Prior to the advent of the World-Web Web, the Internet was viewed simply as a system for research collaboration. It was definitely not an entertainment medium for consumers. Interactive TV was the dream of many organizations, especially telephone companies, as a way to put to use what was then a new and revolutionary DSL technology. The Bell Atlantic Stargazer ITV/VOD market trial went live in May of 1995. It was first video-on-demand service designed for commercial deployment. Many of the user experience (UX), usability and ergonomics (relating the the set-top boxes and remote controls) principles discovered are now expected basic features of contemporary digital cable. This is particularly true of the the interactive programming guides that digital cable and satellite TV users have become accustomed to.
Dr. Don Rickert led all consumer research related to ITV and remote control devices (ethnography and other field studies, focus groups, surveys, usability testing)—Defined the total customer experience for Bell Atlantic’s Stargazer Interactive Television service, including—
Packaging and the consumer “out-of-the-box” experience
User interface design
Design, evaluation and manufacture of remote control devices
Training procedures for cable installers and Customer Support
Collateral materials (e.g. “quick guides”) for consumers