Rich User Experiences
Welcome back all and for those of you here for the first time a big hello to you too and thanks for visiting! As you may or may not know this week is the 4th in an 8 part series discussing and exploring the Web 2.0 Patterns of Success as described by Tim O’Reilly.
This week’s pattern is “Rich User Experiences”, which can be succinctly described as providing users with web applications that extend beyond that of the single web page mentality and provide the types of experiences usually associated with desktop applications. For example, no longer is simply doing one action with your online content sufficient, if you want a truly successful web application in today’s online community, you need to provide something that lets users do much more than simply “consume”. Why not let them interact, change and broadcast their own content? Vimeo is an online video application that allows you to do just this; you can watch, learn, upload, edit, sell, connect and subscribe to other users and their videos all whilst interacting through your own Vimeo profile.
Unlike YouTube, Vimeo is (as described by Ian in Sparkloft’s article comparing the two platforms) targeted to a much more niche audience that that is “centered on good filmmaking and inspiring videos” and predominantly populated by “a more professional crowd, made up of filmmakers and film enthusiasts”. This is important when reviewing how Vimeo stacks up against the best practices that O’Reilly defines because the needs of these users are different to those of most.
Combine the best of desktop & online experiences
Vimeo does this through its two very distinct applications for use, to watch and to upload. By enabling users to add audio tracks to their videos as well as apply filters to alter their appearance. Whilst this is a fraction of their capabilities, it is somewhat similar to some post production software available such as Adobe Premiere.
Usability and simplicity first
This is where Vimeo shines, its simple and intuitive user interface make it very easy to use and again differs from YouTube due to its intended audience. As Marco @ FilmShortage points out in his article, the aesthetics of Vimeo provide “no visual distractions and an easy navigation viewers are more likely to watch your film to the very end”.
Search over structure
As in using search functions and other algorithms in order to find the types of content you’re after. Vimeo uses tags/channels/groups much like YouTube to do this but they also provide a “feed” function which is very cool indeed. This is a bit like your Facebook News Feed, but is populated with videos from the people, groups or channels that you follow as well as the occasional staff pick. What is super cool about this is that you can even follow tags and get them showing up in your feed.
Preserve content addressability
What’s meant by this is to try and provide a more seamless experience for the user. One of the ways that Vimeo does this is through its “Couch Mode”, which is a function that lets you watch collections of videos in full-screen whilst still utilising many of Vimeo’s other functions, such as “likes”, “watch later” etc. Check out the video below, it’s awesome.
Deep, adaptive personalization
Vimeo does not automatically adapt as you use it like YouTube does based on your viewing history, but it does let you adapt and control what videos appear on your feed. Through the people, groups, channels and tags that you follow it does however provide “related” videos that may be of interest to you.
Personally I think Vimeo is a great site that does a lot of great things however I would love to see it adapt further and utilize some of the functionalities used by social networks such as Google+ or Facebook. I want to connect with friends, colleagues and peers to share videos, experiences and knowledge through a positive and productive outlet. What do you guys think? Knowledge transfer is already the central focus of Vimeo, so could you use a social space within it to help perpetuate this? Let me know in the comments section!