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Evolving media: Screen distance

From: Creative Inspirations: Dale Herigstad & Schematic, Interactive Design Agency

Video: Evolving media: Screen distance

Dale Herigstad: The user experience of television has been for a long time looking at a television piece of furniture in a home about 10 feet away. That was the old way that you defined television. It's been completely redefined, of course, recently. If you go to a media company now, you go to ABC and say, what are you now to your audience? It really isn't-- there are three big categories, the way they divide it up, in say broadcast, two foot is on the computer Internet and one foot is mobile. At Schematic we divide up slightly differently. It's saying that still sort of anchor common experience, a communal experience around the friends and family, looking at television about 10 feet away with remote control. But then you have a line where you are looking at either a computer or on a personal device as a personal experience. That's really one person consuming this rather than multiple.

Evolving media: Screen distance

Dale Herigstad: The user experience of television has been for a long time looking at a television piece of furniture in a home about 10 feet away. That was the old way that you defined television. It's been completely redefined, of course, recently. If you go to a media company now, you go to ABC and say, what are you now to your audience? It really isn't-- there are three big categories, the way they divide it up, in say broadcast, two foot is on the computer Internet and one foot is mobile. At Schematic we divide up slightly differently. It's saying that still sort of anchor common experience, a communal experience around the friends and family, looking at television about 10 feet away with remote control. But then you have a line where you are looking at either a computer or on a personal device as a personal experience. That's really one person consuming this rather than multiple.

Then a new area for us has been public media where it's really maybe one person consuming but many people looking. So it's the opposite of private. It's an open kind of public screen viewing and the distance is quite variable. You might have one person three feet away, like this, but you might have people 200 feet away with a large screen that could see that. And there have been experiments, of course, like in Times Square with your mobile phone, where at a great distance people see huge screen that's being interacted with a mobile phone or something. So that's quite a bit of variety in that last one. This is important to us because one of my passions at Schematic has been into gestural navigation, through work on {italic}Minority Report{/italic}, which is what I call distance gesture. So, this line is a critical one. When you are in reachable distance to touch the screen, that's what we call touch gesture. That's the iPhone and it's a pure and beautiful experience. I love my iPhone. I love surface. I love these things where you can touch the screen and many kiosks are touchscreen because it's very understandable. Here is the thing. I touch it and it responds. That's very understandable.

A harder assignment is when you can't touch it. This is the territory that we are exploring a lot within the company. Now that includes 10-foot navigation, because you can't -- most of the time you don't get up from your chair and change the channel. You have a remote control. So we are even moving on here with input things where we can actually use your hands to gesture with no remote at all or use a gestural remote to remote. So we are experimenting with those kinds of things, which are advanced primarily by things like the Wii or all these things are making it more kind of mainstream, the idea of gesture.

I often show this screen as well because I would point out that in the interactive world a lot of the production and client base or clients, when they think about making an interactive product for themselves, this is of course a starting point. It's the web. It's two feet away and even has a mouse. The important thing to realize that on this spectrum of all these screens and devices, that's the only one that has a mouse. So when you think about that and you think about making content that's going to go across media, it can't be so mouse-centric. It has to open up to that sort of almost closer to television up/down/left/right navigation, which is far more consistent with most mobile phones, PSP, game devices, all of these.

So this is a big idea and I think one of the big lessons we have been learning here as we train a lot of people coming from the web, designers coming from the web, we have to train them into this other kind of navigation moving to television and to radial navigation. So that's a big part of the training that we do here.

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