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Vlog 3 [2/2]: Adventures in ViewX - Double Diamond for Watch Parties

Reflecting on designing a watch party for UX Brighton

Edited Vlog Transcript

Develop

So, this brings me now on to the section of the second diamond which we’re starting with ‘develop’ and this was really about us well about my approach to gathering video content.

Goals for video content

So, I needed to establish goals for the video content but something I observed because I had to watch a lot of UX-focused videos to kind of find the stuff I was interested in, that there was a lot of content that was from United States and a lot of content from only men and so I wanted the videos to be more representative.  

  • Particularly because they were mashups it gave me more scope to kind of provide a mixture of people from different backgrounds, different genders, international perspectives and that allowed me to give a big, a better picture of some of the conceptual ideas from design that I wanted to get across.  
  • Also, I wanted to make sure that the content quality was good. I didn’t want any recorded Zoom meetings. They’re just not that great to re-watch.  
  • I also needed to make sure there were no flashing strobe visuals in the videos. The video must have a clear and compelling point and that comes to you know I needed to edit down to that clear and compelling point to make sure that I had good stuff for my mashups.  
  • Must have accurate subtitles, loads of videos don’t, and it just should be something that folks do now.  
  • I wanted to have wild card content so like things that seemed irrelevant on the face of it but in fact were relevant.  
  • I also asked for content suggestions, so I did get a couple of suggestions from people as part of UX Brighton and I was able to put one of those in. 

Conceptual groupings

Based on the collection of videos I came up with I was able to establish conceptual groupings so the first one was ‘emotions, manipulation, and control’. Part two, ‘content, symbolism, and perception’ and then part three, ‘the new normal’ was actually purposefully just a section from one video that was really short um and again why didn’t I play that video? I don’t know, that’s the one thing where I really annoyed myself! 

Development

So, moving on still in the ‘development’ section there were some things I also needed to put in place in terms of contingency and mitigation.

Contingency, mitigation, feedback

So, contingency being what if the worst-case scenario happens and none of this technology works. Well, the contingency plan here was to make the videos available via direct link and also to make sure that there was a schedule available beforehand. So, for example if someone couldn’t be in Backyard (web application) they could still follow along. One of the first things in the session itself was to make sure I linked to a Google doc that had the full schedule all of the video links in it. I included a full playlist of the the videos that we used but also all the original videos so that people could go and revisit the full version of the original content. As opposed to my extremely edited down key points that became part of the video mashups.  

So, mitigation plans were things to try and help prevent issues ahead of time. This included: 

  • Having a screen break to counteract screen fatigue, so we made sure that was built into the schedule.  
  • Explaining the software requirements beforehand, so we were clear about the fact that this was going to need to happen on a laptop not on a mobile device. 
  • Creating a feedback survey to support development. This is something that’s so important and it was really helpful to get feedback from people. 

Testing

So, I then also made sure that I iteratively sort of tested what I was doing so I did an initial test with someone So, I then also made sure that I iteratively tested what I was doing. So, I did an initial test with someone who was co-organising and then I ran another test where it was more like the real thing where we tried playing the videos and then we tried playing the game and testing that the start and stop, me starting and stopping the videos, that they would start and stop for everybody. Which is one of the cool things that was part of backyard is that I could play a YouTube video and it would play for everybody, but it wasn’t screen sharing it was kind of like a synchronized play which was really cool. Then I tested that the chat links worked and tested that the subtitles or the closed captions work. 

Delivery

Now we go on to the actual ‘delivery’ of the watch party and this blew my mind. I had such an amazing time like I really, really, really enjoyed it. So, the observations I had were that actually the controversial ideas in the mashups worked really well. So, I did have this thing (video) about kind of ‘asshole designers' (their words, not mine!) which was from ACM which is one of the sort of major computing journals or kind of international bodies I suppose is a better way of describing them and it was it was deliberately put in there to kind of provoke. By including certain videos in the mashups, it wasn’t that I was condoning them, but more that I wanted people to think about how these different approaches to the same issues were presented. So, the kind of ‘asshole designer’ presentation was all about dark patterns ostensibly whereas that was presented alongside a much older video from Harry Brignull where he was talking about dark patterns and that was one of the first times, I think that was talked about as a concept in UX. It was again tapping into things that have been in the news recently because of the legislation in California about dark patterns and that kind of thing. It was definitely really helping me exercise those curatorial muscles which I miss so much. I really miss curating experiences in art galleries I will miss it for the rest of my life, I think. 

By including certain videos in the mashups, it wasn’t that I was condoning them, but more that I wanted people to think about how these different approaches to the same issues were presented.

Technical challenges

  • A big thing that was really super annoying was that I could not mute people while videos were playing so I kept having to remind people to mute. It’s something I really took for granted, I didn’t put it in my requirements list because almost every single webinar tool or meeting tool lets you, as the host, mute everybody but this was not something that Backyard allowed me to do. It was more egalitarian in that sense, so yeah, I think anything for a watch party you need to be able to mute people because you need to be able to focus on the videos and not have any weird background sound coming through.  
  • Also, the video did not always stop when I pressed stop a bit annoyingly. So, I had no problem pressing play for everyone but when I pressed stop or the video ended it just kept playing or it would go on to the next suggested video as YouTube so likes to do.  
  • There were certainly some usability issues with the game that we were playing in Backyard.co so for example we were doing a drawing game because I thought that was the most fun game having tested with my little beta test group before. It’s quite hard to draw with a touchpad in this game! 
  • [In the game] sometimes it wasn’t clear what to click. So that sort of held us up a bit in terms of the time. People weren’t sure how to continue the game, so we got held up kind of looking at a screen waiting for people to click things so that was something I could have definitely done better. 

General observations

  • It was sometimes hard to reign in the discussion because people got really into it. I think also there’s the notion that I’ve touched on a little bit about needing to adjust from the original plan. So, I originally was going to have a break after the first video, but people were really into it and they wanted to keep going and I could feel because the webcams were on, and I’d asked people to keep them on, I could feel the energy in the room a bit better and felt like “people want to keep going they want to keep engaging with this content, we’re just getting warmed up here”. So, I shifted the schedule around a bit.  
  • I think it’s a big part of that webcams being on is kind of establishing the etiquette and the expectations of this particular format and sort of saying at the beginning like “I would like if you feel comfortable I would like you to keep your webcams on while you’re watching because it feels then like we’re watching together” which is the purpose of this watch party. That’s a key part of the onboarding process.  
  • One of the interesting, really interesting things to me I have to say, is that there was the person who seemed to me on the reading the room perhaps less engaged on the face of it because they had their webcam turned off and their audio was muted. Actually, they were really engaged in the video bingo. It’s great that someone really went through and paid attention to that and then they came on the microphone and let me know that they had managed all of the bingo matches and so then I was able to kind of “cherish” that person’s version of interaction (this references Jenkins’ “6 Cs of gamified marketing” (2015) and also “target behaviours” as a concept of game design; Werbach and Hunter, 2012, pp. 89-94).  
  • I think we did really co-create some fantastic knowledge through the discussion. Through the act of discussion and through sharing sort of additional information that we had from our practice about the videos or about some of the issues that were discussed in the videos.  
  • Moderation worked quite well I was able to multi-task and run the technology while I was moderating the discussions. There were some challenges about certain people dominating the discussion and I think this I think this is always a challenge when you’re facilitating, trying to be mindful of who is taking up the most auditory space. Yeah, I think we managed to keep it pretty balanced but there were some people I would have liked to hear more from.

Participant feedback

So, the feedback. We got some really positive feedback. Respondents liked the use of video to stimulate the conversation folks, said they would come back, and they would recommend going to a watch party. So, that’s really exciting. They like the mashups of different videos and I think that it’s something that really helps to keep attention going because you just don’t know what’s going to come next; kind of like a video pick n' mix. The negative was that there were some issues with the sound interference, that’s almost certainly to do with the muting. There were issues with the UI in the drawing game app. [And respondents said] we should have watched the last video. I keep saying that [too], we really should have! [This points to a need for] better timekeeping.

What would I do differently next time?

  • Well as you can guess, play the final video and use a timer for the discussions and the activities. 
  • I’d ask attendees to suggest video content in future because I think that helps with buy-in.
  • I’d probably send out the concepts we were going to cover earlier but also ask for any concepts that people felt would be really topical.  
  • Use a different application unfortunately because Backyard.co is no longer available. It was sunset on the 26th of June when it was brought out by Discord. It showed a lot of promise but unfortunately it’s not something we’ll be able to use ever again so that’s the slightly sad thing. I’m glad that we managed to fit in such a thorough and exciting beta test of the software while it existed. 
  • I’ve taken so much learning forward through this experience. I’m very, very glad that we did this! 

References

Design Council (2015) ‘What is the framework for innovation? Design Council’s evolved Double Diamond’, Design Council. Available at: https://www.designcouncil.org.uk/news-opinion/what-framework-innovation-design-councils-evolved-double-diamond (Accessed: 13 March 2021).

Jenkins, P. (2015) How to gamify your marketing with the 6 C’s framework [Video file]. Available at: https://www.brighttalk.com/webcast/12389/150325/how-to-gamify-your-marketing-with-the-6-cs-framework (Accessed: 4 July 2021).

Werbach, K. and Hunter, D. (2012) For the win: How game thinking can revolutionize your business [Kindle edition].

Fiona MacNeill
Fiona MacNeill
UX and Learning Experience (LX)

Passionate about creating inclusive and accessible experiences, tools, and services for learning and doing.

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