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severalog

J. Harry Caufield

I've been trying out the Android beta of Swell Radio - it's really quite nice. The basic idea is that it treats podcasts as radio shows, so you can just start the app up and it'll just keep on streaming. I had tried it on iOS a year or so ago and was disappointed to see that Android development was lagging. It looks like they're making progress now.

Its recommendation engine still needs regular maintenance. An average User Experience goes like this:

  1. Swell plays hourly NPR news update
  2. Swell plays a few more NPR clips
  3. Swell plays a Wall Street Journal business update, or at least all of its ads 
  4. User skips to next item in playlist out of irritation
  5. Swell plays another NPR clip
  6. Swell plays a set of Comedy Central standup clips
The issue is transitions. It wouldn't hurt for the app to announce the next item in the list so I'm not left wondering why Paul F. Tompkins is on Morning Edition. I mean, the guy loves NPR so it's not too far-fetched.