changing the channel on web browsing

November 7th, 2009 § 3 comments


now that we’ve launched, i’m happy to be able, finally, to talk about the lovely litl webbook and some technical details about flash-based channels. before i talk shop (which i’ll save for my next post) i should probably explain what we mean by channels. i am seeing some blogs use the word widget which misses some important subtleties about the channel experience.

you are probably familiar with the idea of channels from television. you sit down on your comfortable sofa, perhaps with family or a few friends, turn the tv on, and flip to a channel with a show you like.

now imagine that instead of flipping to a tv channel, you use the remote control to flip to your favorite website. you need an experience that allows you to enjoy the content from across the room -- preferably offering you up the newest, most relevant bits in an uncluttered, distilled way so that you can just lean back and enjoy it like a tv show.

step in litl channels. channel is the term we use to describe optimizing the web browsing experience for this new way of experiencing internet content that blurs the line between computer and tv. it's your favorite internet recipe propped up on the kitchen counter, your favorite webisodes of popular tv shows autoplaying while you brush your teeth, your syndicated news updates and your social networking, all easily experienced throughout your house instead of at your desk.

truth be told, this passive, tv-like experience (which can actually be hooked up to a tv using an HDMI cable) is just one of three “views” of the channel. it’s the view that you see when you’ve flipped your litl into easel mode with the mouse and keyboard tucked neatly out of sight. when you do surf your web content in the traditional laptop mode, there are also a small, at-a-glance view that we call card view, and a fully mouse-and-keyboard-interactive view that we call full view.

together these three views make a channel. and together, channels make the litl a whimsical, fun, and unique way of experiencing web content.

in the next post, i’ll geek out on how actionscript and the litl became bffs.

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