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Augmented Digital Audio Broadcast Home Trial

Geelhoed, Erik; Barfield, Lon; De Bruine, Annelies; Hull, Richard; Jeffries, Huw


Keyword(s):digital audio broadcast; lifestyle research; field trial; Mobile Bristol

Abstract: Hewlett Packard Laboratories, GWR (now GCAP), ASL, Panasonic Semiconductor and the University of Bristol are collaborating in a Mobile Bristol project to explore the potential of Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) through a series of user trials. Our iPAQ-based prototype allows listeners to GWR-Bristol FM to interact with a set of web pages broadcast alongside the digital audio stream and displayed on a small colour display via a wireless backchannel, for example to vote or buy a tune they hear on the radio. We conducted a field trial, where nine households used the radio for a week. We saw a consistent use throughout the period of the trial and the prototype seemed to be quickly integrated into people's lifestyles. For the participants, the DAB radio has value because the information, at a glance, comes to you, effortlessly as part of the broadcast, without having to spend time booting up a computer. An enhanced DAB radio will benefit the radio station by extending its brand, through branded free services, as well as offering commercial opportunities, such as selling music. Sometimes the relationship between the audio contents and the visual information is loose: people explore the plus pages as a separate activity often without the sound on, in particular in the evening. Other times it is tight, a listener hears a tune and then buys it. When the sound is off, a quick glance at the DLS screen might lead them to switching the audio on in order to hear a particular song. Vice versa, when listening to the radio a user might walk up to the screen to see who the artist is. Critical success factors for a successful product that incorporates an enhanced DAB relate to having a backchannel, good interface design, providing information at a glance, where the frequency of updating the information will be important to keep users interested. In our trials we benefited from a good quality and size screen that was always on, which attracted participants, even when the sound was turned off. It is unlikely that future products could match such an always-on, right size and quality screen. The popularity of Digital Multimedia Broadcast (DMB) implemented in mobile phones in Korea, might indicate that currently there are more opportunities in mobile rather than fixed radios. Notes: Lon Barfield, The Usability Design Partnership Ltd. Annelies De Bruine, Music Mayday, Amsterdam. Huw Jefferies, GCAP.

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