After several months of hard work and lots of lasagna, Watchup 2.0 has finally hit the iPad AppStore. Launching the 1.0 version of the app at the MIT Media Lab last year, as part of our Knight News Challenge victory, and running it every day, has been a incredibly useful and learning experience.
Overall, Watchup 2.0 offers frictionless watching for those times when you just want to lean back and relax… But the app is now also getting you covered for those moments when you sit on your couch and want to interact with the iPad further (“lean forward”, they say), by offering related articles to read while you’re watching a video. In a way, we’re breaking down the barriers between a video aggregator and a news reader to become the first video-centric news reader in the market. Why only read when you can actually watch a video, too? It’s a second screen experience… all on your iPad.
Curious on why we got there? Here’s are the details about how the app has changed with our latest (patent pending) interface:
1. Frictionless watching
You don’t open Watchup anymore. You turn it on. And your newscast will just play continuously. No work required, anymore.
The first version of Watchup was all about letting you pick the videos you wanted, in order to manually assemble your newscast. We then realized that some people were intimidated by the mere fact of choosing or they simply didn’t have the time to do so.
2. A la carte browsing
Now, if you still want to retain control over your newscast, and want to choose the videos you want to watch, you can browse à la carte, channel by channel, by dragging the upper panel down.
This is a functionality for our power users who like staying in control. Just touch a video to either queue it up or just play it immediately.
3. Watch & Read
Need context? Drag our right handle in to read articles that are related to the video you’re watching.
The fact is that not all the videos require your full attention and not all the videos come with the necessary context. So why not perusing an article while watching a video?
4. Add up to 20 channels to your lineup
In the previous version of the app we had intentionally limited the number of channels you can subscribe to to 10. We have now brought that limit to 20 to let you watch more channels but we are still keeping a limit to your watching experience so that your interface doesn’t become too crowded.
It’s a specific design decision that we believe can help you maintain a clean experience based around an idea of quality.
5. Radical Lasagna Design
Our “A la carte” browsing and “Watch & Read” functions are part of what we call… “lasagna design”. This approach let us augment your news experience with several layers of content and functionalities.
If you like keeping up with the news and want a rich multimedia experience, Watchup is the app for you. Thank you to all our users for your great feedback and send more feedback as we keep improving the experience!