The Streema Blog

Posted on by Streema Team


It's April 1st, but this is not an April Fools joke.

The truth is that we really haven't written anything for the past few months and that's not funny. We feel bad, shame on us fools.

We're fools for failing and forgetting. We've been busy, but that's no excuse.

However, we're also fools for being so human, so human we smile, cry, enjoy, and even laugh at GIFs like these:

 

I want these two in my team!

 

Hi girls, please play the part that says... #not

 

That should be more than a quadruple, right?

 

We hope you enjoyed them as much as we did, us fools. :)

Happy day!

Posted on by Streema Team | Posted in Community, Team | Tagged ,


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Posted on by Streema Team


Today we wanted to share a practice with you that we started in mid-2013 and has been doing great at Streema.

First, a short story that may sound familiar...

There was once a young company that wanted to grow quickly. This company learned that, to build things fast, many times it was better to just focus on as few activities as possible. And with such a focus and lean operation, there was only a small amount of resources dedicated to things like Customer Support. As a matter of fact, the Customer Support team was a very thinly stretched operation (one person, very little time) that addressed the questions, concerns, and in some cases, even complains of the users. :( Then this company grew to a point that they could have more people dedicated to Customer Support and be able to actually "support" many more user issues. That company was Streema.

Around 6 months ago, at Streema we reached a stage where we could choose to move a little slower in one area, to move faster in another, and for our users - at least those who write us - it has been a great change good. :D So, by the end of August 2013, we - the two people who did Customer Support at Streema - proposed to have a "Everyone Does Customer Support" policy, which consisted in having all the members of the company dedicate one hour every two weeks to do support - ranging from the intern to even the CEO.

These were our main goals:

1) Understand and empathize better with our users.

2) Develop tools to make better our support experience.

3) Add a stronger customer orientation to our company culture.

We're not going to say it was easy but it has been a great success so far and the results were above expectations. At the beginning there were many questions about how to answer user inquiries, or how to use the tool, but with time and patience we really took our support culture to the next level: not only have we've been answering customer issues better and faster, but we've also had to ask some of our developers to not dedicate too much time on customer support. :S

Just as a side comment, when it comes to Customer Support tools, we happily recommend Desk to manage your support - with the flex hours option you can add as many people as you need and only pay for the time doing support.

And finally, as you can imagine, if you send an email to info@streema.com or you use our help center contact form, you'll reach any of us. :)

Stay tuned!

The Streema Team

PS. If you want to read more about this topic, check out the following articles:

Whole Company Support with Nick Francis

Humanity is Required

Don't Keep Customers Waiting

Posted on by Streema Team | Posted in Community, Customer Support | Tagged ,


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Posted on by Streema Team


This is just a very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very (we cut it here because if not it wont be very) short message to wish all of you a...

Happy Holidays!

See you in 2014. :)

The Streema Team

PS: Yeah, we've written better "year end" blog posts, we know it: http://blog.streema.com/2011/12/24/happy-holidays-from-streema/

Posted on by Streema Team | Posted in Community | Tagged ,


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Posted on by Streema Team


If you have a smartphone or tablet and have tried our mobile web in the last few weeks, you might have noticed some big improvements.

To start off, we've finally added the same station playlists we had on our desktop app. Try it out! In addition to the Now Playing information we already had, you'll love seeing the station's recently played songs. :)

You can also enjoy a more personalized experience. Now you can create a list of presets by favoriting any station you'd like. Additionally, we decided to add your recently played stations for ease of access. Yes! This means that there's a page that better reflects your personal taste. :)

The best of all, we've improved the overall experience - you can listen to a station while browsing our entire mobile site. As soon as you tune in to a station, you'll notice a player at the bottom of the screen that will go with you anywhere on our site. That's probably our favorite new feature!

Additionally, we've improved a few other aspects of the experience:

- Added a menu with quick access.

- Created a default list with local radio stations.

- Improved the algorithm for selecting "related radio stations".

While we're at it, here's a sneak peak into what's coming soon:

- Adding an icon to your homescreen, starting with iOS.

- Sign up and Login features for saving your Favorites forever - and of course, bringing your Desktop Favorites too. ;)

- Compatibility improvements for Blackberry and Windows Phone users.

We've come a long way since we launched Streema's initial mobile web version back in 2011. However, we still think there's much more to do and we'll keep you updated with what's coming.

Stay tuned!

The Streema Team

Posted on by Streema Team | Posted in Android, iOS, Mobile, Player, Streema.com, Usability | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,


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Posted on by Streema Team


If you are a frequent user of Streema.com, you may have seen brands promoted on our website. Today we want to talk about that: Advertising.

Streema's business model is based on advertising, that means we develop and maintain our application, content, infrastructure and support with the sponsorship of third-party products and services.

That might not surprise you, after all, most of the web works that way, a few good examples are: YouTube, Google, Facebook and most of the newspapers. And that makes sense, since the Internet is a communication medium, and media connects people with people, people with things (brands and services), or just things with things. :)

Now, Advertising, as with every business, may or may not be well executed, you might have come across many websites where ads are nonsense or simply annoying. In many cases, they even confuse the users, promoting useless products or announcing that the user has won some kind of prize - when we all know that wasn't the case. As we've mentioned in previous blog posts, at Streema we want to assure the best listening/watching experience, and the ads on our site are part of that, so we have been working to block ads, advertisers and Ad Networks that do not enhance that value. If you ever run into those types of ads on our site, please let us know so that we can continue improving your experience.

We work with AdSense, one of the biggest Ad Networks in the world, which has a really strict policy with advertisers. AdSense has been very reliable for us and in addition it also let us understand, with the help of Google Analytics, the behaviour of our users. AdSense's job consists mainly in targeting relevant ads to the user, which is mostly based on: the geographical location of the visit, the content of the page, or what have been searched or browsed before coming to Streema (for certain users).

One important thing to mention is that if you are an advertiser that wants to advertise on Streema.com, whether on our desktop or mobile websites, you should sign up with AdWords or with one of the AdSense Certified Ad Networks. To learn more about how these ads work and how to advertise on Streema, please go to: https://support.google.com/adsense/answer/152693 .

That's all for now, we hope this has helped you to better understand how our application works as well as how we pay our bills. :)

If you'd like to share an idea with us about this or want to inform us about a confusing or misleading ad, please send us an email to info at streema dot com. Thanks!

Stay tuned!

The Streema Team

Posted on by Streema Team | Posted in Advertising, Usability | Tagged , , , , , ,


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Posted on by Streema Team


Following the improvements we mentioned in our previous blog post, now we're back with more news about our player - after all, Streema is about playing radio and TV. :)

Before we start, something important to mention is that, as we've explained before, Streema does not provide the streaming service, but rather it provides the platform for tuning in to stations. However, in many cases we're not able to play a radio or TV station because there's a broken stream or because we don't find compatible players. Here are some figures to explain that better:

For our Radio Desktop users*, last month (August 2013) 70.3% of them were able to play a radio station, while that number was only 57.6% a year ago (August 2012).

*These figures do not include external players - if they did,
the percentage of successful tune ins would be much higher.

 

To do so, a big part of the work was fixing and updating thousands of streams. Additionally, we have also improved how the plugins work as well as the number of plugins supported - for example, last year 13.4% of our users couldn't play a station because a of plugin compatibility issue, today that number is only 6.1%.

As you might know, a plugin is a software that allows, in our case, to play a station in your browser, so part of our job is to find plugins that will make the audio and video work on your desktop, tablet, or smartphone.

All this has been the result of both testing and measuring better as well as understanding the behavior of our users. Thanks for listening and watching!

Hopefully in the not so distant future we'll have a chance to share some data regarding mobile as well as TV.

Stay tuned!

The Streema Team

Posted on by Streema Team | Posted in Help Center, Infrastructure, Radios, Streema.com, Technology | Tagged , , ,


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Posted on by Streema Team


Today we have great news to share - after much thinking, testing and measuring, we have rolled out our new player for desktop users. This is a piece of work that we started months ago that has involved many aspects of our website, ranging from technology to User Experience (UX).

The prototyping started, as always does, with many features and information that we thought were "must haves". We then realized that everything we wanted was probably not going to fit, so we tried to reduce it as much as we can. After all, this was probably going to be a continuous experiment lasting many months. In other words, we tried to simplify the experience of listening to a radio station - and, in order to do that, many actions and transitions had to be taken into account.

So, something that sounds very simple as listening to a radio station actually has at least 3 separate steps:

1) Identify the station that is going to be played.
2) Show visual feedback for Loading, Buffering, etc.
3) Play the station or, if it doesn’t work, provide other options to listen to

To do that, we enhanced features and included additional information, such as the following:

  • Radio Logo to identify the station.
  • Enhance the Stream Status: Connecting, Play and Stop.
  • Simplify the Stream Status to: Connecting, Play, Stop or if station can’t be played, give more options for listening.

In addition to that, we also have developed a better Favorites list - that is something we want to highlight in the Streema radio listening experience.

That said, probably the most noticeable change may have been the format, since we changed our player from a "wide" shape to "narrow" one. This was a usability decision too, firstly because we found it to be a better format to present the necessary information. And secondly, because listening is something everybody does while doing other things on their desktop computers, so we thought it would fit better on the side of the computer screen while people read, chat, etc. To do this, of course, we had to cut some parts out - we did that with the commenting feature and with certain radio information that was not absolutely necessary. Some of these may make a comeback in the future, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Also, do keep in mind that this is our first release and that there’s still a lot of work to do, but as we've mentioned, this is "continuous experiment". We hope you remember those words when using our player. ;) And what’s next? Better Now Playing information, additional social feature integration, and a few more things that you’ll hear about soon, we promise.

As an aside, for those of you interested in the process, we had to measure many things - performance, of course, but mainly user behaviour. For example, we previously found out that a user that listens to a station for 10 minutes will mostly keep listening for hours, so our tests were based on that criteria. In other words, we measured how different features and layouts caused users to listen to at least “10 minutes”, and then come back the next day and also the next week. Those for sure would be “Happy Users”.

We think our current player is the result of wanting a cleaner look and employing a minimalistic approach, but it will evolve as we continue experimenting, measuring and learning.

Life is a journey, our player is one too. :)

Stay tuned!

The Streema Team

PS: True! We haven't mentioned anything about the new look for the blog. Thanks Andrea Giannangelo for that theme.

Posted on by Streema Team | Posted in Music, Player, Streema.com, Usability | Tagged , ,


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Posted on by Streema Team


This is yest another quick update to let you know we have accomplished an important milestone:

Our website Streema.com has had an Uptime of 99.88% over the past year

This is the result of the work we started in early 2012 when we realized that we had a lot to improve in the areas of Uptime as well as Response Time.

So, even though our Uptime numbers aren't perfect - since we still had in total over 10 hours of downtime in 365 days - we still wanted to share this value with you since we know it's appreciated amongst our users.

Regarding the other area, Response Time, we haven't made as much progress in the last year, but we promise to have good news in the next report. ;)

Stay tuned,

The Streema Team

Posted on by Streema Team | Posted in Infrastructure, Streema.com | Tagged , , ,


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Posted on by Streema Team


This is just a short update to let you know we've updated our Homepage, you can check it out here.

As we've mentioned recently, we're slowly restyling our entire desktop website, and this was an important milestone - hope you like it. :) Also, the new Radio and TV players are coming soon, so stay tuned!

One more important thing: we would love to feature more images of radio and tv stations, so if you own or work for one, please contact us. Thanks!

The Streema Team

Posted on by Streema Team | Posted in Radios, Streema.com, TV, Usability | Tagged , , , ,


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Posted on by Streema Team


In our quest to bring you a better product at Streema, over the past few months we've been spending more and more time talking to our users to learn about their pain points while using our service.

So we emailed our registered users and also used a live chat client called Olark to communicate with our non registered visitors. These were the most recurring answers:

1) "I can't listen to a particular station"
2) "I have issues looking for stations"
3) "I can't access the whole Streema directory on my mobile device"

As for the first issue, not being able to listen to a particular station, this is the most complicated one. It can be caused by several different reasons, and here are some of them:

  • Required plugins are missing which are needed to get our player to work.
  • Codecs that the stations use aren't supported.
  • Streams have changed recently and we don't have the latest one.
  • Stations aren't streaming online anymore or simply aren't broadcasting at all.
  • Geographical restrictions exist, likely due to location-specific licensing issues.
  • Connectivity issues happen while trying to listen to a station.
  • Listener capacity is full.
  • And the list goes on...

So what are we doing about all these issues? Our technical team is currently working on adding new codec capabilities to our player, but it is very difficult to support ALL the codecs that exist, so it might take a while to get your favorite station to work on Streema.

Also, our content team is currently working together with radio station owners to keep our database up-to-date, with as many working streams as possible. And of course, we are constantly upgrading our infrastructure to service our growing user base.

The truth is that there are many issues and since it is almost impossible to solve them all of them immediately we arrived at the conclusion that it is essential to communicate WHY you can't listen to your favorite station and WHAT you need to do in order to listen to it. That is why we'll be working hard on enhancing our player's notifications to the user. And by doing so, we can continue to build Streema as the go-to website for listening to broadcast radio.

As for the second biggest pain point, which is to be able to easily find stations, we have something in the works. As we mentioned on our previous post, we are currently working on a restyle of Streema’s website for desktop users, and as a part of this process we are re-thinking and improving how our users discover radio stations. We will have some news really soon! :)

And finally, regarding our mobile users, we will continue to build a better mobile browser version while we start planning our next move. Who knows, there might be something 'native' in our near future... ;)

Thanks once again for your feedback, and please, be patient, we are working hard to improve our player and we really look forward to have the best listening experience on the web.

That's all for now. Please do let us know what you think!

The Streema Team

Posted on by Streema Team | Posted in Customer Support, Help Center


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