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Title: Design for usability of interactive multimedia services to the home
Author: McKay, Iain G.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1999
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This thesis investigates the design of attracting and memorable on-screen artefacts for use within interactive multimedia services to the home and assesses the contribution that such artefacts and other factors make to overall service usability. A suite of demographic and socio-technical factors are used to perform statistical analysis and characterise the key usability issues from a user perspective after the participant cohort has been separated according to such parameters. Experimental results from research carried out in the UK and USA using internet and interactive television systems quantify user attitude to the usability of such services - measuring both explicit response and implicit choice. Systems under test include prototypes commissioned for the experiments which allow comparisons with existing systems. Both traditional paper-based and novel screen-based questionnaires capture user attitude; the latter affording a more reliable data source for statistical analysis and experimentally secure presentation to participants. The relative impact of on-screen artefacts is investigated with regards to the relative salience and attraction between icons competing for user attention and retention in memory. Various experiments construct a 'league table of salience' for 3D icon designs under test, covering effects with low-level psychological attractors and others with higher-level emotive effects applied in order to grab user attention. Having identified which 3D icons attract the attention of the casual browser it is suggested how this 'power' of attraction may be used by on-line retailers to draw user attention towards products and services according to the vendor's priorities. To this end, a virtual 'shopping mall' and 'video store' are used to investigate the effect of such effects within a retail environment. Being internet-delivered, one of the key factors in user's perceived usability is that of system latency - a key component of which is the bandwidth available between client and server. Experiments are built to explore the relationship between bandwidth available and overall attitude for different experimental scenarios - one requiring a relatively large initial download and another using streamed digital video where the video quality (frame rate) depends on the underlying network characteristics.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available