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U-Club City Guide
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U-Club City Guide

- Silicon Graphics/Nippon
   Telephone and Telegraph
- March 1995 - January 1996

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

The promise 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.

In the 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.

More on the Cinema U-Club City Guide design process
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