Landscape sketch

When we had our first project kickoff meeting for NoTube, back in the spring, I made this list of quick sketches of TV-related characters and scenarios. They’re not very carefully modelled or the formal basis for specific project work, but they do touch on a variety of issues around the collision of ‘Web’ and ‘Television’, and I thought it worth posting them somewhere in public. Don’t read too much into the detail (eg. most of the names are quite English-y, I was aware of this but offline while writing them and stuck for naming inspiration). The basic idea was to sketch something of the present-day environment in which our project exists, and to think about how to get systems interoperating across a changing and varied landscape.

Example 1

  • Alice is a facebook user
  • her friend Bob is on her Facebook buddylist
  • when she watches a TV show about one of their shared interests, Bob gets a notification

Example 2

  • Charlie uses the YouTube site a lot, and often ‘favourites’ funny videos, as well as US politics
  • when he visits and fills out a profile that includes his public YouTube profile, he receives recommendations for comedy and US politics content

Example 3

  • Dave listens to a lot of music via
  • He would like to know when there are concerts by his favourite artists, either at home or when travelling on business (eg. dopplr)

Example 4

  • Eva bookmarks interesting articles every day on or magnol.ia
  • She would like these auto-classified because adding tags is boring
  • and to have work-related video suggestions  when in the office, recreation-related suggestions when watching IPTV at home

Example 5

  • Fred hates TV.  There is never anything on.
  • But he is taking a distance learning course, studying History of Art at weekends.
  • He would like free (CC-licensed) videos for his video iPodophone and to have relevant wikipedia pages automatically when he visits Paris.
  • And he would love to have comments on these from other History of Art students, and to follow their blogs or on Facebook.

Example 6

  • Georgina loves TV, but is too busy to watch a lot except during daily 2h commute by train.
  • She prefers news and current affairs, and to argue about politics with colleagues, friends and family.
  • She spends at least 1/2 hour a day using podcast audio or video content. Most days she re-posts something in her blog, with short (and funny) comments.

Example 7

  • Hannah is a nuclear scientist, a graduate of
  • She secretly wishes she could comment on TV stories and news articles about nuclear issues, and have her comments appear at the top because she knows what she’s talking about.
  • …but feels this is somehow elitist, so does not mention it.

Example 8

  • Ian just wants some background music videos to play while doing the housework.
  • He’d be happy if the computer picked the music for him, mixing stuff he likes with stuff he might like.
  • But if it accidentally plays any Jazz… Ugh! Game over!

Example 9

  • Joyce is a bit uncomfortable with the Internet, of hackers, viruses and chain letters.
  • One time she saw an advert that mentioned the small town she lived in, and some of her hobbies.
  • She didn’t like this.

Example 10

  • Kristian is a family history enthusiast. He built a database of 8 generations of his family, on a popular geneology site.
  • He says he’s no good with computers, but has recently built a map that includes free historical video material of life in the cities his great- grandparents grew up in.
  • He loves showing this to the kids, to remind them of where they came from. He wonders if the Web site will exist in 10 years.

Example 11

  • Luis prefers to sit back and just watch TV “on the TV”, no fancy stuff.
  • When he’s tired, he wishes more of his favourite shows had subtitles in Spanish.
  • His sister mentioned you can “get those on the Internet” but he has no idea where to begin.

Example 12

  • Martina is planning a holiday, is thinking of south-east Asia somewhere, and is looking for TV travel shows online to inspire her to save & plan.
  • She does some Web searches for travel videos, but doesn’t find anything much.
  • She hasn’t really picked a country and wonders what search terms to use.
  • Once she even clicked on an advert.

Example 13

  • Nigel is a sports fan. Well, football fan.
  • If anything is on TV or radio about his favourite team, he wants to be emailed or IM’d, immediately.
  • But if you spoil an unwatched match by telling him the final score, he will be very very upset and angry.

Example 14

  • Olivia is travelling to London for the Olympics.
  • She knows she can watch videos on her phone, and that is kind of cool, but she’d rather have a schedule for events on her phone, and also reminders about highlights to watch on her friend’s giant flat-screen TV

Example 15

  • Pat is convinced that 9/11 was a sinister plot by the illuminati and space-reptiles from Mars.
  • Given any opportunity to comment in online fora, he will share these observations with any audience; the bigger the better. After a few beers he is a bit racist too.
  • He wonders why nobody seems to read the comments he leaves on Facebook, YouTube, BBC etc. videos. Suspects a plot.

Example 16

  • Rachel is a big fan of BlahBlah, a popular sci-fi series.
  • She mentions this in her public Hi5 and profiles.
  • Sometimes when she visits online TV sites and logs in using her Orkut OpenID, she is pleasantly suprised when it recommends similar TV shows without asking.

Example 17

  • Sam loves books, and often writes reviews on; also has a length wishlist.
  • After writing a 5-star review of a great book, she wonders why the Internet can’t
  • remind her when this writer is about to be on TV. Or even at a book signing nearby.
  • She wonders if this might also be a bit creepy, but expects it will happen someday anyhow. Would people who bookmarked her reviews also get notified?

Example 18

  • Tom is pretty open-minded, but worried about what his young kids might find in the huge catalogue of his new IPTV service
  • He doesn’t want to let “a bunch of religious nutters who set the ratings” decide what his kids watch.
  • He thinks out loud “if my friends reckon something is OK for their kids”, it’s probably fine. “…but there are 1000s of shows… Hmm!”

Example 19

  • Uncle Jim filmed a major train accident on his phone just now.
  • He wants to send it on to news agencies, and dreams he will get rich from syndication profits.
  • …but he is happy for it to be re-used non- commercially, and included in Wikipedia. He wants to be emailed if anyone comments on it, or re-publishes it, anywhere.

Example 20

  • V. prefers radio to TV, but uses her laptop for both lately. She never reads listing magazines, and vaguely suspects she is missing out on the good stuff that’s on.
  • She is open to suggestions from friends, about what to watch or listen to.
  • They all use different Web sites for this kind of thing, or only use email. A couple of friends use MySpace obsessively.

Example 21

  • Will is a fictional developer at the BBC
  • He’s been asked to see if comments on pieces of BBC content around the Web can be re-aggregated to provide a unified view
  • But to bear in mind legal and policy issues

Example 22

  • Zelda doesn’t have a TV, phone, video, PC, or Blackberry.  Her radio is broken too.
  • Every week she prints out 7 days TV listings the community at the community centre, and visits a friend when something good is on TV.
  • She would like to save paper and print full info only the things that are interesting to her – movies, soaps, news, but not sport or reality shows.

Example 23

  • Anna is has obsessive knowledge of the popular soap series called Blahblah.
  • She knows 20 years history of the characters, families and plot.
  • She notices some inconsistencies in the Web site for the show, but never got a reply to her email about it.
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