As TVs change and ‘improve’ our old interface standards have become less relevant. Each new advance could make TVs less accessible to our audiences. How can we embrace the new, and take the whole audience with us at the same time?
We’re interested in you telling us the impact (both positive and negative) of connected TV on audiences with disabilities, and we’re interested in how we could produce robust graphical and interaction standards and guidelines for these audiences.
The BBC has been at the forefront of innovating and developing standards for television since its invention. Our audience focus also started early, and today we have teams dedicated to researching audience reaction to our output, user behaviour on our digital services and researching the future of broadcasting.
The User Experience & Design team in Future Media is responsible for the visual and interaction experience on all our digital services, from News online to CBeebies. We have designed the connected TV services for iPlayer, Sport, News and Red Button Gateway, and set the BBC Global Experience Language to inform future development on all digital platforms.
As TVs increase in screen size, definition, and functionality, our old accessibility standards for on-screen captions, subtitles and graphics have become less reliable and less relevant.
With TVs now delivering video on demand, interactive content as well as linear channels, each new advance in functionality and specification could make TVs less accessible to our audience members with a disability.
The home environment is evolving with new advances in screen capability, novel emergent input devices, connectivity standards and the use of web alongside TV on second screens. Broadcasters are beginning to take advantage of these advances with new formats and more interactive concepts that allow viewers to dive deeper into content, control their content in real-time, play along, play against each other and even influence outcomes in live broadcast programmes.
We’re interested in you telling us the impact (both positive and negative) of connected TV in connected home environments on audiences with sensory or cognitive disabilities, and we’re interested in how we could produce robust graphical and interaction standards and guidelines for these audiences.
We want to see how rich metadata, increased graphical capabilities, home network connectivity and pre-existing platform level functionality can be exploited to ensure we close the accessibility gap instead of creating a digital divide.
We are most interested in audience groups with the following challenges:
- Severe hearing loss or profound deafness
- Poor vision including age related conditions
- Non-neurotypical conditions such as ADHD, ASD or visual dyslexia (for example, we’re interested in how cognitive load is effected by moving video when using interactive services)
We’ll judge your work on:
- Whether you’re telling us something we haven’t heard before
- What audience insights you can demonstrate to back-up you proposition
- Your ability to show us how robust your findings are
- Whether or not the proposal can work across multiple TV platforms
- How easy it could be to apply your findings to our design work
- Any proposal that relies on platform level innovation should be based on pre-existing technologies rather than a technological hypothesis. That is, we want things we can put into practical action rather than waiting for the hardware industry to progress
For reference, please look at our Global Experience Language website (www.bbc.co.uk/gel) to see how your findings or recommendations could eventually be presented to our internal designers and external agencies.