Wednesday, September 3, 2014

KEXP's Streaming Archive is simple and intuitive

KEXP is a Seattle, WA public radio station which broadcasts all over the world via its website and mobile app. Their format is consistent and brilliant - their DJs play a lot of the stuff I like including many new and old under the radar artists (Dum Dum Girls, Elbow, Adorable, Stone Roses). And they have weekly shows like Roadhouse (Wednesday night) which specializes in genres like Roots and Americana.

For those who miss any of the weekly programming, KEXP has a new feature - a 14 day streaming archive (currently in beta) where you can search the station's archive according to times, shows or hosts. This takes the place (if I recall) of an older archive feature which was difficult to use. KEXP, though publicly funded, seems to always be investing in the user experience of their listeners  - they recently redesigned their website with better usability and visual design and their iPad app is very engaging.

Overall, the streaming archive user experience is simple and intuitive. Navigating to it was easy - On Demand > Streaming Show Archive. And the options for searching the archive were very clear - by Time, Hosts or Shows and each of the sections has a uses a consistent interaction model. Select an item (for example, Hosts then Cheryl Waters) and it turns yellow indicating it's selected and it also expands to display additional options like show times where you can specify down to the minute where you want the stream to begin. And each level of detail you select also turns yellow so you can easily review what you've selected (yellow and black are part of their palette and they're used effectively). From there, you select a streaming quality and then click the Launch Player button which opens the player in another window.

The only areas for improvement would be...
  • The position of the Launch Player button  - I would suggest moving it to the right and the quality options to the left since that matches the work flow better (I select quality first and then launch the player) and
  • Reference the name of the host when I drill in via Time or Shows. For example, if I select a specific time for the Midday Show (hosted by Cheryl), I expect to see her name and avatar. If I navigate only via Time or Shows, see the host's name would help new listeners draw a connection between the host and the show/time and possibly encourage them to discover more programs for that host.

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