CinemAll

Improving the In-Theater Movie Experience for the Visually Impaired

Overview


Problem Scope

Imagine listening to the iconic Rocky theme song but not associating it with Sylvester Stallone’s training montage. Audio and video work together to create an immersive cinematic experience. When one piece is missing, you risk degrading the integrity of the whole movie. Unfortunately, this is the reality for people with moderate to severe visual impairments.  

Process Overview

We conducted research by means of observation, interviews, walkthroughs and online resources to understand how the visually impaired watch movies and the pain points in the process of usage of Descriptive Video devices. We analyzed the gathered data using affinity mapping and created journey maps. This helped us understand the pain points across the process and gave us a direction in terms of our solution goals. We brainstormed numerous solutions and after creating a feasibility vs impact chart, narrowed down to 3 different design ideas and got feedback on those. Eventually we picked one of the ideas and after multiple iterations CinemAll came to life.
The CinemAll mobile application aims to replace bulky and obtrusive video description headsets for users with visual impairments. Instead of having to rent used theater equipment, users can now leverage their own devices and headsets to more closely replicate the standard movie-watching experience.





Project Duration

August 2017 – December 2017


Team Members

Ruturaj Eksambekar
Danielle S
Christa Peet
Yingxiao Ouyang

My Role

Everyone was equally involved from the research phase till we shortlisted our 3 design ideas. In the research phase, I conducted interviews and walkthroughs at movie theaters. I created sketches and low fidelity wireframes in balsamiq for two of the ideas, of which one became our final solution. I iterated on the low-fi wireframe based on the feedback and later Danielle and I created the high fidelity wireframe in Sketch. I was responsible for creating the hi-fi prototype in JustinMind and conducted user tests during the evaluation phase of the project.

Tools

Balsamiq Mockups
Sketch
JustinMind
Adobe Illustrator
Adobe Photoshop
UX Research Methods

Problem Statement

Improving the in-theater movie experience for visually impaired* moviegoers who currently need theater-provided descriptive video (DV) devices to enjoy a movie.


*For the purpose of this project we will refer to the visually impaired as those users who have moderate to severe visual impairment (Snellen visual acuity: 20/70 to 20/400 range), possibly extending to profoundly visually impaired users that fall into the 20/500 - 20/1000 range. More precisely, this user group will be defined as moviegoers or potential moviegoers who prefer to use a DV device when visiting a movie theater.

Research


We conducted observations, semi-structured interviews, field visits and also conducted walkthroughs of the movie watching process to understand the problem space. All four of the team members visited different movie theaters, two of us watched a movie using a Descriptive Video (DV) device and the other two talked to the manager and theater associates to gain insights from them on the process. We also dived into the online blind community by visiting government websites, existing solutions and user reviews of them, and online message boards.


Synthesis


Journey Mapping

We created Journey Maps to describe the process current users go through while using a DV device in theaters. Our goal was to see if we could identify any additional pain points and visualize which parts of the process the users had the most trouble with.


Affinity Mapping

We conducted an affinity mapping session to create a visual representation of the problem space and to see the emerging patterns from all the data we had collected.



Key Insights




I want to be better prepared before I go to the movie theater



I wish it was easier to acquire the appropriate DV devices in theater



I wish there was a way to manage situations when the device malfunctions in the middle of the movie




I wish I could have more control over the overall process and not constantly rely on kindness of a person

Design


Informed Brainstorming & Idea shortlisting





Feasibility V/S User Impact Chart



#1
Smart Kiosk



#2
In-theater Service App



#3
In-theater Audio Streaming App

Design Idea #1 : Smart Kiosk

This solution aimed to cut out interaction with theater associates, who are often times under-trained and cause unnecessary frustrations for visually impaired moviegoers. Additionally, we envisioned the kiosks to be a universal solution and a one-stop shop for all moviegoers to purchase or pickup tickets and retrieve assistive devices. While we are focused on the visually impaired, this solution could also have a broader adaptation for those who need different types of assistance, such as hearing devices.


Design Idea #2 : In-theater Service App (leveraging existing devices)

This solution aimed to be low cost, as theaters won’t have to replace their devices. Here, instead we will pair users with devices before they arrive at the theater, therefore alleviating frustrations of interacting with under-trained staff.

Design Idea #3 : In-theater Audio Streaming App

This solution aimed to cut down on the learning curve by using the device users already have with them, their smartphone. Users won’t need to lug around additional clunky devices. This solution will also cut out the need to interact with theater associates who often provide incorrectly configured devices for the users.

Final Design

After getting feedback from experts at GT AMAC-Accessibility Solutions and Research Center, Center for the Visually Impaired (CVI)-Atlanta and our peers and instructor we decided to move ahead with Design Idea #3: In-theater Audio Streaming App and also include some features of the Service App.


Final Screens






User Flow Diagram

Storyboards


Before


After

Evaluation


We used a combination of expert and user testing in order to test the performance of our application design. Within these categories we used techniques including cognitive walkthroughs, unstructured interviews, benchmark tasks, the SUS Scale, and a post-task questionnaire in order to get different types of feedback by means of both quantitative and qualitative measures.


Reflections


  • When we embarked on this project, we were all excited to design for a population we were unfamiliar with. We saw it as a challenge and knew we had to rigorously follow the design process in order to make sure we kept the best interests of these users in mind. However, designing for this population proved to be a challenge on multiple occasions.
  • Design proved difficult and tedious because we had to be meticulous along every step of the way that our system met accessibility standards for various types of visual impairments. Also, it was hard to find prototyping tools that would support all of the functionality that we wanted to have (animations, screen reader, video, etc.).
  • Evaluations were difficult because it is a hard population to get ahold of. We only had a limited amount of access and we were trying to make sure not to exhaust our resources too early. In some cases, our resources were very willing to help, but could not meet our needs in terms of meeting time deadlines. This class moves through the design process fairly quickly, so we had to keep moving and improvise at times.

Poster Presentation