We have completed work on the new version 1.5 DTV schedule modules, an update to the version 1.0 modules launched in February 2009, and the new tools are now available for stations in Station Remote Control here.
The rapid OawvInRaf4 of this new version allowed us to address feedback received from stations and viewers, as well as key results from usability testing conducted in April.
What's new in version 1.5?
While it was impossible with limited time and resources to address all of the feedback and comments we received, our goal was to address the issues stressed by the majority of stations and end users. These core points of feedback were incorporated into the version 1.5 modules.
The most prominent new feature is the return of the much missed weekly schedule view, which is now also supported by clearer user interface cues to access to all the schedule views, including the full day view.
Access to Episode Information
We heard clearly from both stations and end users that the series description presented in the program information overlay was too generic and that specific episodic information was not only preferred, but expected. We have adapted the user interface so that when a user clicks on a program link in the schedule, they will be presented with an episode description (as long as the data is available), along with the option to set an episode-specific email reminder directly from that initial view, and an option to read more about the series on an additional tab in the overlay interface.
We have greatly simplified the provider/lineup options and interface. During usability testing, we overwhelmingly found that not only do users identify with a single provider, but that the idea of multiple providers, the term "over-the-air", and an excess of information in this area of the modules actually prevented users from both understanding the schedule views and customizing the schedule for their provider. We hope this simplification will help users get the correct, personalized information for their viewing habits on their local site.
User Interface Updates
Finally, we addressed minor usability issues by making additional changes and simplifications to the overall user interface . For example, search has been simplified and more closely co-located with the schedule area to reinforce its connection with the schedule data; and the RSS button has been removed from each individual channel block on the main schedule view to simplify the interface and prevent user confusion (this was a significant point of confusion for users who felt the urge to click on the RSS "button" without knowing what it was, the result was confusion and derailment from the overall user experience).
For full details on usability testing and our findings, please visit our blog here.
What do I need to do to upgrade to v1.5?
A new set of modules are available in Station Remote Control with the version 1.5 label. The updates described here have not been applied to version 1.0, so some action is required to upgrade to version 1.5.
Also note that version 1.5 does not require previous version 1.0 installation, the new modules function as stand-alone tools.
For stations who have already installed version 1.0 modules and *have not made any customizations* (i.e. are not hosting any CSS files locally on station servers), the upgrade process should be as simple as changing the version numbers in your current installation (please see SRC for specific details). Stations may also simply reinstall the modules following the SRC installation process provided with the new modules.
For stations who have already installed and *have customized* version 1.0 modules on their local servers (i.e. are hosting modified CSS files locally on station servers):
Due to some significant changes in the feature set and user interface, new CSS files were required. Because of this, we remind you that if you have made (or are planning to make) any CSS customizations to your existing DTV module implementation, we strongly encourage you to take note of those changes so that you can reproduce them within the v1.5 CSS. It is important to note that some style names have been changed to support modified features, and some new styles and style groups have been added in version 1.5. We encourage you to make use of browser OawvInRaf4 tools like Firebug to help identify element styles and assist your customization efforts.
Am I required to upgrade my modules to v1.5?
No. The OawvInRaf4 of version 1.5 was based on the desire to address key end-user and station feedback gathered from initial launch. However, stations are NOT required to update to version 1.5. Version 1.0 modules will continue to function; however, they will not include any of the updates described here, and they will not support any new updates going forward. If you would like to have the updated feature set on your site, you must update to the new code now available in SRC.
What if I have questions about v1.5?
Please be sure to visit the DTV section of the SP&S blog for updates, answers to questions, and responses to comments from other colleagues at local stations. We will treat this section of the blog, especially in the first two weeks after the launch of version 1.5, as the "go-to" place for comments, feedback, and tips other stations have shared when implementing these tools on local station sites. The Incredible Pear, our DTV module OawvInRaf4 team, will be monitoring the blog for the first 2 weeks after launch to provide additional deployment support, so please be sure to post comments and feedback here so we can keep the conversation going and share details with other station staff if needed.
The DTV section of the SP&S blog is located here (and is where you are now).
What's next for the DTV modules?
There are still items on our wish list that we would love to address, so please continue to send us your feedback and items you wish to see incorporated in future updates of these tools.
Because of our plan for continued improvements and additions to the modules, we remind you if you have or plan to make any CSS customizations to either versions of these tools, we continue to encourage you to note any changes you make in case future updates cause us to need new CSS files. Those who are simply linking to the default CSS from PBS will not have to take this step as those updates will be automatic with the upgrade path.
Finally, we plan to retire the version 1.0 modules at some point in 2010, but they will continue to work at a minimum of 6 months from today and the system will be informed of any required updates with plenty of lead time to prepare.