SIGIA-L Mail Archives: Re: [Sigia-l] On DRM
Re: [Sigia-l] On DRM
> From: olly.wright_at_mediacatalyst.com
> Date: Sun, 3 Dec 2006 15:18:00 +0100
> As an IA trying to make user friendly consumer experiences for DRM'd
> content, I'm trying to understand what the natural intuitions would
> be for users. And then design user-interface metaphors that they can
> easily associate with. I personally believe that one of the most
> effective ways to make something user friendly is for it to behave as
> people expect it to... In the case of DRM'd content this is tricky,
> as it is hard to figure out what peoples expectations really are.
> I find the whole rental of web-delivered digital movies situation
> very interesting in this regard also.
I think the shift from atoms to bits has lead to a lot of confusion, a mess of file formats and every DRM solution putting up huge barriers to an ideal user experience simply because the buisness model requires the selling of content to make a profit.
As with many user experience problems of this kind you have to main enemies of the user experience. These are the engineering solutions and the business models. Both can play nice with the user experience but either can lead to a solution so convoluted that even the best user experience design cannot rescue what is an unworkable situation. The best DRM solution would be one that makes the user not want to copy in the first place, otherwise someone somewhere will crack the DRM and copy the media whilst the average users are left with the usual confusion of trying to work out what they can and can't do with the bit of media they have just bought.
My take is that the solution to making money out of media content may not be working on effective DRM solutions but making the media much easier to obtain through official channels than through non official channels. In my mind the biggest copy protection aspect of a movie is the physical size of it. The dedicated techie will always be able to find space for it and have a way of copying it but if anyone has tried to find illegal files (urm, yeah, it was research, okay) then movies can take a day to download, plus you're never sure if the file is what you wanted anyway.
What the media merchants really need to do is realise that they can drop the prices and effectively win people over due to the hassle factor of trying to find that media through other means even if there was NO copy protection. All that's needed is a good international micropayments system (quite a big all I know) that is far easier to use than paypal and is backed by someone like Yahoo or Google to ensure critical mass is reached, one not related to US banking methods (which is several years behind UK systems for example). Maybe a Visa could work on this.
None of this probable helps you out - you probably have a file format and DRM solution that is driven by engineers and business needs, leaving you the job to work out how to sweeten the pill and explain things so that you could understand it if you had 5 minutes and a hang over to sort out for the first time (we all, after all, can be expert and novice users in the course of one day).
Just my tuppence on the whole DRM thang.
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: Sun Dec 03 2006 - 11:10:16 EST