YouView has published its draft user interface and search policy for consultation with the industry – including which content gets placed where and how it will be presented to viewers.

The IPTV solution, which includes seven major broadcast and telecommunications partners, is apparently still 'on track' for an early 2012 launch, and it is now beginning to get to the nitty gritty of UI and how content will be surfaced.

"YouView today published its draft User Interface and Search Policy for consultation with industry, setting out how content will be presented to viewers in a way that makes it easy for them to discover," stated YouView.

"The policy also details YouView's approach to allocating positions to video on demand content providers in the YouView User Interface."

Fair prominence

Obviously a key question will be how fairly the non-shareholder content providers are treated, something which YouView's policy is clear about.

"The allocation of listing positions and UI positions and the configuration of search results will be undertaken without regard to whether the Content Provider is a YouView shareholder, insists the draft.

"Where a YouView shareholder, who is also a Content Provider, is awarded a listing or a UI position, the basis for such award will be objectively justifiable, having regard to the principles of fairness, reasonableness and non-discrimination on which all UI positions will be awarded.

"The ordering of search results will be objectively justifiable, having regard to the principles of fairness, reasonableness and non-discrimination."

Glimpse into the UI

In laying out how the UI works, there are some interesting nuggets of information that can be gleaned.

First of all, the main menu will comprise a "carousel of menu items".

It's clear that, as you would expect in an IPTV solution, Search will play a key role in the discovery of content, and this will be a primary tab.

The next tab mentioned will be My View – which will be a list of recordings, scheduled recordings and reminders.

A Guide tab will offer a 7 day electronic programme guide (EPG) and catch up for "each linear channel for approximately the past 7 days".

An On Demand tab will, obviously, offer up access to on demand portal players and "aggregated lists of On Demand content displayed by YouView".

ISP will provide information on the internet search provider, if the ISP is an affiliate ISP, otherwise this tab will be missing.

Settings will offer actionable settings.

Help will offer up user videos and local diagnostic tools.

Apps will feature the applications that have been tailored for the YouView service.

The on demand content will be provided in most popular, just in TV, A to Z TV and genres.

Surfacing content

In terms of channel allocation, the traditional linear TV grid is set by DMOL and not YouView which means that the order will be the same as on a Freeview EPG, but the IPTV on demand categories will have their own section.

The prominence of these offerings will be set by three factors at launch:

  • Public service broadcasters will be given 'appropriate prominence' as per Ofcom's instructions. That means BBC content, ITV Player, 4OD and Five's on demand will be the most prominent content
  • Secondly, providers of existing TV VOD will be next up and ordered by popularity which could mean a prominent place for Sky should it get involved)
  • Thirdly people who provide existing web or IP VOD services will be included – again ranked on popularity.

After launch, the channels will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

We await the launch with interest.