Motion graphics videos offer a powerful means of communicating complex concepts through engaging visuals and animation. While becoming increasingly popular, authoring these videos can be overwhelming. This dissertation investigates the challenges faced by both casual and professional users in motion graphics and offers Katika, a novel user-centric tool that supports end-to-end authoring of motion graphics and lowers the barrier to end-user animation. To inform the design and implementation of Katika, we carried out multiple studies. We initially interviewed 19 motion designers of varying skill levels and did a follow-up survey with 207 respondents to understand current practices, processes, and challenges of motion graphics authoring. The results underscored the need for example-based learning, particularly for amateur users facing a significant learning curve in envisioning the different stages of animation. Moreover, the results revealed that most users were using and switching between multiple feature-rich applications to create even basic motion graphics videos. In our next study, we investigated the phenomenon of application switching in more depth, broadening our investigation to knowledge workers using multiple software tools to complete a single task. We carried out interviews with 15 knowledge workers to understand the drivers of tool switching and any related productivity impediments linked with this behavior. Our insights culminated in a taxonomy of reasons for application switching that emphasized the role of collaboration and external factors as being key drivers. These results provide insights for designing tools that eliminate or minimize task-centric application switching across different domains, including motion graphics. Based on the results of our formative studies, we designed and developed Katika, an end-to-end authoring system to mitigate complexities such as the need for multiple software tools, the lack of in-built content, the difficulties of animation and communication observed in creating motion graphics. This system, in particular, empowers amateurs to create motion graphics without facing a steep learning curve or switching several applications. Our observational lab study demonstrated Katika's initial usability and showed that even novice users could create a motion graphics video within an hour. To gain further ecological validity, we next deployed Katika within professional and amateur users' contexts to gain insights into real-life user practices, expectations, and perceptions of end-to-end authoring. Among our key findings, we found that although casual motion designers wanted the design process to be further simplified, the professionals were concerned about their creative input and wanted more control over the design choices. Overall, this dissertation charts a comprehensive journey from identifying the processes and challenges of users in creating motion graphics videos to developing, validating, and refining an interactive system in response to such challenges. At the core of this dissertation is the following thesis: In the rapidly evolving domain of motion graphics software, there is a new class of users that are casual motion designers; this population is not equipped with a thorough understanding of various aspects of authoring such as content creation, animation or video editing. An end-to-end and example-based interface for creating motion graphics videos can provide a useful and usable means to overcome their challenges.
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Thesis advisor: Chilana, Parmit
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