DTV Schedules Update v1.5

We are deep into production for v1.5 of the DTV schedule modules.
We have been able to incorporate feedback from stations, viewers, and the results from usability testing conducted in April.  
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User Testing
To help us determine our priorities for v1.5, we contracted a third-party company, Consumer Insights Group (CIG), to conduct usability testing on specific components of the recently launched PBS DTV Schedules modules.  The goal of the testing was to gain an understanding of typical PBS viewers and web users. We wanted to observe users' interactions with the TV schedule tools and test the users' ability to navigate all the features of the modules. 

Our findings

The core feature set of the new TV Schedules modules provides users with a highly usable interface appropriate to their fundamental tasks.  Anyone reading this is, without a doubt, aware of a few usability obstacles.  

The first obstacle in the major usability obstacles category was the provider /lineup area.  The verbiage of "over-the-air" and the excess of information in the provider/lineup area prevented users from customizing the schedule for their provider.

The second impediment for users was finding episode-specific program information.  Participants expected episode information for all programs and were disappointed when it was not provided.

Third, the majority of participants failed to locate the full day schedule view. This did not create confusion.  The participants, however, indicated they would like to see another way to view more than a 2-hour block of programming.

Another issue that surfaced was that participants expected confirmation of changes or actions they took.  For example, if participants changed their preferences, there was no indication that it had taken effect.  This caused users to close the pane to check on the status of their changes.

Finally, almost all participants were drawn to, like moths to a flame, the RSS button.  Users admitted they did not know what it was, but were compelled to click on it. The result was confusion and derailment from the overall user experience.  

Where are we going from here?
Unfortunately, it will not be possible to address all the concerns from user testing in our upcoming v1.5 launch.  What we identified as priorities for the v1.5, based on this round of user testing, are as follows:
•    Reduce confusion around the lineup and provider area.  
•    Provide clear confirmation that the user has taken action or made changes.
•    Reduce confusing options from the search navigator, move it closer to the schedule grid.
•    Provide clear links to additional schedule views.
•    Remove RSS icons from the main grid view.
•    Provide episode-specific information in as few clicks as possible.
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•    Provide a visible link to additional broadcast times.
•    Reduce confusion surrounding "Favorites."  

For those of you scrolling through wildly searching specifically for phrases relating to anything "full week," we are currently working on the full week feature to address the #1 concern we received from stations, and the "super users" that regularly use your sites.  We are looking at external testing with stations around the week of July 20th.  Once beta testing with stations is completed, we will make the necessary fixes.  We anticipate v1.5 to be ready to go live on station sites in the first part of August.  
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This timeline is subject to change, but we will continue to update you on the progress of version 1.5 of the DTV schedule modules.  If you would like to read the complete summary and observations of the user testing, please send us a note at and we will send it your way.

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