Centre for Human-Computer Interaction Design
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Human-Computer Interaction Design


"Virtual Interface for a Set Top box Agent"

Staff and funding

Principal investigator: Prof Helen Petrie
Research staff: Fraser Hamilton
Total funding: £432,367
Funding to the Centre: £88,649
Funding source: PACCIT/DTI LINK
Duration: April 2002 until September 2003

Project description

The VISTA Project is exploring how visually impaired viewers, many of whom are elderly, can get the best out of the unprecedented choice of channels and services on digital television. As take-up of digital television continues to grow, Electronic Programme Guides (EPGs), offering details of current and future programming have become a valued feature in the vast majority of digital homes across the UK. While they provide clear benefits to most viewers, EPGs can present difficulties for viewers who are unable to read information either on screen or on a remote control, or who are physically unable to handle a remote control.

The VISTA Project is conducting research towards the development of a complete Virtual Human Interface for digital television. A virtual human will be combined with voice input and output systems to create an easy to use prototype interaction system for elderly and visually impaired digital television viewers.

The implications of this research are:

  • VISTA will provide new insights into the potential utility of a talking EPG for visually impaired and elderly viewers.

  • Results of human factors evaluations will inform the development of optimally effective virtual human interfaces for visually impaired and elderly viewers.

  • Useful information regarding the appeal of the VISTA virtual human interface to our target user groups will inform any future decisions regarding potential commercialisation of the VISTA concept

Project collaborators