Interactive Video Enterprises
Boulder, CO 1994-95

IVE was a U S West company fashioned after a start-up but fueled by the telco giant. We built an early interactive television commerce channel called U S Avenue. Our accounts included JC Penneys, FTD, Alamo Rent-A-Car and my client, Lands' End.



We were a bit early for the technology. The 3DO set-top box was very unsophisticated and the video servers at the time would gack on multiple streams. U S West pulled the plug on us after about thirty million bucks worth of trying to make it work. Below are some screens I did for Lands' End.

A user interacts with a computer monitor from about two feet away. Our product was viewed from an average of fifteen feet away, on a television monitor that offers only 525 lines of resolution and the interface was a standard television remote control. U S West introduced me to Usability Testing on a grand and serious scale. They had teams of PhD.s who would constantly point out what wouldn't work and put human subjects through torture tests with our layouts. These people are really fun to have lunch with. (Based on this experience, I later convinced Creative Director Hans Bjordahl at XOR Inc., to add Usability Testing to our process for our client WholeFoods.com in 1998. User Experience and Usability Testing are now cornerstones of the Customer Experience offerings at XOR.)

Delta Force
Advanced Technology Lab
(internal skunk works led by Dr. Ed Freeman and Tim Carlin)

In the final days of IVE, the corporate powers sent in Andersen Consultants to suck our brains out, and U S West never really did recover from their delay to get an early start on the Web, although they tried.

 

In late 1994 I wandered upstairs into the mysterious Delta Force lab and found a bunch of geeks huddled over their machines playing with something called the Web. Dr. Ed Freeman and Tim Carlin were tasked with figuring out what the Next Thing was going to be. They sure pegged it. They let me contribute comps and rig demos.

Corporate U S West didn't believe them ("There's no business on the Web...") etc.

We did demos for the NFL, Jackson Browne, Billboard Magazine and others. Product Visionary Mark Ferguson presented a concept of selling CD's on the Web, but his presentation was cut short at the meeting in Keystone because "...the Web doesn't have video...forget it."


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