The Connected TV blog seems a good place to announce a new venture which farncombe, which hosts this site, is currently working on. This new endeavour involves benchmarking the usability of connected TV devices.
Those of us with access to a connected TV experience – whether on a smart TV, games console, laptop, tablet or set-top box – will all have our favourite bugbears about the connected user experience: the number of clicks it takes to call up a particular piece of on-demand content, over-complex remotes that don’t match what’s on the EPG, screens that are difficult to navigate, etc. etc.
But is it possible to create a standardised set of objective, quantifiable tests with which to assess and compare the user-friendliness of all these different screens?
Well, farncombe thinks it is. Using the knowledge and experience of its engineers at the Farncombe Test Lab in Vauxhall, London (which is already carrying out technical testing on some of our clients’ hybrid receivers), as well as the EPG design knowhow of its user experience practice, WeAreAka, farncombe has worked out a standardised battery of tests that assesses the most common ‘user journeys’ on connected TV devices, the types of feature that improve usability, and the kind of bad UX design practices best avoided.
Over the coming months farncombe will be refining its thinking, testing an initial batch of connected TV devices, and publishing some of the early results as a new industry monitor provisionally dubbed ‘The Connected TV Usability Index’.
The intention is to create a benchmark for viewers and industry alike, by regularly reporting which connected TV devices are ‘best in class’ for a particular usability category – and thereby helping consumers make a more informed choice as they migrate towards this complex emerging market. The first manufacturers are already signed up.
Farncombe believes that manufacturers and operators alike will find the index a valuable tool to help them understand how to enhance the TV viewing user experience.
If you are a connected TV device manufacturer and you believe your user experience is best-in-class, then there is still time for you to be involved at no cost. Please click here to contact us.
If you want to share with us your suggestions about those features you believe should be on our shortlist – and even those which are the most irritating – then we welcome your comments.
Watch this space for more details!