The Digital Terrestrial Television Decoder Box User Interface

In 2011 I was tasked with designing the user interface for the DTT boxes for the South African region. As a new challenge for me, I dived into research to look into standards that had been defined around the world along with best practices. From a technical point of view, it was a little more difficult as the boxes were still being designed and the specifications were changing all the time. It was a long 6 month project, mainly cause all work I did needed to be sent to all the other broadcasters and government and feedback.

Unfortunately the DTT change over in South Africa has been heavily delayed, mostly by the broadcasters and government all not able to agree on standards and policies. It all got rather nasty, and has ended up in the courts many times. As a result, I am not sure my designs will be implemented.

I thoroughly enjoyed the projecthowever, as it exposed me to a new form of design in viewer navigation and UXUI. This is something I have continued with the Orad on-air graphics system. After spending many years creating work strictly for a linear viewing experience, interactive design is rather exciting. Below are the design documents from 2011.

The full screen EPG

I really liked the idea of the menu system being as inconspicuous as possible with the content and channels catching the eye. Hence I desaturated the entire menu system.

The in-program menu

You will notice that the menu is 4:3 safe. In South Africa the majority of television viewers are still on 4:3 SD tube televisions. I am sure we would of ended up having a setting to allow 16:9 and 4:3 interfaces.

The now-next menu

There was a possibility of having advertising here. I really did not agree with this idea, but commercial imperatives often over rule design.

The extra bits

This was for all the little bits like volume sliders, reminders, pins etc.