Co-creation for HbbTV development – Part 3

Paper Mockups at second co-creation Workshop in Magdeburg

The participants of the external co-creation workshop were divided into four groups of 3 or 4 people. Each group was supplied with a hand-out with technical and application information and features, as well as with a list of tasks that they had to fulfil.

Two groups were given the task of developing a screen from scratch according to their own preferences. The other two groups were to use the existing paper mockups from co-creation workshop one as the basis for the development of their screen. Each group was allotted 45 minutes for their task. The workshop hosts spoke with each group, asking questions and offering suggestions. Each group presented its results and discussed them with other participants. The outcomes were documented with photos and notes. Finally, the manner in which the results would be integrated into RBB and the TV-RING project was explained to the participants.

The tasks:

Each group was tasked with developing a screen for the ‘Abenteuer Liebe’ HbbTV application:

  • A start-screen (for use both during and before/after the actual broadcast)5
  • A player screen (for video playback, player controls, comments, back button, blog)6

For each task, there were two groups: one worked with the previously-developed paper mockups as pictured above, the other developed ideas from scratch. Each group was asked to later present its results using Post-It notes and oral descriptions.


The attendees of the co-creation workshop at the University Magdeburg-Stendal were grouped in four teams. The results of their work are documented below.

Group 01: Develop a start screen from scratch

The first group developed a means of monitoring additional content during the broadcast. They produced playful methods of presenting this content on the TV screen, such as the use of speech/thought bubbles. This additional level of information presentation could be made still more engaging by presenting the user with optional voting and discussions in parallel to the broadcast. Where additional content is too complex for presentation as an overlay on the TV screen, it could be presented on the second screen, i.e. the smartphone. Viewers can choose to enable the HbbTV functionality. More ‘conservative’ viewers who chose not to enable the functionality would therefore not be disturbed by it.


Results overview:

  • Target group: probably more smartphone users than tablet users
  • „What are they doing there on the screen? “
    • visualisation of the thought bubbles as ‚secret thoughts’
  • Live TV with a cartoon-like overlay
  • Viewers want to know who the person on the screen is:
    • person selected on smartphone, thought bubbles displayed
    • thought bubbles can be ‚liked‘
    • photos, profiles etc. can also be ‚liked’
  • Users can question coaches, blogs, performers
  • Everything is customisable

The most important result of this group was that additional content must be, suitable for the young target group, displayed in a playful way, for instance as overlaid pop-ups for each TV episode on screen (if the HbbTV app is started). Especially data not possible to transport within the classic TV show, like for instance the thoughts of protagonists must be added in an amusing way. In addition, most probably users will use their smartphone as the input device for the live blog, for chatting with experts and editors during the show, for submitting comments and opinions etc.

Group 02: Improve the start screen we provided.

The second group dropped the task completely and proposed the creation of an interactive game, for use independently of the broadcast. The viewer can ‘pair up’ the protagonists; the current state of development of the documentary could be shown. Particular elements could be selected and evaluated by the viewer. Various profiles could also be developed, such as Wikipedia entries or messages to various entities. Additional players, such as coaches, experts and other actors, could be included in the game. A further suggestion was the creation of users‘own profiles and thus the possibility of finding compatible ‘friends’. The basic functionality of the game on the TV should be exactly the same as on the second screen, but the interaction could be more extensive on the mobile device; content could be further explored, screenshots could be created, profile images uploaded etc.


Results overview:

  • Screen for during/outside the broadcast
  • A ‘hot or not’ voting function
  • Persons/profiles are selectable (using up/down keys), linked by the elements which connect them/are common to them
  • Focus can be switched between selected persons/profiles using blue/green keys
  • Connections can be selected with yellow button, created by editors and also drawn from social networks, scrollable, semantically analysed
  • The heart shape shows the visualisation of the selected focus – gradually fills as viewers vote for the pair, indirect voting
  • Second screen is the same as the TV screen but content can be further explored, connections can be collected and selectable
  • Small ‘share’ button at the top, to share screenshots
  • Users could upload own content

Funny graphics, simple and easy participation, configurable at best, and a hot-or-not in-app game – in this group also it was an obvious result that the service must be presented as playful as possible. The focus is not on complex, editorial info – it’s better to avoid long texts. Also, the focus is more on the characters and the fun of participation; this is what is relevant for the target group. There does not have to be a direct connection between the moment of broadcast and the use of the app; the app is more an add-on, to strengthen the brand ‘Abenteuer Liebe’.

 Group 03: Develop a video player screen from scratch

The third group developed an idea for a player screen for use during the actual TV broadcast. The basic idea was the graphic representation of a particular development, i.e. the number of user questions. In this way complex issues could be displayed during the broadcast without distracting the viewer. The group focussed upon interaction, expression and display of opinions. The idea was that the viewer could use a ‘buzzer’ to send selected phrases (‘Well done!’) during the broadcast, and would also be able to see other viewers’ responses and interaction. Top phrases could be voted on, via social media. Navigation – the suggestion was to reduce the TV picture and to introduce tabs on the right-hand side of the screen, as this navigation method is well-known from other popular websites. Here you could then select Buzz-ticker, Chat, Like, etc.


Results overview

  • Live player screen for broadcast
  • TV-screen Buzzer function for ratings during transmission
  • At the top right – select a person, browsable
  • On the right side:
    • Ratings
    • Chat
    • Buzz ticker
  • Bottom right – graphic showing development of particular aspect
  • Possible alternative to Buzzer – editorial questions/voting

Group 03 provided an additional remarkable result: viewer opinions and the development of interactivity numbers over time are of interest. Those number and results must be represented graphically and, again, in an amusing way. Interaction possibilities for viewers via TV must be easy and simple, areas with additional data must be exchangeable easily. In general, graphics are dependent upon the actual programme character, and are part of the editorial process.

Group 04: Improve the video player screen we provided

The fourth group stayed closely to the guidelines and developed an improved screen for use outside the broadcast. The navigation bar should be changed from left-right to up-down. The video image should be made larger and the control functions should be simplified and controlled by the coloured buttons. The chat function should be always visible and displayed as speech/thought bubbles in the top right of the screen. There was no consensus about how the chat function should be navigated. The group were unanimous that the components should be of a playful nature. Viewers can make their opinions/feelings known via the heart display.


Results overview:

  • Video picture was too small
  • Lists should be on the left
  • Videos should be selectable
  • Videos should then play in player
  • Player functions should be controlled with colour buttons
  • Chat should be shown above at edge, or it can be moved to the second screen
  • Chat input should be via second screen only
  • Protagonists top right edge, with dynamic heart symbol to display current rating
  • Colour buttons useable within the entire application

Similar to group 03 – users of such a service should have the possibility of adding simple rating and voting features, and the overall results of all participating viewers should also be visible onscreen. There should be no long and deep menus – control functions could be accessed easily via the colour buttons. Users may be accustomed to ARD’s Mediathek player menu, so whether this route is suitable would have to be assessed. The slow performance and response of some TV sets may be another reason to avoid using the colour button control method. Other interaction can also be accessed via colour keys. Thus it would be possible to have other control functionalities on the screen, which were not controlled by the up/down/left/right keys of the remote.

Our conclusions

The key players in the programme are the protagonists, and this should be reflected in the accompanying service and social media. Engaging with the protagonists offers the possibility of encountering young viewers in their own environment, as distinct from that of the ‘grown-up’ presenters and editors.

A TV application must be simple to use on the TV itself, rather than on a smartphone or PC. All functions should be reachable within a couple of clicks. Navigation should be straightforward and direct. In functional terms, if something is not achievable, it should be discarded.

For the target group, playfulness is of prime importance. Learning is not their main motivation, but of course it’s not bad if learning is part of the overall context, especially if it’s enjoyable. It’s not information which is in the foreground, but the fun which viewers can have with the app. Young people want to gain points, share their opinions, see their views represented and interact.

Once the content and functionalities were fixed through this approach, the digital mockup process has helped to find a suitable information architecture and identify an innovative, remote-control and screen estate-optimized design solution for the application.

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