We got a BT Sport subscription last month to watch Champions League and Europa League matches. The stream (we watch on the TV using Chromecast) often paused and skipped, often over entire plays, and at least once over a long sequence including the goal. It was terrible.
Before the finals, we remembered that BT Sport streams the two finals free on YouTube. So, halfway through the Europa cup final, I switched to streaming from YouTube. It was flawless. There was no pause-and-skip. At all! For the Champions League final, I didn’t even bother switching on the BT Sport app, and went direct to watching on YouTube.
BT Sport isn’t the only company with a terrible live streaming product. Eurosport player’s pause-and-skip is terrible, making all sports unwatchable. ITV is so aware of its terrible product that it doesn’t even offer live streaming on Chromecast, only recorded programs are available. These are just the ones I’ve tried1.
This got me thinking. YouTube has some of the best2 streaming infrastructure and knowhow. For instance, they understand that continuity is more important than quality in live streaming, so their algorithm dynamically reduces video quality instead of pausing live streams. They have content delivery deals with most network providers globally, helping reduce lag and data transfer. They basically already have all the infrastructure for a successful streaming platform.
What would Amazon have done if it owned YouTube in its current state? They would have productised the YouTube streaming platform, a la AWS and Amazon logistics, and opened it up for any company to use.
Since its founding, Twitter has made a religion of listening to users. After all, they came up with some of the company’s best ideas — including the hashtag, reply and retweet. After the flow of good ideas from users stopped, Twitter was hard-pressed to come up with its own.
By integrating ‘reading’ and ‘writing’ in the same app, you’re forcing the bigger user group1 to also confront tools designed for the smaller user group.
On mobile – skewed by design more towards consumption, than creation – I assume the disparity in these two user groups is even bigger.
Having a standalone reader app, allows it to reach a much larger use case – ‘Help people follow, read, discover’.
Compare this to current use case – install it if you…
post to WordPress frequently from mobile, or
love reading in WordPress reader, despite having little use for other three tabs – write, manage, and notifications?!
A really good standalone reader helps plug in a singular user need2 – reading. That need, in terms of following blogs and websites, only rarely overlaps with the other need that the app currently fulfils – writing.
Though it will place it in competition with feed readers like Feedly, it also has 2 unique benefits as well:
Close integration with a writing platform (related posts, comment & like directly from reader),
The abandoned Google Reader audience that just wants to follow and read feeds, without being overwhelmed with magazine interfaces and more.
A good, successful reader mobile app with large user-base will, eventually, help close the RoI loop: suggest (through ‘discover’) other WordPress/Jetpack blogs, creating an incentive (or delivering reward) for creators using WordPress.
One definition of readers and writers:
– Writers: 7-day active writers – users who posted at-least once a week.
– Readers: Unique visitors per week – including logged-in users, not-logged-in readers, and from feed readers.
Another definition (more relevant to determining use case ratios):
– Writing: Posts /week.
– Reading: Page views /week – again, including not-logged-in readers, and from feed readers. ↩
Should some day also write a similar, smaller, post on WordPress Calypso’s interface – how it needs to be split from current two, into three sections. Currently, the ‘write’ and the ‘manage’ use cases are mixed into the same tab, while ‘read’ is in its own.
Ideally, ‘write’ and ‘read’ – each a singular, frequent use case – should have their own tabs. ‘Manage’ can be in a far-removed tab, or behind a ‘manage’ button. ↩
A minimal, no-frills blogging app with markdown editing2, inline tagging support3, and draft auto-sync4 to WordPress and Medium
I find WordPress‘ editor too cluttered (despite the distraction-free mode), and Medium‘s too fiddly-gimmicky. In fact, I write most of my posts these days in another Automattic product – Simplenote, and then copy it to my WordPress blogs, or Medium for final editing, formatting, etc.
My WordCounter Chrome app already supports Markdown Extra. Reusing that code, adding Medium & WordPress API support, and adding a #tag parser shouldn’t take long. The only question is do I care about it enough to prioritise it over all the other stuff that’s on the backlog?
For the last couple of months that I’ve had this idea, the answer has been no.
I’m sorry. This is yet another post1 on more UX/UI mess that keeps bothering me.
Starting with something I recently started using after 8+ years – Facebook. FB earned a reprieve from the tech press after its change of heart on native smartphone apps. But their Android app is still way below par for what is the primary user interface for vast proportion of their users.