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Opinions On The New TV Graphics Introduced In The 2013-14 Season
We are now well into the summer break, so I thought it was maybe time to reflect on one of the new introductions that we saw for the 2013/14 season.
Last season, we saw the ISU introduce new graphics for the figure skating TV coverage. And I was wondering what you thought of the new graphics compared to the old ones.
For me, there were a number of problems with the old graphics. Most of these issues were addressed when the new graphics were introduced. But not all.
Firstly, the old graphics, and in particular the writing on them, were too small. It was hard enough to make out what the writing said on a 32” screen, never mind a 22” screen. So, it was a relief when we got bigger graphics, with bigger writing.
Now, I know the old colour scheme was to reflect the fact that we were watching a “cold” winter sport, but it was hard to read the white writing against the pale blue background on the old graphics. Thankfully, the designers of the new graphics saw sense and put the white writing against a darker background on the new graphics.
The other issues that I had with the old graphics were not resolved when the new graphics, unfortunately.
I don’t know about anybody else, but I find it nigh on impossible to read all the information on each graphic before it disappears! They simply are not displayed on the screen for long enough! In most cases, one or two seconds longer would be all that was needed to be able to read the whole thing without missing the last wee bit.
The other issue I have with the graphics is that I would like them to display a bit more information than they currently do.
For example, whilst the graphic at the start always tells us who coaches the skater(s), it does not mention who choreographs the routine.
I do not think it is fair that the choreographer does all this work to put the routine together, but does not get the credit on screen. If you want to know who did it, you have to go onto the internet and hoke out the ISU Bio and… nah, that’s too much bother for most people!
But the main thing that bugged me was the results graphic used at the end of the Free Skates. Yes, I am grateful that it shows the breakdown of the FS score, along the total score. But, I have always thought it odd that there was no mention on the graphics (old or new) of how the skater(s) got on in their SP. You would nearly think that the SP did not count towards the total score, when in fact it can often play a big part in the ultimate result.
After I saw the new graphics for the first time after Skate America, I thought they had missed an opportunity. So, last November, I started working on making my own version of the new graphics, to show what could be done.
I am hope less at editing photos. So, it took a LOT longer to get them all done. In fact, it took until May for me to get them finished and uploaded to Facebook. On top of that, things have been pretty hectic this past couple of months, so I didn’t get a chance to write out the actual comment to accompany it until now. So, I apologise that it has taken until now to start this thread.
To avoid the first post in this thread being 5 pages long (!), and to provide clarity, I have split it up into a few posts. So, apologies to those that do not like multiple consecutive posts.
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FS Results Graphic
As the FS results graphic was the one that was bugging me the most, I started off with it. Now, I wanted a picture with somebody who had got a deduction, so that I could show where exactly the “-1” was to be placed. But, at the same time, I wanted somebody who looked happy. And the only person I could find that fitted both these requirements was Mao Asada.
Here is how the FS results graphic appeared when Mao was getting her results at Skate America:
FS Results Graphic (13 seconds)
One thing I do not like about the current graphic is that the labels for each of the scores are written beside the score. It means the numbers do not stand out, and makes the row look very cluttered.
So, for my new version, I have provided a Title Row between the row containing the name of the skater(s) and the row containing their FS scores.
Because the labels are in a new row, it means there is now space for some extra information. For example, the skater’s start number, and their position in that segment. And so that there is not confusion over which number is the start number and which is the position, the numbers are colour-coded:
White background for Start Number
Yellow background for Position
This is the same colour coding that the FIS uses in their graphics in skiing competitions.
I have already explained above that I didn’t like the way that the results graphic only showed the detailed results from the FS. So, in my new version, I have added in the detailed results from the SP into a new row below the FS row.
And, because the labels are in a new Title Row, they do not need to be repeated.
The result is that, even though it contains more information than the current version, my proposal for the FS Results Graphic does not look as cluttered:
My proposal for the FS Results Graphic (13 seconds)
Another thing you may notice is that I have moved the Overall Position and Total Score up to the Name Row. That is to make the combined results stand out more.
To the left of the Position column, you will see an empty box. That is the column to denote whether the skater(s) has achieved some sort of best score, or set a new record. In the case of Mao at Skate America, she did not. So that is why the boxes are empty. But if she had, then these are the options that could have been displayed:
SB for a new Season’s Best
PB for a new Personal Best
OR for a new Olympic Record
WR for new World Record
Incidentally, although I did not make a Results Graphic to be displayed at the end of the SP, it would have an identical layout, but with one less row of results!
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After finishing the FS Results Graphic, I realised that Mao Asada has a short name, and it would be hard for me to judge what space was available in the Name Row when I came to do the other graphics. It would be better if I used a Pairs or Dance partnership rather than a Singles skater. So, for the rest of the graphics, I used the partnership with the longest names I could find.
Step forward Kerstin Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch. (How ironic that they have now split!)
As new best scores and records are being noted in a column in the Results Graphics, it occurred to me that perhaps it would be a good idea to have a graphic that specifically showed what the existing best scores for the skater(s) were, as well as the existing Olympic and World Records.
This could be displayed while the skaters are waiting for the judges scores to come through, in between the end of the highlights of the routine and the results graphic.
So, here is my idea of how a new graphic to show these records could look:
Records Graphic (13 seconds)
You will notice that there are some empty boxes in the SB column. This is because Skate America was Kerstin and Dylan’s first competition of the season, and therefore they had not set a Season’s Best in the FS or Total Score!
You will also notice a different design for the Name Row. This particular design for the Name Row is taken directly from the graphics I have proposed to be shown before the start of the routine, and will be explained below.
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Graphics Before Routine Starts
At the moment, three 2-row graphics appear while the skaters are preparing to start their routine. And, since there are so many graphics to be shown in such a short amount of time, they are not on-screen long enough to read.
Here are the 3 graphics from Moore-Towers/Moscovitch FS at Skate America, along with the length of time they appeared on-screen:
Coaches & Ages Graphic (6 seconds)
Music Graphic (6 seconds)
Points To Beat Graphic (4 seconds)
Total time the graphics were on screen: 16 seconds
I feel that it would be more productive to have two bigger graphics that are each on-screen for a longer amount of time.
The first graphic would contain ALL the information about the Free Skate that is in the 3 current graphics:
FS Information Graphic (8 seconds)
You will notice that I have made some changes to the Name Row. Firstly, I have added in the Start Number to the start of the row. This is purely so that it is easier for viewers to keep track of how far we are into the competition.
Secondly, the ages have been moved up to the Name Row. I thought it would make more sense to have all the personal details of the skater(s) on the same row. Plus, it would mean that the other rows could each be kept to a specific theme.
The second row contains details specifically about the Free Skate that we are about to see. It tells us about the music used, and also how many points it needs to score to take the lead.
The third row tells us the coach(es), while the fourth row tells us the choreographer(s). Looking at Kerstin and Dylan’s graphic, these could have easily been put onto a single row. But, some skaters have a whole team of coaches, or a whole team of choreographers. So, I decided to give each their own separate row to allow for this.
The second graphic would be a reminder of how the skater(s) performed in their SP:
SP Reminder Graphic (8 seconds)
As you can probably tell, the top half of my SP Reminder Graphic is the exact same layout as the top half of my FS Information Graphic, while the layout for the bottom half is taken from the FS Results Graphic.
Of course, while the skaters are preparing to do their SP, there would only be need for one graphic. This would be identical to the layout for the FS Information Graphic, except that it would say “SP” instead of “FS”!
So, those are my proposals for fine-tuning the graphics that were introduced last season. What do you think?