December 7, 2022

Spectrum of Interactivity & Levels of Commitment

In the previous article, we considered four distinct viewer-types to aid design around viewer-first experiences. One of the highlights was the importance of combining this with the Spectrum of Interactivity and Level of Commitment principles, which we will explore in this article.

Spectrum of Interactivity

One of the biggest edges Genvid’s technology and MILEs have is the ability to break the usual Play / Watch binary by creating a Spectrum of Interactivity that allows each user to live the experience they want, in the way they wish. Creating a compelling experience for each user at their chosen level is of paramount importance.

Importantly: The quality of the experience does not improve with the Intensity of Participation,
nor the amount of time spent on it.

A spectrum is chosen as the model because of how granular interactivity can be. In practice, naming three points on the spectrum helps communication around the topic and is sufficient for starting purposes – the goal being first and foremost to grasp the concept and aiming for precision over time as knowledge increases.

In this article, we will look at three distinct interactivity points to aid with designing: Sit Back, Sit Up, Sit Forward (light/medium/heavy; you can see these as a parallel to Levels of Cognitive Engagement). Interestingly, while Viewer-Types tend to be set, users can shift across the Spectrum of Interactivity during the experience (even in a single sitting). A user won’t interact the same way if they are watching on their phone while cooking compared to at a desktop fully focused on the experience.

A spectrum of interactivity graph, that goes from low intensity to high intensity, labeling the low intensity extreme "sit back," the center of the spectrum is labeled "sit up," and the high intensity extreme  is labeled "sit forward."

Sit Back

A Sit Back interactive viewer tends to be the most similar interaction wise to a normal viewer – they interact very little, if at all. While they may be attentive to the action, just as often this will include viewers that watch the experience on the side and are distracted. A reasonable parallel is a VOD viewer – they will click for the purposes of choosing or improving their viewer experience, but rarely will directly interact with the experience itself even if the option is there.

Mental image – a heartbeat activity meter that has a blip every couple of minutes. 

Sit Up

A Sit Up interactive viewer is someone we see around the middle point and usually will interact on important moments – tailoring their viewer experience as above, but also doing daily engagements (such as bonuses or bids within MILEs), engaging from time to time with activities. In a more typical streaming setting, they would drop emotes during hype moments; in interactivity terms, they would likely click if they see other viewers doing so.

Mental image – a heartbeat activity meter that has a blip every minute.

Sit Forward

A Sit Forward interactive viewer is typically at the top end of the spectrum, will click around frequently, try the different interactive features and partake in activities and mini games. This isn’t quite the same as a game player (as the action is not reliant on their participation) but at extremes might look similar. Distinctively, they will interact during lower energy moments.
While a lot of designs that people new to interactive streaming think of tend to caretake for these viewers predominantly, they are usually a smaller (if vocal) portion of a viewing audience that have a disproportionately large impact. These viewers are often the ones that would interact in live chats.

Mental image – a heartbeat activity meter that has many blips a minute.

Levels of Commitment

Users commit differently when taking part in viewer-interactive experiences, separately from their motivations or their interactivity. It’s important to think about how to service different levels of commitment within the experience, to make sure that someone that logs in a few minutes once in a while has their needs satisfied while a user staying for far longer than expected still has elements that can be discovered or appreciated.

A user’s commitment can vary over time, as their engagement with the experience and their personal lives will evolve. As the levels are shiftable over time, user journeys may take multiple paths. We wanted to keep this measure to around four distinct levels of commitment to aid discussion.

Currently, we wanted to look at dividing this into four levels of commitment:

A graph that shows four levels of user commitment; Occasional, Surfer, Engaged and Core.

The lower level is Occasional, with lower frequency and shorter session length, and the higher level is Core, with higher frequency and session length.


This viewer will log on now and then, often without a set cadence. Usually, they are reactivated by reminders such as big moments or a prompt (friend / ad).

Measure – No set login pattern, except during high attendance moments.


This viewer has their own cadence (daily, bi-daily, weekly, other). They regularly drop by for something they want to check or receive (eg. story recaps, daily login bonuses, important story beats) and then log off.

Measure – Regular logins on a pattern, but short session duration.


At this level, a user will login daily and check the content on offer for that day – what their activity level looks like depends on the specific experience.

Measure – Regular login frequency and duration of stay


These viewers will log in and stick in far more frequently than Engaged, potentially showing unusually high participation patterns in the process. These users are labeled as “Core” due to their intense frequency of presence (ie. they are regulars); an alternative term would be Power Users.

Measure – Activity levels in the experience at least twice as high as an engaged user (eg. can be multiple logins per day; stick longer).

Keep in mind with the above that this depends on the way the experience is distributed. The examples given are for MILEs that live on their own, but interactive broadcasts elsewhere may exhibit longer or shorter sessions depending on the habits they encourage (for example, Twitch is notorious for having a very long daily session length per unique viewer).

Now that we’ve explored Viewer-Types, the Spectrum of Interactivity and Levels of Commitment, we have the required primary tools to start doing needs-based design for viewers in interactive experiences. The next and final article in this mini-series will look at personas, as well as provide a few examples of needs-based tables that can be used to aid design in the space.

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