The New Player is Live!

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.

Follow St. Patrick’s on Radio

Tomorrow, March 17th, will be St. Patrick’s Day!  Honoring the most recognized patron saint of Ireland, we’ll turn this post green right now. 🙂

Although St. Patrick’s is an Irish celebration, over time it has become a world wide event since it is also celebrated in countries like Argentina, Canada, Israel, New Zealand, South Korea, the UK and the United States, among many others.

To fully enjoy this event, of course, we specially recommend listening to Irish music stations, for example:

Additionally, check out these tribute stations for Irish bands U2 and The Cranberries:

That’s all for now.  If you still don’t have plans for tomorrow, we suggest you head to the nearest Irish pub – everyone’s Irish on March 17th. 😀

Stay tuned!

The Streema Team

It’s that time of the year!

Hi!  Given that the holiday season is almost here, we wanted to talk about a holiday-related genre that has started to get more relevance on our radio station directory recently: Christmas.

Christmas is a music genre that, independently of the country you live in or the community you belong to, we think is worth checking out because of the peace and happiness that it brings at this time of the year. 🙂

According to our own radio popularity rankings, these are the top Christmas Radio Stations on Streema:

Feel free to enjoy these and other radio stations this holiday season!

Stay tuned!

The Streema Team

Song Info Aggregator: the DEMO is Finally Online!

Early last week we posted that we were working on a Song Information Aggregator.  Well, we got so excited that we decided to work on it a whole lot more and… we’re proud to announce that our initial DEMO of the feature is now available on both our website and Facebook applications!!

We wanted to give our blog readers a sneak preview of this feature, which is now live, but will not be widely promoted yet.  So, when you are listening to a radio station that displays the name of the song on our player’s screen, just click on the name of the song and we’ll take you to the DEMO.  To quickly try it out, here are a few stations that have easily accessible* song information:

Power Hitz: Top 40 – Hip Hop – Rap

181.FM Rock 40: Rock – Adult Contemporary

ETN.fm Progressive Channel ETN2: Electronica – House

In addition, once you’re on the Song Information Aggregator page, you can search for any other “Artist – Song” by using the search box on that page. For a quick example, click on any of the following songs:

Lady Gaga – Just Dance

Metro Station – Shake It

AC/DC – Back In Black

And for those of you that are interested in the tech stuff, the development consisted of integrating YouTube, Twitter, and LyricWiki APIs.

We really think we can improve this much more, so please send us all the comments you may have about it. Bear in mind this is only a DEMO, so you might find some (or many) things that don’t work as expected. Hope you enjoy it, and as we’ve said, we’d love to hear your feedback!

Stay tuned!

The Streema Team

* Not all the radio stations in our directory may have this feature working – for more information, please, check our FAQ #4 .

Song Info Aggregator: Video, Lyrics, and More (Experimental)

At Streema, we are always thinking ahead and trying new things. Today we bring a sneak preview of something we’re developing, related to the song that is displayed on our player.  We thought you might like to check out. 😀

It happens often that we hear a cool song while listening to radio on Streema – we then leave our site to search for that song’s video (likely on YouTube), look up its lyrics, and even wonder what people have been “saying” about it.

So, we asked ourselves:  why not build something simple that does that directly on Streema?  The result is the Song Info Aggregator:  meaningful + real time information.

(click over the image to enlarge)

What you see above is just a picture – it can and will evolve – so if you have some additional ideas about it, please let us know!  We’ll keep you posted in the near future as this cool feature makes it onto our site.

Disclaimer: Please bear in mind the Song Info Aggregator is an experimental development, so any comments or feedback would be more than welcome.

Stay tuned!

The Streema Team

Goodbye, King of Pop

As most of you already know, Michael Jackson passed away yesterday.  It’s a very sad time.

Since we don’t want to repeat what has already written everywhere else about arguably one of the greatest all time performers in music history, we decided to look around the web for radio stations that only play Michael Jackson.  We uploaded one to share with you, called MJTunes – Michael Jackson Radio, where you’ll find his music – songs, remixes, concerts… everything about him.  If there are any other MJ radios we should have, please let us know.  We’ll make that a priority.

Goodbye, King of Pop.

The Streema Team

“Before and After” in Streema’s History: Song Information

We’re really – and we mean REALLY – excited to announce something that will be the beginning of a “before and after” moment in Streema’s history:  from now on, you will be able to see the name of the song that is currently playing.  This has been heavily requested by our community – and to be honest, to be able to finally show it to all of you it is unbelievably awesome!

So, how does this work?  It’s pretty simple to explain:  many radios stations offer this information in all sorts of different ways, sometimes via the stream, sometimes via their website.  What we do is figure out how to grab that information (which is many times not easily available) and then we’ll display it both on Streema.com‘s player (check the screen shot above) and on our Facebook application‘s popup player.  Here’s a quick sample of radio stations for which we will show the song information:

Power Hitz, Hits from the U.S.
NME Radio has THE best Alternative Rock in the U.K.
Slow.fm plays Slow and Ambient music
Roots Rock Reggae with classic reggae in Jamaica
Deepinside – DJ Sessions if you want go Electronic 😉

In addition to most of 1.FM, 977, Sky.fm, 181.fm, AVRO, and M2 channels – check them out!

By the way, do bear in mind that we currently have this feature only for a reduced number of stations, but believe us that we’re working hard to eventually have this for as many stations as is humanly possible.  : )  In the meantime, you might want to see our directory ordered by availability of song information!

Is that all?  No Sir!  On our Facebook application, you’ll be able to update your Facebook status with the song information.  Also, keep an eye out because we might have something similar on our website Streema.com in the not-so-distant future.

Where else are we going with this?  We’re not sure yet, but we’d love to hear directly from you about this.  We hope you enjoy it as much as we are!

And more than ever… stay tuned!

The Streema Team