Some scrappy sketching

I had a go at trying to recreate Stitcher in a better more manageable way and I found that Youtube was a pretty good model for what they could aim for. It delivers subscriptions with helpful suggestions of what to listen to next.

Stitcher but better
Stitcher but better

This also gave me an insight into the complexity of Youtube’s content delivery system. They are incredibly good at targeting content which gives me a lot more empathy for Stitcher. Still, they need to reduce how long it takes to get the content you have curated. If you have taken the time to curate your content then you are already emotionally invested in it and you want it to be the first thing you see. It’s almost a sense of pride.

After creating the Stitcher alternative, I tried to produce something similar with a more pared back interface. I produced this,

Pared back interface
Pared back interface

The only content you’re faced with is the content you have curated meaning that there will be no nasty surprises and you will get a recent update of your favourite podcasts in order of release date. That makes sense to me.

The nature of podcasts means they are released relatively sporadically. You can fit many episodes of many podcasts on a page and you are unlikely to miss any if you check them with any kind of regularity. So why not just show the most recent episodes? This is where the other apps seem to fall down.

I really like those small pop-down menus that will only appear when you scroll down so I have included one of those. I like the unobtrusiveness of those menus that hide when you’re not using them. They also strike me as an easy way to add functionality without having to completely recreate the whole starting screen.

Cards have been employed because they’re super easy to use and apparently, they’re the future.

Having a go of Axure

Axure turned out to be pretty great for getting something out as quickly as possible and making it shareable. I didn’t spend too much time on this but I was still able to produce a speedy prototype that I could quickly upload to my web-server and get some feedback on it.

Have a look at what Axure Produced.

It strikes me as a pretty good way of being able to get interactive prototypes in front of people as quickly as possible. Good for early user testing.

I have a JQuery

Having been looking for a job lately and seeing how many employers love JQuery, I decided to have a go at it and see if I could produce something worthwhile. This project seems like a perfect opportunity to have a crack at learning some new languages. So here it is, a very basic prototype for a podcast webapp. Just copy this here RSS feed,

http://wtfpod.libsyn.com/rss

and paste it into the top right corner text box and push the button next to it at,

www.struanfraser.co.uk/beta

The page should now fill up with podcast descriptions. I’m having a minor problem with getting it to link directly to the mp3 but I should be able to fix that in the future. I’d also quite like to make added pods sort by date posted but this is all stuff for the future. I’m just pleased I managed to make anything work. If you’re curious, here’s the code,

http://struanfraser.co.uk/beta/js/pod.js

Also, I realised half way through that this would make much more sense if I did it with a server side language rather than a client side language but in the learning furore, I also learned lots of nice little animations and fades so I think it was well worth it. I’ll just have to make PHP my next endeavour.

Next time:

Interviews – Young white men and WEEEEEEIRD Studies

P.S. Sorry, I know I’m missing a post. I just jumped the gun a bit and I wanted to get this post out of my system. Don’t worry. IM ON IT.

Read more from Struan Fraser at http://www.struanfraser.co.uk/blog