nokia and the DTI. Operating internationally in Dubai, Spain, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, the UK and Ireland, User Vision is a powerful, independent force in usability and accessibility.


Games PressGames Press is the leading online resource for games journalists. Used daily by magazines, newspapers, TV, radio, online media and retailers worldwide, it offers a vast, constantly updated archive of press releases and assets, and is the simplest and most cost-effective way for PR professionals to reach the widest possible audience. Registration for the site and the Games Press email digest is available, to the trade only, at www.gamespress.com.