SDVoE LIVE! on demand
Season 2, Episode 5 – AV UX: Getting the Details Right
AV technology has come a long way since the slide projector, but with today’s advanced capabilities comes a high level of operational complexity. Are we AV professionals and product manufacturers doing the very best job possible to help the end user manage this complexity? Are we sure that our technology is helping end users to work more efficiently? How can we measure this, anyway? And what are the design choices we should be focusing on to help answer these questions positively? Our guest Raviv Kramer (yes, THAT Kramer) brings 20 years of product design experience to help us dive deeply into these questions, and, we hope, to offer viewers a framework in which to evaluate and maximize their contribution to great user experiences. (Hint: sweat the small stuff!)
Raviv is a passionate technology enthusiast with more than 25 years of experience in the IT and AV industries, and the CTO of MuxLab.
Justin Kennington: 00:08
Jingle bells, Batman smells Robin. Oh, hi, everybody. Welcome to a very special end of 2021 holiday, winter solstice, Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanza. I already said winter solstice edition of SDVoE Live. I hope that you’ve been enjoying some time off from work, some time with your family, with your loved ones. I hope that however you celebrate, the season has been wonderful for you. I also hope that you’re going to watch this show till the end, and don’t forget to join us for the after show, because we have a guest today with some very interesting perspectives he wants to share with you. And I want him to share with you, and I want to hear your questions and he wants to hear your questions. So bring them in. Anyway. Did I say it yet? Welcome to SDVoE Live. I’m your host, Justin Kennington and this, even this little tree right here, is TV for proAV.
Today we’re talking AV UX, audio visual user experience, Getting the Details Right, with our guest Raviv Kramer. And you’re never going to guess where he works. I know what you’re guessing. It’s not it. I told you about the after show. So I hope that you’ll join us. It’s going to be great. Raviv, are you ready for your interview in a few minutes here? Perfect. We’re going to see you then.
I want to thank everybody for joining us, for making this such a special Season Two. And we’re going to give you a very special gift on the show today so stay tuned to the aftershowand we’re going to find out what that special gift is. Meanwhile, if you want to get questions to me, to my co-host, Matt Dodd, or to our guest, Raviv Kramer, send them in via email to email@example.com. Of course, you can reach out on social media. You can find us on LinkedIn, where we are broadcasting live for the very first time. Hi LinkedIn viewers. You could find us on rAVe’s LAVNCH platform, where we’re at broadcasting for the very fifth time. Hi, LAVNCH viewers. And of course you can find us inside the SDVoE Academy where we’re broadcasting live for the 21st time. I have to keep track of those stats in my head.
Also, if you want to get us questions, if you’re on LAVNCH, if you’re on SDVoE Academy, there’s a chat box right down there. You can talk to each other, have a little fun, wish each other some well wishes for the holiday season or you can get questions to us. Our team of moderators are working hard with Matt in the hotline central to make sure your questions make their way to this stage. Without further ado. Let me throw it to a fact check and see you on the other side.
Here we are at the desk. Here we are with the hotline central. Matt, come on in here. Let’s say hi to Matt, everybody. Hi, Matt.
Matt Dodd: 03:17
Hi. How are you? Happy Christmas.
Justin Kennington: 03:20
There he is. Good. Happy Christmas, Happy New Year. And congratulations by the way. That was the longest fact check in the history of SDVoE Live. You’ve seen it here live folks. Thank you for being here with us. I hope you enjoyed that. Matt, how are things in the hotline central? Are they jumping?
Matt Dodd: 03:36
All over the place? We’ve got a team of moderators here, everybody, ready to take your questions? Ready to take your comments. It’s all about the details today. It’s where the devil lives apparently, all about the details. So get your questions and comments in for Justin and Raviv here live. I’ve got a groovy new little tablet and it all pops in here as if by magic. What you’ve got to do is get your comments and questions in. So you’ll see a little comments box, a chat box with a link down here, somewhere on the page. And also you can get your questions in. If you’re watching outside of the Academy. Why aren’t you watching it in Academy? Anyway, even if you are firstname.lastname@example.org or say those of you in Academy can use the chat window. Give us your feedback on the show too. It’s really important that you do that so that we can keep this show going exactly as you want it to be.
And Justin we’ve already had somebody to write in, Miller [Wordsby 00:04:26] from the split tree area in Arizona. He asks, “Good UI design, user interface design is important, but can it ever replace user training? How do you find the right balance?” Great question. What do you think?
Justin Kennington: 04:46
Matt Dodd: 04:46
Super. Alrighty. Unfortunately, we’ve lost audio on Justin, but you’ve got me. I’ll chat away to you here for a little while. It’s Christmas and things go wrong. So don’t forget.
Justin Kennington: 04:59
Look, I was busy writing it down. I’m sorry. My microphone is fine. Everything is fine. I was just taking notes on the question so that I can ask Raviv.
Matt Dodd: 05:06
Right. Okay. I’m going to get out of here. Why don’t I come and join you down there in the studio? How about that? Because we’ve got the talk about-
Justin Kennington: 05:13
I wish you would.
Matt Dodd: 05:14
Justin Kennington: 05:15
Let’s do it. Oh, come on in here. Come on in. Welcome to the holiday studio.
Matt Dodd: 05:46
Nice tree. Great tree. Great, great tinsel. Lovely job you’ve done there. Great job. Don’t you think guys?
Justin Kennington: 05:52
Thank you. Thank you. I think it’s fine, Matt. I hate this microphone pack. This thing has a stupid clip on it and when it touches my chair, the clip pops off and the thing falls.
Matt Dodd: 06:01
Oh, really? Are you blaming your tool, sir?
Justin Kennington: 06:03
Matt Dodd: 06:03
Shall we do some news?
Justin Kennington: 06:08
Let’s do it.
Matt Dodd: 06:10
This is a great starter from Tiner. User experience is about to become critical. This article supports my very existence in the business world. It’s exactly what we do. It talks about how classrooms are going to have to up their game when it comes to user experience after this weird set of times, when people have had to be hanging around on video conference calls, et cetera, et cetera. So I’ve got questions and comments buzzing in all over the place so forgive me if I’m moving around with my hands.
Expecting students to go back to a classroom straight after, to normal as it used to be before classroom, that’s not smart. This article talks about the need for an increasing audio quality. People to hear better audio definition with any kind of virtual training, any kind of online training. Class capture is also something that needs to really and that’s something we specialize in here, as you can see, look around you. Stimulation and that’s what we’re talking about today with the user experience. Capturing the class and streaming it in real time in its entirety.
It talks about making space intuitive as well, making considerations for skills and resources that perhaps you guys haven’t got already within your classroom. So it’s a really good article, actually, right up my street. Don’t just bury your head in the sand and think everything will be okay again as it was before. That’s my take on it anyway.
So here’s the thing, Justin was talking about his microphone pack. Well, anyway, no. So yeah, check out this news article. It’s really good. And what I can safely say from, this is experience from my perspective here, as you can look around you, it’s a serious note. Everything we do here it’s been designed, it’s been set up and it’s been really carefully thought about for delivering the user experience. And when we deliver training programs and we deliver classrooms, we do the same thing and just by having the space to move around and be yourself as a presenter, because presenters are part and parcel of the fun and experience of certainly the classroom environment. Justin, are you with me yet?
Justin Kennington: 08:34
Of course, I’ve been here the whole time, Matt.
Matt Dodd: 08:34
Justin Kennington: 08:37
I don’t understand why you keep making these awkward statements. I think, to me, this article was about finding ways to think bigger and what I mean by that, there’s an example at the very end of the article. He talks about how to ironically, how to let our user know that his microphone battery is low. Should that be a green light, or should that be a red light on the user panel or on the microphone pack? He says, “No, shouldn’t that be a notification that goes out to a central controller so that an AV tech can be aware that the battery is becoming low and he can go to that classroom ahead of time and replace the battery so the user never has to think about it?”
We’ve got users that are being trained by the consumer world of software, by apps, by PC software designed by really talented user experienced designers. And so they’ve got this expectation that this is the technology, works in this very seamless and very integrated way. And what it’s really doing, I think, is raising the bar for an AV community that used to be a central place where people experience technology and now people experience technology much more widely in their daily lives. And so I think we’ve got to, as an industry, have to raise our game to be able to meet the expectations on ease of use and on intuitiveness that’s been built up by the software world that now sort of drives everything.
Matt Dodd: 10:02
Right. Well, that very good segue, let’s move on to this absolutely related article, Lighting up the neighborhood, where two Orlando families have made their street into a true winter wonderland experience.
Justin Kennington: 10:16
Well, honestly there’s not much to say here. It’s a holiday episode. People love to put up Christmas lights, check out the article. It’s down in the resources links below our feet here and you’ll see videos of these people. They’re going nuts. Two Floridians having a competition to see who can build a more insane lighting display on their house. It’s worth taking a peak at, and you know what, it’s kind of tied into what we do in AV. This is a lighting automation system, so it’s totally relevant. Check it out.
Matt Dodd: 10:44
And it’s not rivalry, it’s competitive. And the final piece of news that we bring to you this festive season is the day after Christmas, Mark writes an interesting article. Justin tell us about it.
Justin Kennington: 10:58
This one was simply about it’s the end of the year. It’s a good time for all of us to sit back, to take stock of what happened in the year. What was good, what was bad and what are our plans for next year? What are our goals? What do we hope to achieve? I know that for SDVoE, what we hope to achieve is the complete and utter annihilation of every other video transport technology in the proAV space. Matt, what are some of your goals for your business or for your personal life for the year?
Matt Dodd: 11:26
Well we just want to keep going and helping people that need the help. Look around you. This is what we do. This is what we bring to the table. We’ve really helped an awful lot of businesses to maintain that stimulation, to keep the training alive and not just resort to a really simplistic and quite frankly, not very sustainable way of delivering really static PowerPoints over Zoom calls, et cetera. So we’re just going to keep going as we are.
Justin Kennington: 11:56
Let’s do it
Matt Dodd: 11:57
All right. [crosstalk 00:11:59]. You’ve got a guest on, I shall see you later. Good luck with it.
Justin Kennington: 12:03
We’ll check in, in a bit, Matt. Thank you. Our guest today, Raviv Kramer. I told you to guess where he’s working and I’m sure you all guessed, MuxLab, where he is their new chief technology officer and has been for only the last six weeks. Why don’t we bring Raviv in and let’s talk to him a little bit. Raviv, hello and welcome.
Raviv Kramer: 12:23
Hello, Justin. Thank you for having me.
Justin Kennington: 12:26
Well, thank you for being here. You’re joining us all the way from your basement apartment in Jerusalem, I understand. Is that correct?
Raviv Kramer: 12:32
Yes, I do. It’s quite festive out there in your office.
Justin Kennington: 12:38
Well, yes, we try to keep things, the spirit alive. No big Christmas celebrations in your town I imagine. I don’t know if they have a big tree like in New York there, but I hope you had a beautiful Hanukah season, some time with family, with friends and were able to relax and recharge a bit, because I think you’ve got a particularly big year ahead of you. As I just mentioned to the audience, you’ve taken over as a chief technology officer at MuxLab, so tell us what that’s about, what drove you to want to try something new and what are you going to try?
Raviv Kramer: 13:09
Well, this is very exciting. MuxLab has been a company in the business for almost 40 years. We’ve be doing solutions for the AV and the broadcast industry. And I’m joining as CTO as you mentioned, six weeks ago, doing what I love doing, which is technology innovation with a brilliant team. And I’m very excited for this new journey.
Justin Kennington: 13:30
Excellent. Well, that’s great. So when I called you a few weeks ago and said, “Hey, come on the show, let’s find something to talk about.” I discovered that you have a passion really for user experience and for thoughts about how do we create the kinds of experiences that are going to, I’m going to tip my answer to my question here, how do we create the kind of user experiences that bring users back to the table, that leave them wanting more? Why is user experience such an important thing?
Raviv Kramer: 14:03
Well in short, experience is everything and everything is experience. If you have a product with great user experience, you have a great product. And what I mean by saying experience, everything is experience. It goes from the big things to the small things. So in video calls like this, the natural things to think about is the video and the audio, but there are other components too, that make up for the whole experience, including the lighting that we have in the system. Even the air condition in the room, the seat I’m sitting on. So it makes for a whole big thing that we call experience that goes beyond what our industry is traditionally been calling experience in AV. So we need to think about all these things together of what makes an experience.
Justin Kennington: 14:54
I have two questions. Are you experienced, have you ever been experienced? Well, I have. Sorry. Something stuck in my head. What are some areas that we in the AV industry have done a good job of user experience? Any standouts for you?
Raviv Kramer: 15:15
Well, I think because we’re an AV industry, anything that has to do with audio and video directly. We’ve done a very good job at making high quality video and high quality audio, which are essential to having proper video calls and then the other things that come in. So if you’re talking about Zoom and Teams, and however you see the aspect of doing things beyond video and audio. It’s about sharing content. It’s about how I participate in a meeting if I want to raise my hand. So these things get answered as time goes by. And I think we’ve done a great job in making Zoom and Teams and tools like that accessible to everyone because of the experience we as an industry have with these technologies. And I think this is where the opportunity lies in the future for industry and specifically for the integrators of the industry of taking this whole bunch of products together and making for a great user experience for the people who aren’t as familiar with AV.
Justin Kennington: 16:19
You’re mentioning a few times video calls, Zoom, Teams, those sorts of things, the kind of system that we’re using here. And yet that’s not, well, how do I want to say this? That’s not necessarily the bulk of history of AV and of AV user experience, certainly inside proAV. We’ve been doing video conferencing for a long time, but it’s not been at the forefront of everything we do. It’s not been something that spills out into the broader world. Where I’m driving with this question is a total left turn. But I’m thinking back to when Henry Ford said, “If I asked people what they want, they would’ve told me they want a faster horse.” They would’ve never come up with a car.
I’m wondering how much of good user experience necessarily comes from a long-term evolution, a refinement of things that exist? And then how often does good user experience come from someone throwing out the old rule book and the baggage that comes with it and saying, “No, there’s a totally new way to do this.” Like Zoom compared to an older video conferencing system. Where is that balance? Are they both necessary? Talk about that?
Raviv Kramer: 17:30
Yes, of course they’re both necessary and I think it’s very natural. You give the example of Ford, so with cars, we’ve seen the major evolution in cars in the past century, how we have introduced more technologies into cars. Now we have power steering, we have automatic gear. we have AC in the car, we have comfortable seats, we have GPS. So all these things have been added, like you suggested as a natural evolution of what we needed as users of a car. But sometimes things happen that make this a big shift.
I think we’ve seen this in the multi-media systems in the cars that have been drastically improved in the past 10, 15 years. It has become a new category within a car, so the multimedia system becomes something new altogether. It wasn’t an evolution to something that had been before, it’s something new. So you have to do both of them. And I think the way to do it is, you need to be the user. If you become the user, you understand the challenges and what you can do to make for a better experience, because in the end, UX is the art of making you comfortable. How can you make the lives of people comfortable?
Justin Kennington: 18:47
Wow. One of the best product managers I ever had work for me, what I thought he was so talented at was something I called user empathy. It’s exactly what you’re talking about. He could put himself in the shoes of someone experiencing this product that’s being designed and before it was built, before it was there, understand where are the pain points going to be? How do I soften those corners and edges and make this a better experience. That’s great.
Gosh, you said something about cars that sent me off on a question in my head that I’ve lost track of. Maybe we’ll find it again. You talked about some good UX examples. Let’s be mean now, let’s talk about some bad UX examples. What are some examples where the designers got it wrong and where that was important, where that cost something?
Raviv Kramer: 19:34
Well, I think there’s a very big example from our industry. More than 10 years ago, the 3D TVs, it was a great idea of introducing 3D to viewers, but something about the experience, about having to wear the goggles.
Justin Kennington: 19:55
What about the experience in particular?
Raviv Kramer: 19:59
Nothing. You look really cool. I had mistaken you for Batman for a second.
Justin Kennington: 20:07
I get that a lot.
Raviv Kramer: 20:09
Yeah. So it was a great idea, just the execution, the experience in the end is what led to its unfortunate demise. And instead we went on a different tangent. We went up in 4K and HDL, which I think makes for a better experience as a viewer than 3D.
Justin Kennington: 20:30
Okay. All right. There you go. We’ve talked about a couple of… Oh, you know what, I remember my car question and how I was [inaudible 00:20:39]. You mentioned at the end of the evolution of automobiles, the most recent sort of major UX evolution has been the multimedia systems, has been the entertainment systems. What I think that means, what it means for me personally, and what I’ve observed is more and more vehicles are taking advantage of these smartphones and they’re using Apple CarPlay, they’re using Android Auto. And basically to me, it feels a little like, and I think this is a good thing actually, it’s the auto manufacturer’s kind of throwing up their hands and saying, “You know what? We are not good at designing entertainment experiences.” Not to mention a car is supposed to last five, seven, ten or more years. And we know that electronic entertainment systems don’t have that long a life cycle. I think that bringing in Android, bringing in iOS is a great solution for the automobile.
Now I’m reflecting on this in proAV and a comment I made before in the news segment on people being trained to expect the wonderful, well-thought-out by high end designers experiences that these phones, that these apps create for us. And I’m wondering to what degree do we need to view that kind of appification from outside as a threat to the AV industry and to our wellbeing and to what degree do we need to try, and like the auto manufacturers have, embrace it and just build systems that allow the phone to be a phone and do its cool things. What do you think?
Raviv Kramer: 22:03
That’s a great question. I think that, yes, there is a threat here.
Justin Kennington: 22:07
Raviv Kramer: 22:10
When big players outside from our traditional markets step in, but it also introduces a huge opportunity because these players aren’t as savvy in AV and traditional AV as we are. And we know about all the cool tricks about audio and video that actually helps them have a better solution. So this is why we’ve seen Zoom Rooms. You have the suite of solutions surround it that Zoom doesn’t even aspire to develop on their own. So they’re looking for the right partners to do it and I think our industry is a perfect candidate for that. So it’s an amazing opportunity for everyone.
Justin Kennington: 22:47
Okay. It feels like we’ve talked about a lot of big picture concepts here, 3D TVs and goggles and how cars have good entertainment experiences. What about the details? The title of this show was, It’s All in The Details or Get the Details Right. I don’t even know, I titled these shows, you think I’d remember. It says right there, Getting the Details Right. Details, what the hell’s the title of my show? Where do the details come in? How is it that the small things add up to make the user experience or take away from it?
Raviv Kramer: 23:24
It’s easy to talk and it’s obvious to talk about video and audio, but now the hidden or sub hidden parts behind us. For example, when we have a video call, the thing that you don’t directly see is the lighting system. If you have a good lighting system, it makes for a better video experience. Also, if you have a smart audio system, it can help reduce background noise. The things that are one less obvious than the obvious ones, and you have all these almost invisible improvements that you barely feel, but it makes for a better experience. So these are the small things, and you can keep thinking of these small things. When you add them up, it makes for something completely different than what videos used to be several years ago.
Justin Kennington: 24:13
Yeah. We had a question come in from our audience before about, it’s important to build good UI design, good UX. Actually, we should talk about the difference between UI and UX. Maybe we’ll bring that for the after show, because we’ve only got about 45 seconds here. How do you balance the needs for, let’s focus on building good user experience and let’s make sure these users are trained to use the system. In AV, how do we find that balance?
Raviv Kramer: 24:39
If you have better user experience, you require less training. This is kind of like balancing itself. Of course, I think you eventually will have to have training at every level. But a great UX makes for a natural experience, which is the best teacher.
Justin Kennington: 25:00
Okay. Well stay right there with us, Raviv. We’re going to cut out to a different segment for now. We’re going to come back in just a few minutes to the aftershow. Four and a half minutes guys, stay right there. Don’t click anything. Just sit. Raviv is going to hang out right there. Get your questions in email@example.com. It’s over there, and Raviv, will see you in a few minutes. Let’s have a fact check for you in the audience.
Matt Dodd: 25:23
That was great. That was a really good interview.
Justin Kennington: 25:46
It’s fun isn’t it?
Matt Dodd: 25:48
Yeah. Really good. Thank you for your questions and your comments so far. Keep them coming in and don’t forget, I’ve got the resource links down just below me here on the page and on it you’ll find the new SDVoE developer certification. Now this quite simply makes it really easy to create an amazing user experience with SDVoE. Seven short modules followed by an exam, certification exam, to get you qualified. And then that opens you up to a whole access of the… Actually it allows you to access all the resources that you need as well as even more training to perfect those skills. So just below me, don’t forget that and keep your questions and clients coming in. They’re already flying through, so thank you very much and we’ll catch you in the aftershow. Well, I certainly will anyway.
Justin Kennington: 26:39
Well, that is our show. So thanks everybody for joining us. I want you to remember to find us on social media. I want to thank all of you who are watching us for the first time on LinkedIn Live. Wow. What a journey that was. You guys have no idea, but seriously, try and get yourself on LinkedIn Live. See how that goes for you. Not easy, but we did it and we’re very happy to be there today. Follow us on #SDVoE Live to find out what’s going on with the show and to get your comments and questions in between the shows. Also, you can use this email address anytime. We’re always watching it. Happy to bring your questions live on air in the next show, or sometimes I’ll even write back to you right in the middle of the work day. It’s great.
Our next episode is going to be called “AV IT Convergence, Is There a Ghost in the Machine?” We’re going to find out with our guest, Pete, the tech man Komen. So watch for that two weeks from today, that’s January 11th. I don’t know. It’s going to be a Tuesday, two weeks from today at 1:00 PM, US Eastern. We do this every two weeks, that’s how I know. You can watch us here in the SDVoE Academy. You can watch us on rAVe’s LAVNCH platform. You can catch us live on LinkedIn. You can catch us live on Twitter. And if you miss an episode, you can always catch up the show archive on our YouTube channel at youtube.com/sdvoealliance. So you know what? Even if you caught the live show, I want you to head over to YouTube and don’t forget to like and subscribe to our videos.
If you want the complete details on all the upcoming episodes visit sdvoe.org/live. And I want to wish everybody again, a very happy holiday season. It’s about to be a new year. I hope 2022 is even better for you than 2021. And I want to thank you all for being viewers of SDVoE Live. Happy Holidays. Happy New Year. We’ll see you in two weeks. Good night, everybody.