Animated Character Likeability Revisited: The Case of Interactive TV


Animated characters have been a popular research theme,
but the respective desktop applications have not been well-received by
end-users. The objective of this study was to evaluate the use of an animated
character for presenting information and navigating music videos within
an interactive television (ITV) application. Information was displayed
over music video clips with two alternative user interfaces: 1) semi-transparent
information overlays, 2) an animated character. For this purpose, the differences
between ITV and desktop computing motivated the adaptation of the traditional
usability evaluation techniques. The evaluation revealed that users reported
higher affective quality with the animated character user interface. Although
the success of animated characters in desktop productivity applications
has been limited, there is growing evidence that animated characters might
be viable in a domestic environment for leisure activities, such as interactive

Practitioner’s Take Away

The following points summarize the contribution of this research with
regard to animated characters, programming toolkit, and interactive
TV applications:

  • Animated characters might be appropriate for ITV entertainment
  • Animated characters have a carry-over user attitude
    effect from the desktop to the ITV environment.
  • The Microsoft Agent
    user interface programming toolkit provides a flexible and easy to
    use platform for research.
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