The Genvid team is delighted to welcome you to a new three-part mini-series of articles meant to be used as a baseline for design in the space enabling design for interactive viewership needs through a viewer types model.
When looking at designing viewer-interactive experiences as well as MILEs (Massive Interactive Live Events), unique considerations need to be brought in. A lot of game designers and developers will be aware of models such as Bartle’s taxonomy of player types or ones from organizations such as Quantic Foundry. An advantage of these models is that they usually account for distinct, non-overlapping personalities separate from engagement into the experience.
This first part will introduce the macro Viewer-Types. If you are used to game design expertise, thinking about viewers instead of players brings a more robust approach to designing around interactive streaming and MILEs. When looking at viewer-interactivity, considering models that are closer to viewer motivations is important as they will differ from player ones. We considered a number of reference papers for this approach, but selected terminology inspired by Segmenting sport spectators: Construction and preliminary validation of the Sporting Event Experience Search (SEES) scale from P. Bouchet, G. Bodet, L. Bernache-Assollant, F. Kada) in order to have a common base.
Ideally, we should be seeking models for participant motivations since viewer-interactivity and MILEs are distinct from pure viewing entertainment. However, time to observe, analyze and build these differences is needed; in the meantime, we want to share more discussion around Viewer-Types to improve designs in the space immediately. The eventual goal is to create unique participant language and terminology, as best practices in the space evolve and more experience is gained exploring MILEs and interactive broadcast experiences.
Before starting design for your experiences, it’s important to consider a lot of factors when it comes to spectators. While Viewer-Types are likely the most critical one, considering the spectrum of interactivity and the levels of commitment to the experience also matters when doing user needs-assessment tables. The second article will look at these additional factors, with our final article having example personas and tables to draw inspiration from.
The Four Viewer-Types
An opportunist viewer tends to be neutral, usually expressing public support when encouraged by collective movement. Their participation is linked to the hope of receiving rewards or making connections with others. They are attached to the prestige of spectacles because of their ability to enable social interaction. They are the most likely personalities to take part in activities for the sake of rewards (extrinsic / intrinsic).
One of the pitfalls to avoid is that an opportunist is not just about seeking rewards but more that they attend to get something else out of the experience. Examples can be a conference attendee that seeks to connect with others rather than focusing on the material presented or someone at a dinner theater that is more interested to join others at their table instead of watching the show too closely.
Motivational Statement – I want to get something out of this.
An aesthete viewer cares deeply about the quality and production values of the event itself – the highlights, the drama and its theatrics. They are usually less interested in social interactivity, except if expectations are in place to encourage it (for example, clapping at the end of a performance). This user is most motivated by the experience for the experience itself.
In a fundamental sense, this is one of the easier spectator types to comprehend – they care about the content on display, about immersion, about the quality of what they are about to watch. When considering these users, interactivity needs to be additive and non-disruptive towards the experience – they may otherwise not stick around.
Motivational Statement – I want to see a spectacle.
A supporter’s behavior can be resumed by their siding with certain actors. They want to feel as if they are co-producers and usually show strong energy and presence. They care about others that want similar outcomes and are most likely to go above and beyond for certain results.
This viewer-type is also usually easy to grasp – they choose a team, are fans of specific characters, want something precise to happen. It’s not just about picking a side though – it’s the ability to show their support for that side that matters. While they will appreciate the ability to change outcomes, they can be just as happy with association and not need much interactivity in the process.
Motivational Statement – I want a specific outcome.
A co-active viewer derives entertainment and emotion from self-projection into the event and their interaction with others. Socially, they care about involvement and connections. They are the most likely viewer to enjoy interacting with the experience for the sake of that interaction.
Generally, these viewers are driven by crowds, the energy that derives from them and will love elements like Mexican Waves in stadiums. They will also enjoy elements that bring everyone together – for example, solving a collective puzzle (they may not even get directly involved to have their needs fulfilled and just enjoy the fact that others are together).
As a note – in the original reference paper, this group is labeled as “Interactive”. We changed this to avoid confusion with the term interactivity often used around interactive streaming.
Motivational Statement – I want to live this experience.
While these Viewer-Types can be slightly altered, please make sure to keep them distinct and non-overlapping to aid your designs. You don’t even necessarily need to appeal to each type if you have a very specific experience you are aiming to create – however, considering this in advance will avoid issues and make sure the experience you are making appeals to the people who would care about it.
A large advantage of designing with viewers in mind, rather than players, is to better consider users that may interact very little, if at all, during an interactive broadcast. People choose to watch rather than play for a reason – while we do believe that offering interactive options is a net benefit to viewers and that having participants leads to stronger experiences, there needs to be the option to watch in your preferred fashion.
The next article will consider the Spectrum of Interactivity and Level of Commitment principles that, when combined with the above Viewer-Types, will help level up your designs for viewer interactivity.
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