User Experience: its a fine art

Its just dawned on me that achieving good User Experience is a very subtle thing… but a very powerful thing.

I would go so far as to say that the most powerful feature you can add to a product is a new way of using it.

Twitter is that.

  1. With Twitter you can post public messages… so what, you can do that with blogs
  2. With Twitter you can post messages to your friends … so what, you can do that with IM
  3. With Twitter you can SMS people via a web interface … so what, you can do that with Skype
  4. etc.

The difference (or one of them) is that with Twitter you can do all that from that IM app which is ready and waiting… sitting on your desktop… very quick and easy.

I think Dave Winer’s “river of news” angle on RSS is the same … its not about the feature, its about how a feature can incite new usage patterns that empowers the user.

So all that makes me think … well, how can I apply these conceps to ambisonia.com … and more broadly, to the distribution of surround sounds to the home theatre.

Theoretically, the torrent enclosures in RSS feeds should make it very easy for people to access the files… but playing the files is difficult. The best solution would be to be able to offer the public an ambisonic player that also be responsible for subscribing to and downloading the files.

getdemocracy.com and getfireant.com are both media players with built-in torrent enabled RSS subscribers. If one of them could also play ambisonic files, then we would be very close. Getdemocracy uses VLC and Xine … neither of which use Mplayer (I think).

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