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. :)
The Streema Team