Karyn Lu: Interaction Design Principles for Interactive Television

Committee: Dr. Janet H. Murray, LMC, Dr. John Stasko, CoC, Dr. Peter McGuire, LMC, Allison Dollar, Co-President, Interactive Television Alliance

This thesis document identifies and articulates interaction design principles for iTV programming in the United States. It is developed within a visual culture and human-computer interaction framework.


Interactive television (iTV) is an umbrella term used to cover the convergence of television with digital media technologies such as computers, personal video recorders, game consoles, and mobile devices, enabling user interactivity. Increasingly, viewers are moving away from a “lean back” model of viewing to a more active “lean forward” one. When fully realized on a widespread scale in the United States, our current experience of watching television will be dramatically transformed. Because iTV is a new medium in its own right, however, standards for iTV programming and interaction in the United States remain undefined.

This document identifies and articulates interaction design principles for interactive television programming in the United States . Chapter one presents a brief survey of the field as it stands in 2005. In chapters two and three, I categorize iTV by platforms and by persistent television genres, and present representative examples for each category. In chapter four, I provide an overview of existing design standards in related areas. Insights from chapters two, three, and four all serve to inform chapter five, in which I propose principles for iTV interaction design by looking closely at existing designs (both deployed and prototyped), conventions, and patterns of interaction. My analyses are rooted in visual culture and human-computer interaction design principles, and the design principles I offer are abstracted from the applications I analyze within this framework. Finally, in chapter six, I offer some conclusions and thoughts for future directions.