Posts Tagged ‘usability’

Easy YouTube player – making it easier?

June 17, 2009

Wow, I can’t believe my last post was January.  I’d like to say I’ve been off on an exotic trip but I haven’t!  There have been lots of good things going on and I’ve finally started to make time to design a new blog.  More on those things soon…

I’ve been playing a bit more with how the Easy YouTube player might look.  This was to address any outstanding issues that came out of testing the player and to look at the user experience as a whole.

I was already working on it when I met Thomas Hooper at Scripting Enabled.  We spent some time together on the second day, discussing the version I was working on.  After the event,  I asked Tom to collaborate with me.   Over a few months, we each brought different things to this version and it was great to critique each other’s work, discuss what we wanted to achieve and come up a visual for something that could hopefully be an enhancement.  The picture below shows how it might look.

Visual of Easy YouTube version 3

Visual of Easy YouTube enhancement

Here’s a synopsis of changes

Things people wanted to be different

  1. Less information on the player somewhat differently organised:  although there is more information in some respects now, things have been changed to make it easier to understand.
    The copy has been simplified and more space has been given to the different areas within the player.  It will be interesting to see if this has helped.
  2. The address facility to be at the bottom of the player, not at the top: after much consideration, we thought we would leave it at the top and that this would make it seem less busy.

Things people wanted to be added

  1. Visual clues for the different screen size options:  different sized screens added.
  2. Pictures for the search results: already added by Christian.
  3. Running time/ time in to tell you how long the video is: added.
  4. An indication to tell you how many videos you will get from the search:  added at the top, although I don’t know how/if this would actually work technically.

Other things

  1. Improved contrast of colours.
  2. Address bar
    • Simplified wording.
    • New button.
    • (Different green)
  3. Search
    • Simplified wording.
    • Added visual device to enhance search concept.
    • (Different colours)
    • Wider box to type in search request.
    • Visual separation of search results.
    • New button.
    • Wording changed from ‘go’ to ‘search’.
    • A ‘next’ arrow at the bottom to indicate there is more.  If we did this, we would probably need a back arrow as well, so I’m not sure if this technically possible.
  4. Control buttons
    • New buttons.
    • Changed the order of the sound control buttons so the active ones are closer to the volume indicator showing cause and effect.
    • Added words to back up the visuals.
  5. Volume indicator
    • Brought this down to tie in with the control buttons.
    • Changed the colour of the indicator bar to tie it in with the volume control buttons.
  6. Screen size
    • New buttons to tie in to style of control buttons.
    • Added visual representation of screen sizes.
  7. Added a logo.  For fun!

Feedback is welcome!

Scripting Enabled London video available

January 6, 2009

Update: Two videos plus transcripts of the talks from September 2008’s Scripting Enabled event in London are now available!

These videos were all kindly filmed by BBC Backstage, transcribed by the Opera Development Network and are hosted by the Yahoo Developer Network.

A video of me talking about Online Content for People with Learning Disabilities is now available.  Hmm… not the slickest of presentations and every technological hitch I could have imagined but I hope the broad messages I wanted to get across still got out there.  Go to the video of me giving my talk.

Oh, and it’s ok to laugh at my technology problems, I did!

A video of Denise Stephens from Enabled by Design giving a really interesting and insightful talk about Multiple Sclerosis and inclusive design is available.  Go to the video of Denise giving her talk.

Go to the Scripting Enabled website

Videos

October 9, 2008

Two videos I made with people with learning disabilities for the Scripting Enabled event in London are now up on YouTube.

You Tube and Easy YouTube Player

This film shows someone with a learning disability, Lizzie, using YouTube and then the Easy YouTube player.  It highlights some of the issues around players online and shows how Easy YouTube is so much better for her.

You can access Lizzie using YouTube and the Easy YouTube player with the Easy YouTube player

You can access Lizzie using YouTube and the Easy YouTube player on YouTube

Short interviews

This film shows short interviews with two people with learning disabilities, Ann and Lizzie, talking about some of the issues they face being online generally.

You can access Ann and Lizzie being interviewed with the Easy YouTube player

You can access Ann and Lizzie being interviewed on YouTube

* I am very grateful to Ann and Lizzie and that they have given permission for these films to be shared.

Context

Both videos were shown as  part of a presentation called Online Content for People with Learning Disabilities: opening doors.

Here is the original presentation:

‘That’s much better than before’: testing the Easy YouTube Player

July 7, 2008

I’ve been user testing the Easy YouTube Player on a one-to-one basis with some people with learning disabilities who are supported by United Response.

The feedback has been really good with comments like “oh that’s much better than before” and “when is youtube going to look like this?”

Every person who tested this player thought it was much better and easier to use than the standard YouTube player.

Here are the headlines from user testing sessions so far. There’s much more detail but I’ll cut to the chase

Things people liked

  • The control buttons. They were the right size and were easy to understand
  • Being able to change the video size
  • The volume indicator
  • The search facility
  • Being able to put the address in the address bar and see the video they wanted, even if they needed help to do it

Things people wanted to be different

  • Less information on the player (too many words)
  • Things to be organised a bit differently
  • The address facility to be at the bottom of the player, not at the top. (The screen was the main concern.)

Things people would like but are not there

  • A state change to show that you are about to select a button or a video size
  • Visual clues for the different video size options
  • Pictures for the search results (Or if not then, for it to be clearer that you can select these options)
  • A timecode to tell you how long the video is
  • Something to tell you how many videos you will get from the search facility

Other

It was interesting to see how many people did not know you could be on more than website at the same time. (The copy and paste element of finding a video and then pasting it into the address bar caused problems for some. Although, others picked this up quickly!) Every tester used IE.

This is a player and not a re-working of the YouTube site. I found that for some people, the most meaningful way of using the player would be if it was a viewing option once you had selected the video you wanted to see on YouTube itself.

The use of pictures on the site is good in terms of being a visual prompt for people when selecting what it is they want to see. There are other issues with the site but this function is considered by the people I worked with to be good.

Visual

So, I had a little play taking the current Easy YouTube player to see how it might look (not function!) in response to this user testing. It might look like this (updated with timecode):

visual of easy youtube player reworked

visual of easy youtube player reworked

I appreciate that this might not be possible in terms of what is technically possible but I hope this is interesting? If it could be progressed to include thumbnails of the videos, it would most likely need to change shape slightly as the thumbnails would need to be big enough to be meaningful.

There are some more people I would like to test with, who I haven’t got hold of yet, so it’s possible that other things are thrown up. It’s an ongoing conversation, of course.

The best finding so far is that making this player accessible in these ways helps people to feel included. Just having more control has made so much difference to the people I have been working with. And I hope therefore that many more people will benefit from it.

Easy Flickr photo viewer

June 18, 2008

Christian Heilmann has been working on the Flickr API!

He’s created a simple picture viewer for Flickr which lets you search for 20 pictures at a time. It’s really easy to use with visual navigation to get you from one picture to another. And it just lets you search for pictures, with nothing else in the way!

Use this screen shot example to go to the player:

Easy Flickr screenshot

Once again, Christian has put time and effort into making it easy for other people to host the interface. You can get the documentation from his blog.

And he’s posted documentation on how he created the viewer on his site. Go to his step-by-step guide

Easy YouTube Player V2

June 13, 2008

Christian Heilmann has released the Easy YouTube Player V2. This is an enhanced version of the original one Christian developed.

Use this screen shot to go to the player:

Easy YouTube player version 2

Possible Benefits

There are many reasons why this player could make it easier for people with learning disabilties to watch YouTube videos. Here are some:

  • The buttons are big.
  • The colours act as clues or prompts to their functionality. Red is stop, green is go and so on.
  • The bar at the top to put the URL in is big. This has obvious benefits and also for people who have secondary impairments such as visual impairment or mobility issues.
  • The instructive text helps people to know what each of the options does.
  • People can search YouTube for topics which will appear in the playlist – this helps to answer my query as to how many people would know how to copy and paste a URL into the box at the top.
  • People have three options as to the size of the video they watch. In my experience, this has been a big issue (and this is one of the things I personally find the most exciting). Video without a resize option can often be missed or meaningless and this really gives users control.
  • It’s easy to control the volume and there is an indicator to visually represent its state.

User Testing

I will be doing extensive user testing on this player next week and the following week, with a range of people with learning disabilities. So the above are mostly my thoughts and those who have tested it to date.

Some things I will be testing:

  • Does it work? Is it clear and is it easier?
  • I am not sure if the wording I have provided is right.
  • It might be too big.
  • I am not sure if there are relativity issues in terms of the design- ie we may need to tweak the relative sizes of all the options if this is overwhelming for people. This is a possibility.
  • We may need to tweak the design elements themselves.
  • I am not sure if we have got the colours right.
  • Will people use the other options available to them, such as the playlists and del.icio.us This will be interesting and the whole area of playlists and favourites is one I would like to look into more, eventually.
  • Would we need to explain copying and pasting URLs in the first place. So far I have had to do this, so I may need to think of a fix.

Of course, there are lots of people with learning disabilities (or otherwise indeed) who use websites with support from a support worker/ carer/ friend etc. Hopefully, this will make it easier for everyone, not just people with learning disabilities themselves. And it should give people more control, more easily, over what they watch and how they watch it.

Player help documentation

Christian has also provided player help documentation which is even more of a bonus in my view.

More

Please feed back your thoughts on Christian’s blog or here. It would be good to get this as right as we can.

And then maybe YouTube can add it as a viewing option. :-)