New Features Prototypes

I’ve just posted two prototype HTML pages for some forthcoming IT Conversations features and I’m looking for feedback. (Add a comment here or send email to doug@rds.com.)

The first is a Personal Profile editing page. It should be self explanatory.

The second page is to manage a Personal Podcast/RSS Feed. This one should be self explanatory, but that’s where I need your help. In case it’s not obvious, the idea is that each registered IT Conversations member will have the ability to manage his/her own RSS feed by selecting which programs should be included based on a variety of criteria. The motivation for this feature is that new listeners in particular are put off by the quantity and variety of programs and need help sifting through the archives. Likewise, podcatchers want a way to control what gets automatically downloaded into their MP3 players.

Remember, these are just prototype pages. They don’t do anything, the links are bogus and the supporting JavaScript automation hasn’t been coded.

As we’re still discussing on the wiki, it’s possible that these new features may only be available to members who pay an annual fee. But it’s my hope that there will be no tollgate impeding access to the programs themselves.

17 thoughts on “New Features Prototypes

  1. Making such personalizations available on pay seems okay with me.
    Some notes on it:

    “Here’s your Personal Feed in RSS (XML)
    And here’s a viewable version of your feed”
    both should have text links also.

    “Configure your Personal Podcast/RSS Feed using the options below.”
    what happens, if I don’t check anything?

    Exclude programs already in your queue
    does mean what?

    General options agains “Series or Topic Include in Feed?”
    which of both has more power? Which choices will take place if there are different settings?

    “Include a maximum of items in the feed”
    is the only include in a big list of exclude.
    What happens with the rest if I have more then 20 queued?

    What is the difference between programs / series / topic?

    “Default (new programs that don’t fit any of the following categories)”`should be marked better to stand out better.

    Each category should have a ‘default category’. I might want to have everything new in IT Conversations, but stay away with everything new from Conferences!! (i do infact like them very much, jsut to give you an idea)

    Each subcategory needs as ‘handle as general default / category default’ If checked so, the other options won’t be available

    “only if rated” means I will only receive files it they have a rating x – but they perhaps will only have this rating after 14 days – which I might have set as the time to which I don’t want them anymore.

    User view: Save button is at the top after some selections – how do I save decisions from the bottom?

    ~~~~
    Send an email ballot
    – hours after I listen to a stream
    – hours after I download a program

    are there people who do both? In case not, you don’t need differen’t choices.

    “Never send ballots. I don’t want to rate programs this way.”
    Negative writing.

    “Giving your opinion matters to us. There is an easy way you can help us improve making IT Conversations better for you. After a time chosen from you we can send you an email with a link to just click and rate.”
    [ ] Please send me the ballot ____ hours after listening / downloading
    Suggested times: 1 hour after end of stream / hours after downloading
    This way you have your ballot ticket easy in your mailbox.

    [ ] Please do not send me ballots, I will go directly to the website and rate
    [ ] No ballots for me, I am not interested in getting better suggestions.

    Something like that.

    bye
    NIcole

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  2. Doug,
    this form would be an excellent candidate for a flash remoting app. there are different dimensions of variables at work here and it would be more elegant to adjust different parameters and dynamically display the feeds meeting those criteria. then once you have it the way you like, save the profile. to see an example of what i’m describing look here:
    http://www.iokio.biz/demos/camerafinder/
    instead of the pic of each camera, substitute a pic of the speaker for that feed. That interface alone into the ITconversation material would justify a decent subscription fee. flash remoting is platform independent and should work w/ php (though i’ve only done it w/ coldfusion).
    cheers
    Sean

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  3. Looks good. Go for it.

    As a minor and entirly optional addition; I find that I occasionally like to browse lower rated entries on discussion sites just to see what’s there. Adding the ability to select ‘3 and below’ as well might be nice, though not at all necessary.

    Two questions;

    * If these feeds will not require payment at some point (?) why require registration to enable the custom RSS feed?

    Personally, if I get the whole feed and don’t like something…I’ll just skip it. Simple as skiping a channel on the radio. With broadband, there’s no point in pre-filtering most of the time. If I could customize the feed easily — and the forms do look good and easy to use — I’ll do it…saving your severs some pain.

    * Any thought on adding a Bittorrent option to the feed?

    I’m not currently using a BT aware client (Bashpodder) though I am looking at switching to one so that I can lessen the load on the podcasters out there…IT Conversations included. (I have over 4gb of audio cached here now — and that’s after purging about 2gb a couple weeks ago.)

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  4. Andy, these features will require registration and login simply because I need to identify you in order to create *your* feeds. And not using BitTorrent yet, but I probably will in the first quarter next year. Thanks. …doug

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  5. Have you considered appending multiple topic tags to each broadcast, a la del.icio.us? The logical extension to that would be to allow users to tag the broadcasts too, in addition to rating them, in their feedback (this latter would admittedly introduce some more complex issues). Also, the topic info could be used as a filter for the categories—so I could choose to only get items from Bloggercon about RSS and advertising etc.

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  6. You could run the ballots through the rss feeds as well, particularly if you’ve a custom feed. Two other possibilities for selection: 1 a random item, 2 based on a reviewer/critic whose opinion I value – you for instance. The exclude based on date is presumably relative to today, rather than a specific date.

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  7. This looks great. I’d be willing to pay for this functionality. I’ve been waiting for someone to do personalized RSS feeds. I think that EarningsCast could benefit from this type of personalization as well. Do you have plans to package this up and make it available at as a WordPress plug-in or a stand alone PHP app?

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  8. I like the “never send a ballot” option. Similarly the program selection stuff is cool.

    I’d still like to be able to override that though, if there’s a “add this to my podcast queue” link with each item I think I’ll have the best of both worlds

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  9. The “Podcast/RSS feed” stuff looks awesome for configuration. Although I’m thinking that’s still going to look overwhelming to a new user.

    I’m not clear if I mark “gilmore gang” as NO but they do a show about one of my topics of interest, do I still get it. (It would probably be nice to).

    Speaking of new users: Some of the descriptions of sessions even when scrolling through the library are hard to figure out. Lot’s of “john smith leads ________________ at bloggercon” but no indication as to what “____________” is.

    Maybe what’s needed is a 90 second “What’s new this week feed” which gives you a verbal description of new shows. So new users (and old) could get that and hear what’s going on in all the feeds. Maybe I don’t care about one of the categories but they might cover something that I am interested in. Or an e-mail which tells you about recent ‘casts AND has a link in it so if you are interested in it, it automatically adds it to your feed 🙂

    Awesome service as always!
    Thanks,
    Gary

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  10. I am a simple listener. This simple interface would help me to get straight to the type of content that I would like to hear. I just started listening to podcasting about 2 weeks ago. It was IT Conversations that brought me into it.

    I don’t think I would be willing to pay for just that feature. But that is only because I am new and haven’t understood the benefits of the total service.

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  11. I think that restricting it to Paid Only would be doing yourself a disservice. By using the preferences, you will (most likely) end up with people downloading only what MP3s they want and will listen to. That means less bandwidth usage for you sending people files they don’t want.

    With strict and tight structuring of the data, I imagine that you would be able to get less of a detriment due to performance and space-usage then you would by having listeners download files they don’t want.

    I’d say “go free”, even to the point of requiring RSS listeners to create their own feed.

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  12. I just dumped the iPodderX client since NetNewsWire has good support for enclosures and podcasting, in general. So how is this relevant? I’m not sure the best solution is an automatic one… but rather concerns the interface and availability of textual or visual information accompanying the audio cast. Now that I’m using NetNewsWire, I can easily choose the podcasts that I want to download and listen to… content is summarized in text that’s quick to scan. Couple this with search techniques and now you’ve got a great solution. Hmmm.. reminds me of gmail…

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  13. I had my personal program queue feed. I’d subscribed it with ipodder 1.1.4 buti it doesn’t download anything. So i tried BlogMatrix Jager: it works, but not so well: let me explain you.
    I subscribe the queue feed and in my queue there are 5 items, 5 enclosures. Jager start downloading all of them, one after one. Then i shutdown it. I go adding another couple of item in my queue (without removing the others) and then i run Jager. It does not only download the 2 new item but downloads another time the first 5, overwriting them to the original ones.
    Probably the error is mine either for ipodder and for jager, but i tried to solve it without success.
    Could you help me?
    For jager: have i to remove the old items in my queue before adding new? If so, it seems to me not so userfriendly since keeping trace of every podcast i’ve download seems to me necessary.

    Let me know.
    (sorry for my not so good english)

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  14. I like the “Your Program Queue” very much and I’m using it all the time. “Personal Podcast” is another kind of RSS feed that sounds promising. I have an idea for a third kind of feed, one which isn’t for me but for other people whom I want to recommend the IT conversations. I often find myself pointing friends to recently listened conversations that I liked. It would be nice if this could be automated, so that I can point them to a RSS feed (call it “I recommend”) and they can always get those conversations that I liked. Of course I could hack it manually and just for my site, but if it were a feature of the itconversations.com it might drive more trafic to it. If people could link the “I love ITconverstions” button directly to the list of conversations they recommend, that could increase the number of people willing to put the button. The list could be generated automatically from ballot ratings.

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