Working on a health education DVD project, armed with DVD Studio Pro, I set out to create possibly the worlds most user friendly DVD menu.
DVD menus are often built to be flashy and innovative. Unfortunately this is usually at the expense of usability. DVD menus are inherently unresponsive because each menu must be loaded as a video from the disc individually. Manufacturers disagree on which buttons to put on their remote controls and what to call them, and then there’s the possibility the DVD is being watched on a computer or games console. This all adds up to a usability nightmare.
With this in mind I set out to make the worlds most user friendly DVD menu. There was a reason – the DVD I was working on was for chronic pain sufferers. Users were likely to be elderly, have difficulty with movement, have arthritic fingers and might not be able to sit down for long.
I used techniques that I learned from my MSc in Human-Centred Computer Systems and built the menu using DVD Studio Pro. The menu was based loosely on the Apple iPhone and iTV interfaces. I made a few usability additions such as voice explanations of menus.
I knew I’d cracked it when my 74 year-old technophobic Dad found his way around. Now if only he could suss out text messaging.
The DVD is called Simply Pain and is available from Simply Health and Wellbeing, Chronic Pain Treatment DVD (2008) (also built by me) and amazon.com.