Wersync: A web platform for synchronized social viewing enabling interaction and collaboration
Shared media experiences between geographically distributed users are gaining momentum. When remote users are consuming online media content together while interacting, several challenges still need to be addressed to provide an enjoyable experience (e.g. in terms of delays and synchronization). This paper presents Wersync, a web-based platform that enables the creation of different groups of geographically distributed users for concurrently consuming the same media content in a synchronized manner, while socially interacting via text and/or audiovisual chat channels, and even collaborating. Its main features have been derived via a thorough state-of-the-art analysis, results of a previous survey and user-centric activities. Interestingly, Wersync includes adaptive and accurate media synchronization solutions, which performance has been objectively evaluated, obtaining better results than the ones needed for the kind of applications Wersync is intended for, such as Social TV. Additionally, the features of the platform have been subjectively evaluated (N = 60 participants) in a social viewing scenario, obtaining satisfactory results, mainly in terms of perception about performance, originality, usability, attractiveness, usefulness, applicability and awakened interest. These results and the development based on standard web components foresee the potential impact and widespread adoption of the platform in the future.
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