Issue2 CD

CD-Online

Project: CD-Online internet service, TV-based browser, and TV-optimized web site

Client: Philips Media Europe

Dates: April 1995 - July 1996

My role: Design Director
Defined the user interface and functional requirements for the browser and email client.
Hired and managed consulting firms for graphics and software development.
Supervised the design of the TV-optimized web site.

  CDOL Dialling... CD-Online Ltd was a London-based internet service for owners of Philips Compact-Disc Interactive (CD-I) players. Consumers needed only a standard modem and a special cable to turn their CD-I players into the world's first TV internet browsers. The service was launched in September 1995.

All application software (web browser, email client, and newsgroup reader) was resident on the CD-I discs.

As part of their subscription, consumers received quarterly update discs containing updated software as well as new editorial content — including animations and MPEG-1 motion video.
  Geared for "surfing on the sofa" by nontechnical users, the browser interface was easy to use and and graphically elegant.

The CD-Online web site was optimized for television through the use of strong forms, unsaturated colours, and special fonts. Site graphics from the CD-Online site and other recommended sites were cached on the CD-I disc for faster loading.

Focusing on London entertainment, the site included links about upcoming movies. Clicking a link on the site could trigger a MPEG movie trailer to play instantly from hidden files on the disc.
  For email, consumers composed messages offline using an on-screen virtual keyboard or an optional hardware keyboard.

When viewers logged on, the system uploaded any waiting outgoing messages, downloaded new messages, and deleted messages so marked still residing on the server.

(The duck in the upper right corner is a user token — up to four household members could have a token, set of preferences, and list of favorite sites.)