This morning, we’ve launched the latest version of our award-winning iPad app, Showyou.
We’ve been working hard on this version of the app for many months, and thought some of you might like to hear about the thinking behind this very big update.
Over the summer, we started looking at how people were using Showyou, and who was getting the greatest benefit and the most enjoyment from it. And two things caught our attention: that a lot more video comes through our users’ Twitter feeds than their Facebook feeds; but, conversely, more people connect Showyou to Facebook than to Twitter. If you connected Showyou to both Twitter and Facebook, you’d have an amazing experience. But, of course, not everyone has an account on both of these networks.
So the question was, how could we make the app better for everyone, but particularly for people who don’t use social networks, or weren’t seeing many videos from the social networks they do use? How could we make it easier for them discover people and channels on Showyou that they might like to follow? How could we make it easier to browse collections of videos they might like?
This new version of the app makes it easier to find people and channels you might want to follow, and gives you new and fun ways to browse videos you might want to watch. When you sign up, we now connect you not only to your friends already on the app, but to the friends of your friends. You can slide the grid to the right to open our new tray to browse and explore by category. It’s a great new way to find channels you might want to watch, or follow.
There are other new, fun ways to find interesting people on Showyou. When you watch a video, you can see all the people on Showyou who have shared it; just tap an icon for one of those users to visit their grid. It’s a great, fun way to find people who share your tastes, and to see what else they’ve shared. Just follow the people on Showyou who are sharing great videos, and you’ll see those in your grid.
Another thing we learned from talking with people using the app was that they loved the fun open-ended nature of the 2D grid, but that they wanted to be able to zoom in to see videos from a specific social network, or someone they were following, and to be able to browse those videos in a more structured, linear way so as not to miss anything.
So this new version of Showyou has a wonderful new way to zoom from the more free-form 2D grid down to a specific 1D grid that you can scroll vertically. Just tap a user icon to go to that user’s grid. Or, tap the Twitter or Facebook icons to see grids of videos from your friends and people you follow on those networks.
In addition to zooming to 1D grids from the 2D grid, you can also use our new tray to navigate to other, related grids. No matter where you are on the app, you can swipe open the Showyou tray and it will offer both context and browsing options related to the grid you’re on.
Open up the tray from the 2D grid and you can navigate to specific social network grids or to category grids. Open the tray when you’re on a category grid, and you’ll see a list of channel grids by category. Open the tray when you’re on a profile grid, and you’ll see additional information about that person, and a list of people they’re following as well as a list of their followers. It’s just a swipe away.
A lot of this sounds simple, and easy, but getting these new interactions right took many months. We started the planning for this version right after our last update in August, and began work in earnest on this version in October, with many, many iterations to get to this version we’re launching today. We would design, build, play with and test the app, then repeat. We wanted to make going from the 2D grid to these 1D grids simple, easy and understandable. And we wanted to make the tray both fun to use and a useful resource, always a swipe away.
In the end, even though this is technically an update to our app, we probably put as much work into building this version as we did making the very first version of Showyou we launched in April 2011. We’re really proud of what we’ve built, and we’re excited for people to try it out and to hear your thoughts on how we can make Showyou better still.