Retying the cord…Part 1

My husband, lover of all things related to technology and saving money, pushed us to “cut the cord” from cable 5 years ago.  I, a lover of TV and my DVR, was very skeptical. Tired of mediocre shows on cable TV, we plunged forward into the world of Netflix, Hulu, iTunes & Amazon brought to our TV at first by a laptop and more recently a Roku, Wii and Chromecast.  I fought it the whole way, it was too complicated, took too long and felt very foreign to me. Slowly over the past couple years, the technology has gotten better, they’ve address *some* of the UX issues and I adjusted my expectations.

Recently on a family vacation we were exposed again to “normal” cable. There were a couple of things I realized:
Neither of my children (6 & 3) have any concept of commercials. As soon as one interrupted their show, they both looked at me and said, “put the show back on!” It was an interesting glimpse into the mentality of this “screen” generation. They can get what they want when they want it. Gone are the days of waiting until Wednesday night at 8:30 for the Cosby show to come on. What I really miss: the comfort and ease of turning on the TV and flipping through channels to find a show. I miss it so much that when I got home, I decided to call AT&T and signed up for a year of their U-verse service.

As a UX professional, I constantly critique every experience I come across and frequently say things like, “You know what’s really wrong with this experience…” As I retie the cord to cable, I wonder how all these streaming providers are going to evolve over the next 5 years to meet consumer demand.

In our research at User Insight we’ve seen certain interruptors that dramatically change user behavior and needs (smart phones). The ability to stream content, access whenever and wherever is another major change that is still evolving today.

I’ve moderated many user sessions and focus groups where people complain about being forced into services because they aren’t able to find an alternative. Over the past couple of years there are more alternatives popping up. Nobody has nailed it yet but users have a stronger voice than ever. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. If companies (big and small) don’t listen to their Users and adapt their services, interfaces and support to fit demand, they will fail. As a consumer, I let my money do the talking, if a service doesn’t provide what I need, I’ll keep searching to find one that does.

We’ve re-connected the cord…for now. Next week, I’ll review streaming services and players as I determine what to keep and what to cut now that we are back on cable.