Redesigned Station Profiles at Streema

Hi there! Not too long ago we redesigned our radio station profiles at Streema and we wanted to take a minute to share with you the reasons behind it.

At Streema we understand the user experience as a continuous improvement. We believe it’s the result of research that is constantly evolving and not the end of a path that is reached without looking backwards nor forwards. Earlier this year we analyzed the layout of our radio profiles and saw an opportunity to make it better. Among the aspects that we wanted to take to the next level was the interface; we felt it lacked the clarity and simplicity that a mass market site like Streema needs.

In case you don’t remember how the old interface looked, here is a screenshot of the station profile for CNN Radio we use to have at Streema:

It is good practice, when thinking about a new interface, that you have to consider three variables: the user, the “context of use”, and the task that is being performed. If any of these ingredients is missing when you design the layout, the result won’t be as useful.

streemaradioprofile-old

 

Context – did we arrive to the right place?

Thanks to a combination of Google Analytics and user interviews that we conducted, we knew that a significant percentage of users land directly on radio profiles. For these users, this meant that the radio profile was the first contact with Streema. And as the saying goes: there’s only one chance to make a good first impression… without affecting the bounce rate. (Yes, we added the last part. 🙂 )

With this in mind, we thought: what is the first thing you want to know when you land on a site? The first need is to figure out whether you’re in the right place, if you think you can find the content you are looking for. So, our next question was the following: what is the unique identifier for the Streema user when trying to figure out if they have arrived to the desired content?

To identify the key indicators from the user’s point of view, we conducted what are called “Five Second Tests” with different layout proposals. A Five Second Test consists of showing a certain page to a user for about 5 seconds and then asking the user to remember specific details. In our case, before the users saw the page, we would give them a “task” and then ask them if they believed that they had arrived at the page they were looking for (according to the task) and how they knew they had done it correctly. The tool we used to conduct the Five Second Test was a service called UsabilityHub.

There is only one chance to make first impression

One of our initial working hypotheses was that the station logos, being visual markers, had a greater visual impact and better reading time. Therefore, we felt they should be clear indicators for the user. Boy, were we wrong!

Among the findings that caught our attention was the relationship between content and logo identification. We noticed in successive iterations that users not necessarily associated the logo as the main sign of having found the right radio. This fact isn’t a minor detail, because we are generally used to think that it’s always a best practice to use visual identifiers, since they are likely to get recognized faster. As we iterated through the design we realized that the name of the radio station was the piece of data that gave certainty. Due to this finding, the name of the station won more prominence in the layout and the logo gradually decreased in size, just enough not compete with the rest of the user interface.

Additionally, we learned that with the old interface users confused the opportunity to make comments with the ability to write reviews, they also had trouble finding the place where they could save their favorite radios and finally the ads had too much preponderance.

For those of you interested in the methodology around these tests, one thing to point out is that we prefer the view professed by usability expert Jared Spool regarding giving context to a user before they do a test. As users we all come to a site as a result of a reference or a search and this generates two equally important feelings: anxiety and expectation. When we click on a link we have the expectation of finding a certain type of content. And when we get to the site, we use those first few seconds to analyze a number of variables, for example: if the site is trustworthy, if we’ve arrived at the right place, and so on.

Task

Another equally important aspect of this research was to understand what users are looking for when they come to the site. Although we’ve had many conversations with users in the past, we thought it was a good time to add some more quantitative data to our analysis. In order to do this, we conducted several surveys using a service called Qualaroo. One big objective was to dispel any delay between intention and fulfillment, since the time mentally assigned to a task must be replicated on the site, or else using the site becomes frustrating and seconds later the user abandons the site.

After the research we confirmed that the need to listen to a radio program (dedicated to news or to discover new music) was immediate, so the tolerance to frustration was very low. Users interested in a particular content do not want to wait more than a few seconds. Because of this, we decided to make the play button more prominent in the interface layout.

In terms of how we used the surveys, we mainly leveraged them as a resource to give us context about the users. We iterated in surveys that went from open responses to more specific ones with options allowing us to learn more about the needs of our users. In case you’re interested, in a survey, open responses give you the unknown response, the one you will never expect; while surveys with options give you the quantitative view of the problem. Additionally, it was also very helpful to use a service like Intercom, that allowed us to contact users who were exposed to an AB Test on our site in order to ask them questions about what they saw and how their interaction went.

The types of users on our site

As we were moving forward with this work, we sought to explicitly define people who inhabit our site, so it could be like a magnetic compass to our design and functionality roadmap. We broadly outlined two kinds of people. The first were users who need to listen to a specific radio, without any offline replacement – for example, a case of this can be following your college basketball team that is only broadcasted by one station, where listening to other matches makes no sense. The second group of people were users that were exploring what was out there, wanting to find stations stations dedicated to a particular musical genre or stations from other parts of the world.

The challenge

Now that we had broadly defined these two groups of users, we continued with our work. The main issues from our old design that we picked up by learning from our users were the following three: the low ranking of the visual content, the saturation with text, and the inflexibility of the site structure to experience new ideas. So we sketched some high fidelity wireframes in order to try new ways of displaying content. As a first premise we wanted to maintain a structure of two thirds and one third. The first two-thirds would have the main content the user is expecting to find and the other third would have additional content that we judge as relevant to what the user is seeking.

We went through several iterations and testing until reaching the current profile:

streemaradioprofile-new

 

Changes
So, what changed?

  • Now the main actions are in the hotspot of the template, the most important being to listen to the station.
  • The clearest indicator of the radio, the name, is the central element of the interface, to help the user to recognize if they are in the right place.
  • The rest of the radio-related information, like bitrate, country, city, genre, description, etc., is no longer crammed along the page. Now it is sectioned into tabs to avoid visual pollution in the interface and to offer the user the possibility of accessing it only if they want to, as a progressive disclosure of the data.
  • We made a better distinction between comments and reviews. We relied not only on iconography but we also used a text alternative that is a sure sign of functionality, thus meeting WCAG accessibility standards

Anyway, now a few months have passed since we deployed the redesigned radio profile and the user metrics indicate that we are on the right track.

However, the last word is always yours, so if you have any additional feedback, please feel free to get in touch. 🙂

Exciting times at Streema, stay tuned!

The Streema Team

World Cup 2014 – Group Round is Over but Round of 16 is Coming Up!

Hi Streema Soccer Fans!

It’s been an awesome Group Round at the FIFA World Cup 2014 and the teams are now getting ready for the Round of 16, which starts in a few hours.

There were upsets, exciting games, and many surprises along the way. As expected, Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany and The Netherlands took the first place in their respective groups. On the other hand, previous World Cup 2010 Champion Spain started the tournament getting crushed by a Dutch team looking for revenge from the Final four years ago and didn’t make it past the Group Round. Equally surprising was that neither Italy nor England made it in the “Group of Death”, where Costa Rica emerged as one of the unexpected successes, advancing to the Round of 16 for the 2nd time in only four World Cup appearances.

As for the players, top players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Suarez unfortunately won’t continue in the World Cup, but for very different reasons: the first because his team couldn’t make it past the group stage and the second because he took a leaf from Hannibal Lecter’s playbook. Also, barring a miracle, it looks like Argentine forward Kun Agüero won’t recover in time from his slight injury to play in Argentina’s next game against Switzerland.

However, in the running for the Golden Shoe Award, top scorers Lionel Messi and Neymar Jr are doing their thing with 4 goals each, but Thomas Mueller is right up there with them for a three way tie, with six other players right behind with 3 goals. The previous World Cup top scorer, Mueller himself, had 5 goals at the end of the 2010 tournament, so it looks like this year’s leading scorer at the end on the World Cup will greatly exceed that number.

As for the matches coming up in the Round of 16, they are nonetheless are very exciting! Here’s a rundown of what’s coming up during the next four days:

Saturday June 28th
1pm Brazil vs Chile 
5pm Colombia vs Uruguay

Sunday June 29th
1pm Netherlands vs Mexico
5pm Costa Rica vs Greece

Monday June 30th
1pm France vs Nigeria
5pm Germany vs Algeria

Tuesday July 1st
1pm Argentina vs Switzerland
5pm Belgium vs USA

As usual, you can watch or listen to these games and more here at Streema. Have a great soccer weekend!

Stay tuned!

The Streema Team

World Cup – Some Surprises But Also Solid Play

What an exciting start to the World Cup! Not only have the fans from all over the world been cheering their hearts out, but also the Brazilian fans have been great hosts.

With all teams debuting this past few days in this edition of the tournament there’s definitely a lot to talk about! Of course, the surprises: defending champions Spain went down 5-1 against The Netherlands and must win their next match against Chile; and two-time World Cup winner Uruguay lost their initial match 3-1 against Costa Rica, having a very complicated road ahead.

There has also been some tough matches: Italy beat England in a clash of titans and Germany, France, and Colombia crushed their opponents. As for the four-time FIFA Player of the Year Award recipient Lionel Messi, his team, two-time World Cup winner Argentina showed why they are one of the favorites, but only in the 2nd half of the match against Bosnia.

This coming week will be a very exciting one for the World Cup, so check out what’s coming up! Will Uruguay and Spain stay alive? Will the Netherlands continue their masterful play?

Day 6 Tuesday June 17th
1pm Belgium vs Algeria
4pm Brazil vs Mexico
7pm Russia vs South Korea 

Day 7 Wednesday June 18th
1pm Australia vs Netherlands 
4pm Spain vs Chile
7pm Cameroon vs Croatia

Day 8 Thursday June 19th
1pm Colombia vs Ivory Coast
4pm Uruguay vs England
7pm Japan vs Greece

Day 9 Friday June 20th
1pm Italy vs Costa Rica
4pm Switzerland vs France
7pm Honduras vs Ecuador

Day 10 Saturday June 21st
1pm Argentina vs Iran
4pm Germany vs Ghana
7pm Nigeria vs Bosnia Herzegovina

Day 11 Sunday June 22nd
1pm Belgium vs Russia
4pm South Korea vs Algeria
7pm USA vs Portugal 

After these games are over, we’ll have the final matches of the Group Stage where teams will play simultaneously if they are in the same group, but more on that in the next blog post. In the mean time, enjoy the World Cup soccer at Streema!

Stay tuned!

The Streema Team

FIFA World Cup 2014 – Opening Ceremony, Brazil vs Croatia

Hi Streema (and Soccer) Fans,

The day has finally arrived! In just a few hours, at 4pm in São Paulo-time – or 3pm Eastern Time if you live in the US – the FIFA World Cup Opening Ceremony will get started. It will be a festive time and, to get you in the mood, here’s the music video of the Official 2014 FIFA World Cup Song, featuring Pitbull, Jennifer Lopez, Claudia Leitte, and the brazilian cultural group Olodum:

We Are One (Ole Ola)

 

Following the Opening Ceremony, the hosts Brazil will play Croatia and the biggest sporting event in the world will get rolling!

Here at Streema we’ve been working hard to provide you with a way to watch and listen to World Cup games on our more than 70,000 radio stations and 8,000 tv stations in our directory. And to make your life easier, we just wanted to let you know of what’s coming up for the next few days:

Day 1 June 12th
5pm Brazil vs Croatia

Day 2 June 13th
1pm Mexico vs Cameroon
4pm Spain vs Netherlands
7pm Chile vs Australia

Day 3 June 14th
1pm Colombia vs Greece
4pm Uruguay vs Costa Rica
7pm England vs Italy
10pm Ivory Coast vs Japan

Day 4 June 15th
1pm Switzerland vs Ecuador
4pm France vs Honduras
7pm Argentina vs Bosnia Herzegovina

Hope you’ll enjoy the World Cup as much as we do. 🙂 Stay tuned!

The Streema Team

Improving Radio Player Performance at Streema

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

New Homepage for Streema.com

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

The Olympic Games are coming… follow them on Radio at Streema!

We’re about a month away from the next Olympic Games which will be held in London.  For those that didn’t know, London will become the first city to host the Olympic Games three times – the two previous being 1908 and 1948.

The 2012 Summer Olympic Games will start on July 27th and end on August 12th, where 205 nations will compete in 26 sports divided into 39 disciplines.  This will be followed by the 2012 Paralympic Games, from August 29th to September 9th, where 147 nations will take part in the competition.

The excitement generated by the Olympics is worldwide and it will be followed globally through TV, Radio, Newspapers… and of course, the Web. The media has traditionally played a significant role in this event, although one can say that this role has evolved a lot since the last time the Olympics were held in London!

Once again, the BBC will be the main broadcaster providing a special program from July 25th to August 13th, and in addition, many UK radio stations will follow the event, a few of which follow below:

We look forward to see an amazing show, where athletes value progress over victory, respect over rivalry, and motivation over fear. We also hope the best for your favorite countries, athletes and disciplines. 🙂

Stay tuned!

The Streema Team