Janne Lindqvist, Associate Professor of Computer Science at Aalto University, is the first research scientist in Finland to receive the Mozilla Foundation’s international research grant. Unlike most traditional research grants, the Mozilla Foundation awards researchers with unrestricted gifts, which makes them highly competitive.
According to Lindqvist, this funding round had over a hundred applicants, seven of which received the funding. Five of those researchers work in the US and the rest two – including Lindqvist – in Europe. The Mozilla Foundation provides research grants to universities, labs and research-focused registered non-profits.
Lindqvist, who started his work as a professor at Aalto University in the beginning of the year, received funding for a project in which researchers aim to understand user experience of people who stream videos online.
How the wireless connection influences user experience?
Lindqvist, who defended his doctoral dissertation at the Helsinki University of Technology in 2009, worked previously at Rutgers University in New Jersey, USA. At Rutgers, his research group noticed that nearly all methods used to evaluate video streaming were based on the outdated assumption according to which people watch videos in one place and on a big screen.
However, these days a large number of videos are viewed on a mobile device, using a wireless or mobile data connection. ‘A lot of research has been conducted with short video clips. Statistics show, however, that when we use mobile devices for viewing videos, the length of clips is much longer than in those previous studies. We are interested in how the user experience differs when people stream videos using a mobile device and how the wireless connection influences the video quality in comparison to a fixed network,’ Professor Lindqvist explains.
Societal impact plays a role
Lindqvist points out that wireless internet connections always come with some types of issues. Globally, the Finnish well-functioning, fast, and unlimited mobile data connections are not usual. Lindqvist is interested in how user experience can be improved when the internet connection comes with limitations. ‘Finding out these sorts of things may have an impact on education or any other field in which viewing videos may be beneficial.’
Such a societal impact plays an important role when the Mozilla Foundation makes research grant decisions. As the developer of Firefox browser, it is also interested in how viewing experience can be improved when the user is watching a video in the browser.
Lindqvist’s research group has studied how issues in the online traffic influence the video quality and user experience. The group did this by creating an online environment with artificial but realistic network errors. Then, the participants were asked to evaluate the impact of the resulting video impairments.
This time, the researchers want to take their research from the lab to the real world and the internet. They are going to collect data from an internet browser and ask participants to evaluate their user experience.
Aalto University, Department of Computer Science