ideation iteration illumination

Continuing with this thinking of how Smart Phones and their apps have paved the way for user expectations, we’ll explore how the active nature of television and the multi-user environment necessitate a shift in design thinking when creating apps for the Smart TV, but first a bit more history. Since its introduction, the television has enjoyed its place at the center of the family unit. Following in the footsteps of radio, the television has been the household hub of entertainment, news, and information. A glowing portal through which we observe the world around us. Traditionally this information was broadcast and regulated by those with access to the equipment and financial means to do so (ex. networks, advertisers and the government). The power of the consumer was in deciding what to watch within a relatively narrow set of available programming, not necessarily how or when. Today’s internet and Smart Phone savvy consumers have a far greater sense of control and empowerment as numerous sources of content such as DVRs, DVDs, On-Demand, Pay-Per-View, Over-the-Top streaming, and web based video compete for attention. These examples aren’t taking into account the wealth of user generated and secondary source content now dominating the entertainment online. We not only have control of what we watch but we can control when we want to watch it, how and from whom.

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At the convergence of improved lightweight operating systems, lower cost yet higher powered hardware, high quality streaming media and consumer hunger for content based technology, more and more televisions are turning into “Smart TVs.” We designers are constantly in the spotlight walking the tightrope of good user experience. One end of the rope is tied to the project inception and the other to post launch feedback and as the gravity of competing priorities pulls ever harder, we teeter, sway, and stumble along trying to balance the best interactive experience across the span. In this emergent phase of Smart TV technology, we must take well considered steps forward lest we carelessly and overconfidently miss the rope, lose our balance and tumble, head over heels, toward the unforgiving ground below.

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