User interface and content discovery in video sharing applications

I’ve came across TVTonic after watching an interview with their president on The ScobleShow (great show by the way, add it to your favorite RSS reader).

TV-Tonic has a media center approach to user interface, as you can see in the screenshot below:


As such, the interface itself is clean and aimed at remote control usage. It offers thematic channels, that are combined of specific shows (that from some strange reason are also called shows) . It has a small client that mainly handles video prefetching, and the user interface itself is based on Internet Explorer.

Democracy player has an application that has full functionality as a guide, video downloader/prefetcher and channel guide. Its user interface looks like a website, with various interest area, as you can see from this screenshot:


Who cares?

As I’ve mentioned before, content discovery is a major problem in the industry today. There are a lot of shows, in various topics, and new ones are added daily. How can a user find a new show to watch?

The fact is that I’ve almost never managed to find new interesting shows in Democracy guide. the UI is too clattered, to many moving objects are distracting my attention, and the guide never fits the screen. Two minutes after installing TV-Tonic, I’ve found 7 new ones (I will write about them in later posts). All due to the clear and clean interface, strong channel distinction, and easy signup to new shows. This fact should not be taken lightly.

My main takeaway from this experience:

1. In some cases, less is more, especially when talking about UI

2. Always try new video sharing sites and products. There is still room for innovation in this space.

3. Sometimes complicated issues such as content discovery have simple solution

4. Watch the Scobleshow – you never know what will happen next 🙂

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