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30/11/2001

INTERACTIVE TELEVISION IS HARDER TO USE THAN COMPUTERS

INTERACTIVE television is perceived to be more difficult to use than a computer, new research from the Independent Television Commission (ITC) and Goldsmiths College, University of London has revealed.
A sample of over 1,000 consumers were asked to rate 19 products in terms of their perceived ease of use. Interactive television, which offers viewers the opportunity for enhanced entertainment and information services, was rated as the fourth most difficult to use of the 19 products rated. Only flying an aeroplane, using a sewing machine and riding a motorbike were considered by the sample to be more difficult.
Using a computer was rated the fifth hardest, followed by using a digital television in sixth place and using a video recorder in seventh place.
Significantly, traditional analogue television was rated as one of the easiest products to use alongside radios, kettles and hairdryers.
The findings were presented at the Easy TV seminar on November 28 organised by the ITC, Design Council and Consumers' Association.
The aim of the seminar was to bring together broadcasters, consumers and designers to discuss how domestic television equipment can be made easier to use. Considering viewers' needs at the beginning of the design process would enable greater use of the equipment and services, thereby assisting digital television to reach its potential, delegates heard.
Patricia Hodgson, Chief Executive of the ITC, said: “If we want a digital set in every home, then we must make equipment that people can use with ease. If we don't offer services and equipment that viewers perceive to be easy to use – at least as easy as the products they have been used to – then viewers will not use them, no matter how enhanced the functionality might be.”
The Easy TV seminar is a first step towards stimulating debate on the provision of easy to use and accessible information and entertainment services so that all viewers can benefit from the advantages of digital television.
The ITC, Design Council and Consumers' Association will be sponsoring further research over the next year which will gather views on the digital products and services that viewers find the easiest and most difficult to use. (CD)
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