Improving the Online Video Chat Experience
With the recent proliferation of netbooks and tablets with webcams transforming oneself virtually is easier than ever before. However, the software used for such devices like video chat programs and online role playing do little to enhance the connectedness of the users involved. In this paper, we present Touch Live Connect (TLC), a product concept for an enhanced video chat experience that is aimed towards improving the online shared experience. TLC enhances the online experience by enabling people to do activities together in video mode. Users watch online videos together, transform to different backgrounds and also perform multi-way chat. TLC can also detect user motions and appropriately enhance the environment of the chat. This helps people emulate the face to face experience beyond just chatting and makes them feel connected. We developed three prototypes of the product concept and tested them on sets of users, and conclude that (1) Users feel more connected by sharing experiences rather than just seeing visual representation of self, (2)Amplification of human gestures over video is an important feature to improve video communication and (3) Users find a handheld tablet as most useful device for video communication and television as least useful.
KeywordsOnline collaboration sharing virtual relationships video chat
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