Streema Player Shortcuts

Today we wanted to share a little feature that we developed a while ago for our desktop users, but that very few know about: Player Shortcuts.

We humans love to be productive, so when new hardware or a piece of software solve a problem for us, we feel reaaaally good. Many times something is beautiful or awesome, but other times it’s more about speed and efficiency: something that could have taken days to do, is now done in just hours; something that could have taken hours now takes minutes; and something that used to take seconds, now only takes milliseconds. And the last one is the case we want to share.

As you might know, many of the Radio Stations listed in our directory display their Now Playing information. So now, with these Player Shortcuts, instead of using your mouse, we’ve enabled:

  • The ← → arrows of your keyboard to browse that info.
  • The spacebar plays (or stops) the audio.

Check it out!

We’re also now considering the ↑ ↓ arrows for increasing and decreasing the volume. Would that be useful? Please let us know!

Bear in mind this feature may not work in every browser, but we can assure it does work in Chrome, Firefox and IE version 8 and above.

Stay tuned!

The Streema Team

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.

Another “Before and After” in Streema’s History: Player Opens In A Separate Window

Every once in a while, we have a “Before and After” moment in Streema’s development – and today, we’ve got one of those. From now on, when playing any station on the Streema.com website, our website’s player will open in a separate window, as it currently does on our popular Facebook application.  We understand that many of you are probably thinking “So what’s the big deal?”, but this is a change that will help us build a better Streema and we’ll explain how in the paragraphs below.

One of the features that we’ve traditionally been very proud of was our embedded player, since it allowed users to navigate Streema without the stream getting cut off.  But this meant that there were tradeoffs to be made in terms of loading time, usability, search engine crawleability, availability of station information, etc.  At this point, it made sense for us to not make those tradeoffs anymore, and while it’s difficult to explain all the pros and cons in a single blog post, here’s a quick summary of how users will benefit:

  • A site that is more in line with what’s usually experienced on the web – for example, players usually open in a different window on most media sites and the URL of the page you are visiting usually appears on the browser’s address bar!
  • Station stream won’t stop if you happen to click on an ad on our website – this was important because many ad networks will not open up in a separate window.
  • Much faster site, in particular for first time users.  Many people will be reeeeally happy about this.
  • Better and more complete radio station information at your finger tips, specifically located in our website’s player, and allowing for more interactivity in the future – at least that’s what the plan is!  🙂

We know there will be some of you that will miss our embedded player, but we do hope you understand this big change and maybe eventually you will come to enjoy it.  We worked hard in the past with our embedded player (you can read more here and here), but we think it’s time to take Streema to another level, and we believe this will help us build the foundation to get there.

Do note that if anything is not working as you expected, please let us know, as your feedback is really important for us.

Stay tuned!

The Streema Team

The Streema Radio Widget is finally here!

Today we are reeeeaaally happy to announce we’ve released the first version of the Streema Widget!!  This has been one of the most requested features, so we hope you really enjoy it!

The widget enables anybody to grab a simple piece of code from our site and bring radio into your blog, website or social profile. In order to play a radio, it calls up a pop-up player (very similar to the one used in our application for Facebook Pages), so that people can continue browsing your site while enjoying a great station chosen by you.

Check out how it works right here in this blog post for Radio Orbital (to grab the code for this station, go here). If you want to select another radio station, just go to our radio directory, go to a station’s profile, and once there, click on “Get this Radio Widget”.



Although we know this is a basic version, we want to let you know that we’d still love to launch a wider family of widgets, where you’ll be able to customize the color, dimension, and appearance.  Remember, the more feedback you give us about this, the better it will get. 🙂

Stay tuned!

The Streema Team

Facebook Application was down, but recently relaunched better than ever!

Hi everybody,

For those of you that tune in via our Facebook application, a few weeks ago you likely experienced severe loading problems.  The problem appeared to be on Facebook platform side, and unfortunately, we have to say that we didn’t receive all the assistance we needed to solve it as soon as possible.

But the good news is that we’ve took the opportunity to make huge changes in how our application interacts with the platform – in other words, all the stuff that you can’t necessarily see but that keep the application running!  These changes now make our application less susceptible to these platform issues, but one downside of this is that in order to upload this new version as soon as possible, we had to temporarily disable our “Recommendations” section and a few small features.  But be patient, we’ll be back with it as soon as possible. 🙂

With this new upload, we also took the opportunity to include other things we were working on previously, such as the new pop up player we announced a couple of months ago.  This popup was designed using the style of our Streema.com website, which means that it hides the Windows Media or the Real Audio players, but keeps the play/stop and volume buttons.  Bear in mind, though, that you’ll still need to have these two media players installed on your computer!  See our FAQs for alternative media players.

As you might imagine, this launch was not prepared with all the care that we would’ve like, but at least our application is now up and running again!  If you find any bugs, please feel free to report them.

Anyway, thank you again for your patience and understanding.

Stay tuned!

The Streema Team

Finally! A better radio player on Streema

So, we just rolled out a new version of our player this week and wanted to make a quick announcement about it!

Before we let you in on the details, we wanted to say that rather than “seeing” the change, you’ll actually experience the difference.

Essentially, when tuning in to a radio on Streema…

  • No matter which Operating System you have: Windows, OS X, Ubuntu (or any Linux related)…
  • No matter which Browser you are using: Internet Explorer 7.0/8.0, Firefox 2 or above, Safari, Chrome, Opera…
  • And no matter which players and plug-ins you’ve installed: Windows Media Player, Real Audio, Flash, etc…

… our new player will find the best player / plug-in combination for your computer.  And our new algorithm is much better than our previous one!

What does this mean for you?  Simply put, you’ll be able to tune in to a greater number of stations than before.  That makes us very happy.  🙂

Anyway, hope you continue enjoying your favorite radio stations, and more than ever, your feedback with this new player will be welcomed.  Please, if you find anything not working properly, let us know!

For those Facebook users out there, this new player will be rolled out on our Facebook application (Streema Radio Tuner) over the next few weeks.

Stay tuned!

The Streema Team