Exploring Children s 3DTV Experience

Exploring Children’s 3DTV Experience 1,2 Marianna Obrist , Daniela Wurhofer1, Magdalena Gärtner1, Florian Förster3, Manfred Tscheligi1 1 Christian D...
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Exploring Children’s 3DTV Experience 1,2

Marianna Obrist , Daniela Wurhofer1, Magdalena Gärtner1, Florian Förster3, Manfred Tscheligi1 1

Christian Doppler Laboratory for ”Contextual Interfaces”, HCI & Usability Unit, ICT&S Center, University of Salzburg, Salzburg, Austria 2 Culture Lab, School of Computing Science, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK 3 Studio MicroLearning & Information Environments, Research Studios Austria Forschungsgesellschaft, Salzburg, Austria 1

{firstname.lastname}@sbg.ac.at, [email protected], 3 [email protected] adoption of 3D technology beyond movie theatres, e.g. 3DTV at home, especially considering that “…the family home becomes a key site for the integration of telecommunications, broadcasting, computing and video, with satellite and cable television, computer games, Internet and other interactive media already transforming the everyday lives of children and young people…” [25].

ABSTRACT 3D is expected to transition from cinema to personal consumer electronics. Given that children are heavy users of consumer electronics and represent a driving force when it comes to the adoption of new technologies, it is important to investigate and understand children’s experiences with new technologies. Within this paper, we explore children’s 3DTV experience with respect to attributed viewing qualities, willingness to view 3DTV at home and influences by age and gender. The study was conducted as part of a three-day science event organized within a shopping mall. Within these three days, feedback from more than 600 children was collected using a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods. Next to a one-page, pre-structured questionnaire, which was developed in particular to explore the quality of children’s 3DTV viewing experience, we used open feedback cards on which the children could note their positive and negative experiences of watching 3DTV. The questionnaire results indicated that older children found watching 3DTV requires higher attention and is more exhausting, although – at the same time – they experienced it as more realistic than the younger children. Furthermore, three-fourths of the children indicated that they would like to watch 3DTV at home. The study results provide a first step towards a richer understanding of children’s experience with 3DTV.

However, little is known about how children experience 3D technology, neither in cinema theatres nor in any other setting. Therefore the main goal of our research was to investigate children’s experiences with 3DTV to shed light on this emerging technology whilst also bringing a user-centered perspective to this topic. By investigating the experiences collected in the public context, including assumptions for the future acceptance in the home context, we aim to contribute to the current discussion regarding 3D technology and 3DTV in particular. There is only limited research published on the user’s perspective and perception of 3DTV (e.g., [23][42]). The majority of evaluation studies on viewing experiences are conducted in controlled laboratory environments (e.g., [17][30][36][39]). Only a few exceptions can be found in mobile 3DTV research (e.g., [11][23]). In general, lab studies are perfectly suitable for evaluating perceptual qualities, however, when it comes to assessing the user experience (UX), the conclusions drawn from such studies have limited use. Field studies can bridge the gap and provide richer insights on how people experience a technology. As children are more and more becoming primary users of software and technology, a broad number of research methods on how to involve them in the development process have evolved (e.g., [19][10][24][15][33][14]). With respect to 3DTV, no studies on children’s UX have – to our knowledge – been conducted to date.

Categories and Subject Descriptors H5.2. Information interfaces and presentation (e.g., HCI): User Interfaces, Evaluation/methodology.

General Terms Measurement, Documentation, Experimentation, Human Factors.


Within this paper we try to contribute to this research gap by presenting initial study results on users’ experiences with 3DTV. Thereby, the focus is put on children as a relevant user group, building on their role as “change agents” regarding the adoption of new technologies in the home [31]. Our main research question was: How do children experience 3DTV? In detail, we explored the following sub-questions:

3DTV, children, user study, viewing experience, user experience, context, method.

1. INTRODUCTION & BACKGROUND Within the last few years, mature technology and advanced special effects helped 3D especially in the cinema to reach the mainstream [35]. Furthermore, children are a target group of the movies industries, when it comes to 3D (e.g. see [4]). Children therefore also represent an interesting user group, concerning the Permission to make digital or hard copies of all or part of this work for personal or classroom use is granted without fee provided that copies are not made or distributed for profit or commercial advantage and that copies bear this notice and the full citation on the first page. To copy otherwise, or republish, to post on servers or to redistribute to lists, requires prior specific permission and/or a fee. EuroITV’12, July 4–6, 2012, Berlin, Germany. Copyright 2012 ACM 978-1-4503-1107-6/12/07...$10.00.

Which attributes do children assign to their 3DTV viewing experience? I.e., which attributes characterize children’s viewing experience?

How does the viewing experience influence the children’s willingness to watch 3DTV at home?

What factors influence children’s experience of 3DTV (e.g., age, gender)?

In the following, we present the results of a study conducted to explore children’s experiences with 3DTV in a public space,


namely within a shopping mall, as part of a three-day University science event. This setting provided us with the possibility to establish contact with a huge amount of participants. In addition, this event enabled us to reach the intended target group, because a large number of schools organize field trips to the University science event in order broaden children’s interest in different project topics and science in general. This public set up, the methods used and the major findings, which combine quantitative and qualitative data are presented and discussed in the following sections. Furthermore the results of this study lay ground for a more in depth investigation of 3DTV and children, presented in the last section, future work.

2.2 Relevant 3DTV Consumers: Children Quandt and Pape [31] report that in households with children the children’s bedrooms contain the second highest number of media in the home just after the living room, which is the definite monopole for technical devices. They also discovered a concentration of new technologies within the children’s space, which concurs with results of other studies on children’s media use, underlining their role as “change agents” regarding the adoption of new technologies. There is another aspect regarding the physiology of children, which underlines the particular position they have in the evaluation of 3D technology. Children are more tolerant towards stereoscopic variances than elderly people, as with increasing age people more and more lose their ability to adapt to alterations affecting their visual perception. In other words, children are in a kind of learning phase concerning their visual senses, therefore their eyes can adapt more quickly to changes in digital 3D movies [38].

2. RELATED WORK Although 3D technology is no recent invention and has been around in different forms for almost 100 years, for most of its lifespan it has been seen as a gimmick more than something that truly enhances the watching experience [6]. Nevertheless, within the last few years mature technology and advanced special effects helped 3D especially in the cinema to reach the mainstream, as successful movies like James Cameron’s “Avatar” and Disney’s “Toy Story 3” illustrate. In particular, “Avatar“ is considered an important trigger for ongoing public enthusiasm for and interest in 3D technology, as well as for first use of 3DTV at home [5]. Since 2009, when “Avatar” reawakened 3D technology, the number of movies published in 3D has constantly risen, with nearly three times as many 3D movies released in 2011 as in 2009, and even more 3D movies expected to be released in 2012. This increased enthusiasm for 3D movies has pioneered the way for the adoption of 3D technology beyond the public context to more private spaces like the home context [27].

Animation movies, which are mainly made for families and especially children (e.g. see [5]), are particularly appropriate for the application of 3D technology given their digital, computerbased production process. Almost any animation movie shown in cinemas in the past two years was released in an additional 3D format and the mainly young audience, the target audience of these movies, appreciated that. Consequently children and teenagers can be assumed to be a target group of the movie industry when it comes to 3D [25].

2.3 Evaluating Children’s Experiences When it comes to evaluating the user/viewer experience with 3DTV a number of different methods and approaches exist. The most common way to evaluate the users’ viewing experience are laboratory studies focusing on the perceptual and technical qualities of 3DTV (e.g., [17][30][36]). Perceptual quality evaluations are often used to assess the video quality perceived by the user and to limit discomfort. Viewing durations for judging the quality have short time spans, varying from 5 to 15 seconds [3]. Evaluations of this kind are conducted in lab environments to control for factors like background and room illumination, or viewing distance. A low perceptual quality does not only cause an unpleasant viewing experience, but can also cause physical side effects. Thus, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) addresses recommendations for such evaluations, originally designed for 2DTV, but now also designated for 3DTV1.

2.1 Variables Affecting the Take Up of 3DTV The diffusion of 3DTV beyond the cinema will mainly depend on the prize, improvements in technology, content availability and finally on the users’ adoption and acceptance of such new technology in their home context. “We were a long time in the chicken-and-egg situation for cinema. ‘Do we need the content first or the theatres?’ You can see the same happening in [3D]TV right now – and that reminds you that it is going to be a process, not an overnight thing” ([5], p. 35). 3D technology for the living room is still in a stage of development and is not assured to be a success in the near future. Prognoses and assumptions about the take up and adoption of 3DTV by the consumers in the home are varying from a few years up to ten or twenty years (see [11][6][5]). However, people do not tend to replace technical equipment, which is still in working order. New media devices, such as 3DTV sets have to compete with older ones if people are to incorporate them into the household [31]. However, new devices are desirable, not only regarding enhanced functionality and usability but also the prestige value, which comes along with innovative and modern technology.

In contrast to mere perceptual studies, which often rely on objective quality metrics [1], wider approaches exist. These approaches either combine perceptual evaluations with qualitative methods like interviews and questionnaires [12], or solely rely on the latter [e.g., 15]. These qualitative approaches aim to identify underlying factors for the subjective viewing quality of 3DTV [21]. Jumisko-Pyykkö et al. [21] for instance, conducted 90 semistructured interviews to reveal viewing experiences after a psychoperceptual quality evaluation. Their developed model on quality of experience integrates four components: 1) quality of visual modality in depth, spatial and motion domains, 2) viewing experience, 3) content, 4) audio and audiovisual quality.

Major global market researchers (e.g., [6][33]) state that consumers want 3DTV, especially if they have already experienced the visual quality of 3D somewhere else, e.g., in cinema movies. In addition, almost every notable television manufacturer is offering 3D-capable TV screens for the living room at present or will have them in their product range soon [11]. Nevertheless, the final adoption will depend on the benefits identified by the consumers and the quality of experience and perception of 3DTV. Whether a new device finds its place in the home or not, is always the result of an interplay between the technology itself and the user context [31].

Moreover, Häkkinen et al. [15] compared the perception of stereoscopic and non-stereoscopic content. Their results show that



See International Telecommunication Union (ITU) website: http://www.itu.int/net/itunews/issues/2010/02/index.aspx

3DTV content (e.g., possibility of feeling sick). In addition to two chairs positioned in front of one of the 3DTV screens (see Figure 1), there were other seating possibilities available around the booth. Children could only take part in the study when their parents or teachers allowed them to participate. A minimum of four researchers were available at the booth at any time to take care of the participants: from the moment they were given the 3D glasses, while they were watching the 3D content, until they were asked to fill in the questionnaire and give feedback on the feedback cards.

people experiencing 3DTV most often report on physical symptoms as well as five subjective attributes: depth impression, life-like versus artificial, presence in the scene, emotional experiences and more richness of detail [15]. Other approaches for assessing 3D content include the measurement of the users’ feeling of presence [22][9], feeling of sickness [15] [23] and usability [20]. In recent years a number of studies on 3D are grounded on a usercentered design approach, especially within research on mobile 3DTV [11][23]. These studies coin the term user experience (UX), as they take user characteristics and goals, content and context of use into account. The closer 3DTV comes to usage in a home context, the more important these additional factors become. The scope of UX supersedes the concept of usability and other performance oriented measures by including for example users’ emotions as well as motivations and a strong focus on the context of use. Following the ISO definition, UX contains various contributing factors such as “users' emotions, beliefs, preferences, perceptions, physical and psychological responses, behaviors and accomplishments that occur before, during and after use [of a product, system or service]” [ISO]. Overall, we need to keep in mind that we cannot design UX but only design for UX, because people appropriate technology individually, as McCarthy and Wright [28] point out.

3.1 Study Objects and Set Up In cooperation with an industrial partner, four of their produced 3D movies, namely “skiing” (3 minutes), “base jumping” (3 minutes), “breakdance” (2.30 minutes), and “body painting” (3 minutes), were used in our study. The movies were displayed randomly on two 3D screens (JVC 3D LCD Monitor/GD463D10E) over three days at our booth in the shopping mall. Each of the two screens was connected to a Sony PlayStation for a random playback of the movies. Children visiting the shopping mall could get involved in our study by using one of the 40 polarization 3D glasses available at the booth. Participating children could either stand or sit in front of the TV screens (see Figure 1).

As children are increasingly becoming primary users of software and technology, many efforts are undertaken to shape technology according to their abilities, interests and development needs [18]. Hence, a broad number of research methods on how to involve children in the design and development process have evolved [26][10]. Hereby, children act as users [24], testers [15], informants [33] as well as design partners [14]. Independent of the purpose of research and the methods used, attention has to be paid to adapt or design research methods considering children’s abilities and needs differ from those of adolescents (see e.g. [4]). Regarding research that focuses on the evaluation of interactive systems numerous tools and methods have been designed [19]. Two such examples are a questionnaire for the evaluation of communication technologies with children [40] and a tool to improve self-reporting by children in user-centered evaluations [31]. With respect to interactions with 3DTV, the majority of studies on 3D viewing experiences are conducted in controlled laboratory environments. A few exceptions can be found in mobile 3DTV research. In general, lab studies are perfectly suitable for evaluating perceptual qualities, however, when it comes to assessing the UX, the conclusions drawn from such studies only have limited use. In addition, to our best knowledge these studies are mainly limited to adult participants with respect to 3DTV. Thus, by going out into the field and collecting feedback from people in the wild, additional insights can be gathered and will contribute to the interpretation of children’s 3D viewing experiences.

Figure 1. Evaluation set up in the public context, namely a shopping mall, enabling watching the 3DTV movies while standing or sitting in front of the TV screens. The public study environment did not allow a controlled set up with exact time fixations. We estimate that the approximate viewing time for the 3D movies varied between 3 and 10 minutes.


3.2 Method Used

The study took place in a shopping mall as part of a bigger annual scientific university event in November 2010. The main research goal was to utilize the public setting to generate a substantial amount of data on children’s experiences.

A quick evaluation approach was essential within the shopping mall context. Therefore, a one-page, pre-structured questionnaire consisting of four parts was developed as a main means of collecting the children’s feedback. The questionnaire was based on existing research on viewing experiences with 3DTV (see [21]) and on positive experiences with this questionnaire method in a previous public study with children (focusing on interactive technology) [41]. The questionnaire (see Figure 2) was designed

Children visiting our booth were accompanied either by their parents or teachers. The children as well as their chaperons were orally informed about the procedure and the aim of our study including information about the potential effects of watching


to especially suit children aged between 8 and 14 years, being the most frequent user group of such a science event (based on our previous years’ experiences).

We decided not to use the pairs on separate scales but arranged the ten items freely on the questionnaire, as we wanted the questionnaire to be suitable for all children – especially for the youngest – and to reduce the bias of answers when narrowing down the attributes to bipolar pairs [1]. Furthermore, this open approach allowed us to investigate, which attributes children select for describing their experience, without pre-categorizing them in a positive or negative way.

Question one focussed on the children’s overall viewing experience. The second question aimed at further understanding this viewing experience, asking children to choose one or more of ten attributes to describe their physical and emotional state after watching 3DTV. The ten items were derived from the five subcomponents of the quality of users’ viewing experience identified by Jumisko-Pyykkö et al. [21]. Each subcomponent consists of a pair of items representing the positive and the negative aspect of the component: (1) ease of viewing (items: easy to watch / strong need to focus), (2) pleasantness of viewing (items: pleasant / unpleasant), (3) enhanced immersion (items: realistic / unrealistic), (4) comparison to existing technology (items: better than regular TV / like regular TV), and (5) visual discomfort (items: relaxing / exhausting).

The third question addressed the children’s willingness to watch 3DTV at home in order to acquire first impressions of their potential future interest on 3D technology beyond the cinema and public viewing context. Finally, we asked for some basic demographic data (gender and age). In addition to the questionnaire, open feedback cards were given to the children to collect further information on their positive and negative experiences. The cards prompted the children to freely write down their impressions after watching 3DTV.

Children’s Questionnaire Structure: 1.




Overall user experience on a 5-point smiley scale corresponding to the following answer categories: a. “do not like it at all”. b. “rather do not like it”, c. “neutral”, d. "rather like it", e. "like it very much" Viewing experience with 3DTV: a. 10 attributes from which the children could select the ones, which fit their viewing experience best (see [21]) Willingness of watching 3DTV at home with three answer categories: a. yes b. maybe c. no Age and gender Figure 2. Questionnaire consisting of Four Main Parts. Table 1. Distribution of Age Groups 6 to 10 years

11 to 14 years 15 to 18 years


Female N (% within age groups)

62 (43%)

157 (40%)

43 (55%)

262 (42%)

N (% within age groups)

84 (57%)

238 (60%)

35 (45%)

357 (58%)

Male Total










4. STUDY RESULTS Overall, 639 participants aged between 6 and 18 years filled in the questionnaire2. The mean age of the participants was 11.83 years (SD=2.48), with 58% male and 42% female participants. In order to look for differences between different stages of life, three age groups were defined (“6 to 10 years”, “11 to 14 years”, and “15 to 18 years”). See Table 1 for details.

4.1 Overall Experience The questionnaire revealed that the majority of participants (95%, N=625) liked 3DTV, while only 2% of the participants disliked it. We found a significant difference in the ratings of the youngest age group (6-10 years) and the oldest age group (15-18 years), with the youngest group having more positive ratings of the overall experience (M=4.70, SD=0.64) than the oldest group (M=4.49, SD=0.77); t(131)=2.03 p=0.045. With a mean of 4.64 (SD=0.67), the average rating of age group 2 (11 to 14 years) lies in between.

Figure 4. Ratings on the question “Would you like to watch 3DTV at home?” (N=621). A one-way ANOVA showed that the willingness to watch 3DTV at home had a significant effect on the ratings of the overall user experience, with a lower rated overall user experience for the children who were indecisive or not willing to have 3DTV at home; F(2, 604)=110.08, p

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