Adaptive Subtitles: Preferences and Trade-Offs in Real-Time Media Adaption


Subtitles can help improve the understanding of media content. People enable subtitles based on individual characteristics (e.g., language or hearing ability), viewing environment, or media context (e.g., drama, quiz show). However, some people find that subtitles can be distracting and that they negatively impact their viewing experience. We explore the challenges and opportunities surrounding interaction with real-time personalisation of subtitled content. To understand how people currently interact with subtitles, we first conducted an online questionnaire with 102 participants. We used our findings to elicit requirements for a new approach called Adaptive Subtitles that allows the viewer to alter which speakers have subtitles displayed in real-time. We evaluated our approach with 19 participants to understand the interaction trade-offs and challenges within real-time adaptations of subtitled media. Our evaluation findings suggest that granular controls and structured onboarding allow viewers to make informed trade-offs when adapting media content, leading to improved viewing experiences.

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