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Saturday, January 09, 2010

Linearity – A new media user experience

The Kindle gave me an idea for a new user experience for media. I call it  Linearity. The concept is dead simple: The user experience is rendered into pages and the user only clicks next page. This is just like reading on a Kindle or on a e-book.

I think Linearity  works for all kind of media. Imagine if one has a powerful contextual engine that learns your interests, and assembles optimised media pages that is serves proactively in the background and is ready when user clicks next. If the next page is not interesting one just shakes the device and a new page is rendered. Mood signalling, and monetisation needs to be integrated.

If the contextual engine is influenced by what your friends are reading in real-time, what people locally are reading and what is relevant and interesting for me then it should be ‘Water Cooler moment safe’ meaning that one should be able to participate in conversations taking place where people congragate to chat about what is going on in their worlds.
If the Linearity concept is enhanced with a voice search and command interface it should be able to build even better pages.
The benefits with Linearity is that it is highly scalable for different physical formats, something that will be reality in mobility also going forward.
Lineraity would not replace the browsable web, just complement it. I am convinced that the Web we have now is not good for mobility. It has two problems : Layout, optimised for 13” and above it has structure encouraging hyperlinking and free-form browsing. It has been designed for maximum flexibility and thus by nature it requires involvement, which is cumbersome when being mobile. There are only three ways to mobilize the current Internet: First is to enable the devices to run it, this requires powerful devices, great user interfaces and fast networks. The end result is compromised as long as the PC screen is bigger than the phone screen and I think that is forever as mobile devices needs to be one-hand operated. This method I call keyhole browsing. The other way is transcoding. Here the machine(server) reformats the content for mobility. This generates a significant compromise. The last alternative is optimisation and that is what the Apps in the end are. They are optimised mobile pages.
Linearity is different, though it has similarities to transcoding until material is published for Linearity according to some Linearity conventions. It is a low-involvement user experience from interaction point of view, which thus would work great for mobiles. It does not try to retain the hyperlinking nature of the pages, they are simply stripped into media rather than webpages. The user could pick it up and read, press next page and loads instantly as it has been generated before, compressed on the server and is loaded as needed. It is thus very transient and easy to dive into and out of.
Once we have a system like Linearity in place then magazines can publish to it using some standards of metadata,. Media can be free other can cost.
If anyone writing iPhone apps is reading this, I challenge you to build a little app to test this concept. I am happy to be involved. It would require a server component that would build the pages and track users preferences. This might exist, if it does do tip me and I will check it out.
I think this would be a wonderful way to read on a device like an iPod touch or an iPhone.

01:23 PM in Technology | Permalink


How different is it from Google Reader on an iPhone - using Byline for example?

Posted by: Hampus Jakobsson at Jan 10, 2010 1:42:30 PM

If the next page is not interesting one just shakes the device and a new page is rendered. Mood signalling, and monetisation needs to be integrated.

Posted by: sdhc video card at Feb 24, 2010 12:17:32 PM