31 October 2009

Implementing digital TV in Italy: the other side of the digital revolution

Be the first to share

Decoder
Italy is in the process of switching to digital TV, and the implementation is pretty much a disaster, as far as I can tell from the reactions in the region where I live (Piedmont). Many of the problems are technological, but not all. A volunteer force of ‘angels’ is doing what it can:

Here is quick translation of an article from today’s Repubblica newspaper:

“TRENTO – You can take everything away from them, but not the television. Put yourself in the shoes of Mrs. Livia, 78 years old, who lives in the middle of the mountains of the splendid Trentino region, doesn’t come out of the house from November to April, and has her television on all day long. When she was no longer able to watch the TV programs, she picked up the phone and called the ‘decoder angels’. “Help, my television doesn’t work anymore”. She soon became one of 6,000 elderly in the Trentino region who received personal assistance in setting up a digital TV decoder at their home. These are people who cannot (or do not want to) count on the help of children or other family and are already getting into trouble with wiring or the new remote control, let alone the now required channel tuning, which they sometimes have to do several times due to the various repetitor stations in the Trentino valleys.

This is the other side of the digital revolution – the one that after Sardinia and the Aosta Valley has now reached Piedmont and Trentino Alto Adige, with a slew of problems, complaints, doubts, protests, and threats not to pay the television tax any longer. Even when everything is fine on a technical level, the work inside the homes is just starting. The elderly are the most vulnerable, as shown by a research done by the Department of Sociology of the University of Trento. The study is based on the work done by the ‘decoder angels’, young people who have been installing decoders for free at the homes of those over 75, on a program subsidised by the local government.

Anxiety, anger, impatience: that’s what you get when you take away the television of an elderly person who is used to have that voice always in the background. It is a trauma for them. And then there are the technical problems: unable to adjust themselves to the double remote control, some elderly get confused, use the tv remote control to change the decoder settings, and vice versa, and then complain because the channel doesn’t change or the volume doesn’t go up. Elderly men, who tend to be more proud than women, try to make do. But it is not easy to connect a television set from the 70’s (yes, the angels also found those) to a decoder from 2009. And that’s if the antenna on the roof is fine and there is a free electrical outlet behind the television.

Panic strikes when an interactive menu appears during channel surfing: better then to turn everything off. Probably those in charge of the switch to digital didn’t think of the fact that those in charge of the implementation would often be the immigrant caretakers of the Italian elderly, who are not always able to read manuals in Italian. “It’s easy to say ‘digital’, but the real challenge is to bring the digital into the real lives of people,” explains Pierfrancesco Fedrizzi, who is in charge of communication for the project. The sociologist Carlo Buzzi, who authored the study, is more critical: he speaks about a revolution that is misunderstood, at least by the elderly users: “They are only interested in watching their usual channels. They don’t know nor understand the digital world, let alone anything interactive. “

Be the first to share
23 May 2016
Experientia white paper: “Conducting clinical trials is about working with patients”
Patient-centricity is one of the defining issues facing clinical trials in the pharma industry. The past few years have seen a growing awareness by pharmaceutical companies of the importance of patient-centricity - but they have …
19 May 2016
Transition design as postindustrial interaction design
The School of Design at Carnegie Mellon University has started talking about 'Transition Design.' In his long reflection about this new kind of design practice, Cameron Tonkinwise, CMU's Director of Design and Doctoral Studies, writes: Transition refers …
8 May 2016
Two reports on age-friendly banking
Age-friendly banking: What it is and how you do it Age UK 30 April 2016 The new report showcases examples of good practice which, if rolled out more widely, could revolutionise the way in which the banks interact …
1 May 2016
Report: User Experience and Usability in Complex Systems
User Experience and Usability in Complex Systems Final Report 1/2015 FIMECC (Finnish Metals and Engineering Competence Cluster) November 2015, 225 pages Five years ago, some of Finland’s metals and engineering industry companies were looking for new ways to tackle …
30 April 2016
Security versus UX
Gwendolyn Betts explores how to reconcile one of the biggest challenges in interface design: security versus user experience. Betts writes that it is not uncommon for security measures to be tacked on at the end as …
25 April 2016
How city design is adapting to older populations
As cities experience a demographic shift, the need for age-friendly design is becoming ever more critical. From almshouses to driverless cars, the future of urban housing and mobility may just be shaped for and by …
21 April 2016
The product design of IoT
As more and more ‘Internet of Things’ products come into the market, most, if not all will come with significant challenges. The key to overcoming any obstacles, writes Joe Johnston, VP Experience Innovation for Universal …
8 April 2016
Markus Giesler on customer experience design
At Experientia, we live the mantra that experience design is always contextual experience design. Understanding and designing for people within a culture, a context and how people evolve and change within these, is at the …

We are an international experience design consultancy helping companies and organisations to innovate their products, services and processes by putting people and their experiences first.

23 May 2016
Experientia white paper: “Conducting clinical trials is about working with patients”

Patient-centricity is one of the defining issues facing clinical trials in the pharma industry. The past few years have seen a growing awareness by pharmaceutical companies of the importance of patient-centricity – but they have also illustrated that not everyone is clear on just what patient-centricity is, or how to achieve it. After using UX […]

12 April 2016
The latest on innovation in Energy Efficient Buildings: annual round-up of EU Commission projects

Every year, the Energy-efficient Buildings (EeB) Public Private Partnership (PPP) publishes the EeB PPP project review – a round-up of energy-efficiency projects that have been co-funded by two European Commission schemes. This year, the print and digital booklet design was done by Experientia, in particular by our talented visual and interaction designer Dohun Jang. Experientia […]

8 March 2016
Behavioral modeling – Shaping cultural change and behavioral evolution

One of the things we do here at Experientia that really sets us apart from other UX agencies is behavioral modeling. Our cognitive and behavioral models go beyond the standard customer journeys and personas (both useful tools, and often preliminary steps to behavioral modeling) to create frameworks that can be used to make people more […]

1 March 2016
Singapore’s main newspaper on Experientia’s design with the elderly

Arti Mulchand reports in the Straits Times, Singapore’s main newspaper, on Experientia’s “Design for Ageing Gracefully” project: Putting faces to end-users early in the design process is changing the way designers and organisations are approaching products aimed at Singapore’s growing elderly demographic. Experientia’s ethnographic study, which was commissioned by DesignSingapore Council in a collaboration with […]

18 January 2016
Experientia website completely reshaped

Experientia is pleased to announce that we’ve started 2016 with a brand new website. Experientia’s now officially 10 years old, and we decided that the best way to celebrate is by building a new website that showcases our growth – with new projects, new people in the staff, and two new locations in Lausanne and […]

1 January 2016
For when things get personal…
See all articles