Unboxing NowTV

It's not Sky, but it's got all their content. It's not Apple TV but the product design is just as good and it's not BT Vision because it's not overpriced.

In fact NowTV looks to be the quiet contender for the best TV UX on the market right now.

The product design is beautifully simple. You sign up for one or more package(s). The packages are not categorised by price point (they're all the same) but instead by content type. Entertainment, Sport or Movies. But amazingly you're not tied to your choice and you can easily add other content types, even for a single day.

The service is available over any device and they even offer a set top box to plug directly in to your TV.

The menus are as simple as the remote. All extraneous functions have been hidden away.

In fact it's so simple I was left expecting something else to happen. My experiences with Sky, BT, Virgin and the other usual suspects has conditioned me to complexity. NowTV really is that simple and the UI design across iOS, desktop and set top is very high quality. Elements of the website signup could be improved, but generally speaking it's a killer product.


Living with the Spotify redesign

It's been almost a month since Spotify launched a "fully redesigned" iPhone app.

The talk around how big the redesign was lead to a fairly disappointing first experience. Considering that this was billed as a "ground up" redesign, it's landed in a pretty similar place to the previous incarnation.

There are only hints of how the brand has been realigned on spotify.com (see the crowd photo on the menu), but on the whole it is reasonably well aligned to the desktop and iPad UI design work.

The unexpected removal of 'starring' tracks caught me off guard. Although they've been courteous enough to leave starred tracks in listing.

Interestingly the term "playlist" has now been removed from Spotify's lexicon. It's simply become "Your Music". I was surprised as it seems to be a universal term and a keystone for sharing, discussing and digesting music.

Some of the visual design elements are very nice. The design team at Spotify has really worked well with the visual language of iOS7. However there are a few UI decisions that aren't so good. Take a look at the Shuffle and Repeat functions above - not exactly fat thumb tolerant or graceful.

Another issue I have with the new version is the new prominence of the Shuffle play function (see above. Not only does it shout from the top of every track list, but it holds a fixed position through scrolling. I've lost count of the times I've hit shuffle, instead of back or instead of a track name. If you're a user that rarely uses the shuffle function it's a real pain in the ass.

These negative points are not enough to put me off being an avid Spotify user. I love the service design and the brand. So far the iPhone changes have not found there way on to the iPad app, but I'll be interested to see how the new design develops.