As I mentioned in my inaugural “College Papers” post, I wrote several super-nerdy tech papers for Human-Computer Interaction in my first semester, and I’ve decided to include them in this series. The first assignment involved choosing a product, observing users’ interaction with that product, and noting any problems that arise during use. I chose Apple TV’s desktop app for Mac.
It’s a brisk read, but, once again, super nerdy. You’ve been warned.
School: University of Southern Mississippi
Course: ITC 361 Human-Computer Interaction
Instructor: Professor Gudla
Date: February 1, 2021
Using Apple TV Desktop App Version 188.8.131.52 for Mac OS
Product description and user interaction:
Apple TV desktop app is the native app which individuals can use to stream, purchase, and download videos on a Mac. The app also allows users to add and view local videos files (downloaded purchases, DVR content, home movies, etc.) to the TV library, a feature previously handled by the discontinued iTunes desktop app.
Regular use reveals two major problems for users with a large local library. First, unlike Apple TV’s counterpart app (Apple Music desktop), Apple TV’s search feature does not allow for local library searching, instead, pulling only from the Apple TV store when users click the search bar. This forces users to either scroll through the library, genres, categories, or playlists to locate a particular video whether local or in cloud.
Second, there also appears to be a major bug in loading the video library. If the app is closed while open to the TV Shows library category, the next time the app is launched, the library takes an inordinate amount of time (sometimes upwards of an hour) to load, and the app is locked until the TV Shows category loads.
Results and cues:
These inconveniences sometimes lead to users abandoning the app, opting instead to play local files via QuickTime, load physical media, or stream content via web browser. Cues left from previous users indicative of utility issues include browser windows left open to streaming services, DVD/Blu-ray cases lying on computer desk, and a locked TV app still attempting to load the library.
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