Announcing the Collaborative Video Subtitling Design Challenge

Design Challenge LogoMozilla Labs is back with a new Design Challenge! Participate in the Collaborative Subtitling Design Challenge and help the Participatory Culture Foundation and Mozilla make video on the web more accessible.

The Brief

For this Design Challenge we are focusing on finding creative solutions to the question: “Collaborative subtitling — How can users quickly create a timed transcript of any video on the web?”

Participatory Culture Foundation and Mozilla are working to build a universal system for creating and collaboratively improving subtitles for any video on the web. We believe that many users would be willing to contribute and translate subtitles if there was an easy way to do so. And that we can use this energy to knock down language barriers for popular online video.

The Concept

The Vision

  • Publishers can add collaborative subtitling and translation to their own sites.
  • Video hosts will have an easy way to add subtitling support to their Flash players.
  • Users can install a Firefox extension to enable this technology on any compatible video they watch in Firefox.
  • Subtitles themselves will live “in the cloud”, stored on one or more community sites where users can collaborate and compete to create the best subtitles.

However, the most important question to answer is also the least straightforward: what is the best way to solicit and facilitate the creation of high quality subtitles from viewers? Most subtitle interfaces, designed for highly committed professional users, have too high a learning curve and are too complicated to be helpful examples. And they aren’t built to take advantage of multiple collaborators. For collaborative subtitling to work, it needs to be easy to learn, easy to use, and fast.

PCF has created a prototype that lets users create a transcript as fast as they can type, and create an aligned set of subtitles as they watch. Teams’ work will start with data from user tests on the prototype and propose new designs to address these problems in the form of a mock-up and video. PCF will select winning ideas and integrate them back into the subtitling interface (teams will see the results of their work in action).

How it Works

To participate in this Design Challenge you need to submit high-fidelity mock-ups (PSD, HTML or image files) along with a short video describing your mock-up and what influenced your design. Upload your video to the web and submit your entry using our submission form.

To provide you with some insights to help inspire your designs we conducted a series of usability studies with the current subtitling interface – head over to the Collaborative Subtitling Design Challenge site to check out the results!

Important Dates

  • March 2010 – Launch of the Collaborative Subtitling Design Challenge
  • April 26th, 2010 – Submission Deadline
  • April 29th, 2010 – People’s Choice Voting starts
  • May 11th, 2010 – People’s Choice Voting ends
  • May 17th, 2010 – Best in Class honors, development plans are announced
  • June 11th, 2010 – New prototype released
  • June 18th, 2010 – Usability study of new prototype released

Head over to the Design Challenge site and get creative!