Bettina Streit


Eat or die: viewers hardly play a role for the TV industry

At least, that was my impression when I sat on the podium at ANGA ( last week for a panel on content strategies for smart devices. TV giants such as RTL, Axel Springer and Samsung mainly spread platitudes there. And in the end, they said only one thing: "We offer TV viewers what is technically feasible. What he does with it is his business." That makes it too easy for them. This attitude prevents innovation and does not take the customer seriously.

That annoys me! The TV industry apparently still has little interest in consciously and seriously responding to the expectations of the user. As a UX expert, I am amazed at the blind belief that the mere presence of new features is more important than the question of whether the viewer 1. really needs them, 2. can actually use them and 3. is happy to do so.

Yes, of course, smart TV services are in demand, TV viewers want more detailed information and use digital side services. But television must remain simple. I want to relax for a few hours, have a good time.

Television is like going to a restaurant. The good restaurateur knows: If the guest has work with the food, the cook has not done his job. Imagine that you first have to filter out your favorite from 300+ tomato soup recipes and get the result as instant powder with a filled kettle. You wouldn't do that to yourself a second time, would you? But that's exactly what far too many smart TV providers do: Their offers and systems can theoretically do everything, somehow. They completely forget that "somehow" is out of the question for the user. If it's complicated, too time-consuming, the TV guest's appetite is lost - the pleasure of using it is lost. Expectations are not met, the result is a bad user experience, further use is not possible.

One step back, please! At coeno we deal with the design of maximum user-friendly UIs. However, this represents only a small part of the totalUX. And what counts for the user is what he finally gets his hands on: the whole Smart TV package. If he doesn't simply get what he is interested in, then the user gets out and does what he can already do.

Instead of torturing the user with what is technically feasible, we have to deal with his real expectations. What demands does he make on his device? What does he expect from smart TV offerings? What does he really want to do with it? I therefore strongly advise the protagonists of the industry to take a step back and finally deal with their customers.

After all, viewers know exactly what they want: an exciting but relaxed TV experience. They want access to new services, yes. But they don't want stress.

Smart TV will not come out of the starting blocks as long as the TV industry does not take the viewer seriously and the viewer perceives the Smart TV applications as a burden. People are at the center of attention, and we have to understand them in order to turn their fear of contact into a joy of media possibilities. Therefore we at coeno are building up a requirements database. We capture the user's expectations comprehensively and in detail in order to develop joyful applications on this basis. Elaborate? And how! But useful.

Because only satisfied users are loyal users. And because people only like to use what they enjoy using.

Bettina Streit

Managing Director & Usability Engineer


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