Gofore built the MPAT tool for interactive television in collaboration with seven European partners. MPAT (Multi Platform Application Toolkit) utilises HbbTV technology and allows applications to be displayed alongside TV broadcasts. The two-year EU research project Horizon 2020 brought together experts from businesses, universities and media companies from 2015–2017.
Gofore was in charge of the UI design process
The tool requires user interfaces for both the consumers watching TV and the content creators. Gofore’s UX designers conducted user surveys and were in charge of user interface design. Cocreation was utilised to build scenarios of usage situations and user needs. The project yielded functional, genuine tools that could be used with HbbTV technology. The tools were used to create interactive content and advertisements, among other things, to be played during TV programmes, such as music competitions or reality shows.
Involving consumers and creative viewpoints in design
Typically, Gofore designers create user interfaces for predetermined user groups, such as professionals in the industrial or public sector. The MPAT was designed from a different starting point.
“The end product that we have now built was created for television. Television sets can be found in nearly every household and living room,” says Gofore’s UX designer Miika Mikkola.
The needs of content creators in media companies are varied, so the designers used MPAT to build a flexible tool that allowed creative professionals to use it with ease.
“It is important to identify the areas where those working in media want to create their own solutions. This means that the functionalities must not be too fixed,” says Gofore’s UX designer Olli Hämäläinen.
Incorporating feelings and facial recognition into user studies
The project examined the act of watching TV from various perspectives. Alongside traditional user studies, facial recognition studies, for example, were utilised in testing the content creator’s user interface by measuring and interpreting the emotions of users. We learned a lot more about the way people consume media: in Finland, we are used to seeking national consensus in voting for the best comic character performing sketches or the best singer in a talent show. Whilst a lot of progress was made in this area, mapping the communal, multi-channel and interactive viewing experience is still in its infancy.
Would you make purchases directly from a TV programme?
MPAT strengthened our view that marketing communications are on their way to becoming more and more integrated with content and offerings. Media is broadly consumed in ways other than traditional TV channels, as new service providers and content producers have entered the market. More and more consumers have adopted a positive view to buying products and services related to TV programmes whilst watching. The genre-specific menu structures and programme guides favoured by streaming services are becoming increasingly popular. Channel-specific EPGs, or electronic programme guides, are common in Finland, but they have not permeated the European market as of yet.
What is MPAT?
Operational in HBBTV
and other HTML5-based devices.
Utilises open source code,
a WordPress-based tool.
Various navigation models
and pre-built templates
Can be used both as a
hosted service (Software as a Service) and local installation