The U-Club City Guide was an interactive television (ITV) application that enabled
residents of Urayasu City, Japan to find information on local events. U-Club was built as part of a
larger ITV trial called Zoetrope, which was launched in Urayasu City with great
fanfare in January 1996.
Click to see U-Club City Guide screen shots
Interaction Design: Susan (Kropf) Gorbet
Art Direction: Lisa Waltuch
of the U-Club application was "Information-on-Demand." Residents of this small
suburb of Tokyo would be able get information easily through their televisions.
Note that this was at the apex of the ITV hype, before the internet
had achieved its current ubiquity.
The center of the application was the Who/What/When/Where screen, which showed users
what types of events they had asked to see. Users were actually creating
a fairly sophisticated database query, but they never needed to understand that.
The clear representation of the choices made the interaction simple and fun.
usability tests in Tokyo, Japanese users were able to easily set up questions like
"Find the health events for kids next week" with just the arrow keys and select button
available on the Zoetrope remote control.
The U-Club designs were quite visually rich, but all selectable items on each
screen are small and round. They are also arranged in vertical and horizontal lines with
respect to each other. This clarifies the result of the user pressing an arrow key
on the remote control — it is clear what will happen before, during, and after the key is pressed.