Animated characters have been a popular research theme, but the respective desktop applications have not been well-received by end-users. The objective of this study was to evaluate the use of an animated character for presenting information and navigating music videos within an interactive television (ITV) application. Information was displayed over music video clips with two alternative user interfaces: 1) semi-transparent information overlays, 2) an animated character. For this purpose, the differences between ITV and desktop computing motivated the adaptation of the traditional usability evaluation techniques. The evaluation revealed that users reported higher affective quality with the animated character user interface. Although the success of animated characters in desktop productivity applications has been limited, there is growing evidence that animated characters might be viable in a domestic environment for leisure activities, such as interactive TV.
Practitioner’s Take Away
The following points summarize the contribution of this research with regard to animated characters, programming toolkit, and interactive TV applications:
- Animated characters might be appropriate for ITV entertainment applications.
- Animated characters have a carry-over user attitude effect from the desktop to the ITV environment.
- The Microsoft Agent user interface programming toolkit provides a flexible and easy to use platform for research.