What this is all about
News Anchor’s product design story
The inspiring situation
Foreign worker in Singapore.
Renting a room (home-stay style).
Doesn’t have television (space issues).
Uses a laptop for almost everything.
Keeping up with the news while juggling
t wo jobs.
(primary job and iPhone/Mac stuff)
Watches news primarily during breakfast
Feed (RSS) readers
Some theory that explains the thinking
Active & Passive Media
“Passive” Media “Active” Media
“Pushed” by “Pull” by consumers.
Passively receiving and selecting
One size ﬁts all Highly customized
Ex: TV, Radio Ex: Internet Search
You get what you’re looking for.
Higher relevancy to your interests.
You don’t get what you’re not looking for.
Searching is time-consuming.
Combining “Passive” & “Active” media
You get some control over content.
You don’t need to search every time.
Some important and relevant content
are “pushed” to you.
Middle Ground -
Podcasts (video & audio).
Feed subscriptions (RSS/ATOM).
Social net work chatter & “t weets”
Google Buzz (?)
Back to Main Topic
I needed a compromise bet ween “active”
media and “passive” media for daily news
“Passive” media doesn’t have many of the
content I’m interested in.
“Active” media takes a lot of manual
effort which takes away some of my
Path to Solution - 1 of 4
Video Podcast – ABC World News by
Charles Gibson (at that time)
Good: pretty decent “world” news.
Bad: often t wo days late and available
only after 7 AM (Singapore time).
Bad: often too US-centric (naturally).
Path to Solution - 2 of 4
Feed reading – Google Reader
Good: relevant content (the way I set up
Bad: I have to click for every news
article that I want to read – not
convenient to read news during
Path to Solution – 3 of 4
Feed reading – Times for OS X
Better: Times presents a number of
articles in the same screen and let me
easily read most of them.
Not good enough: I still have to click to
move from articles to articles.
The Solution – 4 of 4
Something similar to the “world news
webcast” (video podcast) but with
Doesn’t require a lot of clicks for day-to-
day operation (other wise I risk spilling my
breakfast onto my laptop).
RSS/ATOM feeds are good enough as news
As of second quarter 2009
NewsHawker – Sugar Maple Soft ware
Noodle Reader – Sonic Amigos
News At Seven – Northwestern
when I tested it.
Reads the weather or
news articles that
complex user interface
and requires a lot of
as of 2008
News At Seven
Very high-tech concept: an artiﬁcial intelligence (AI)
soft ware will browse the web and present news in a
talk show format.
Received mainstream media coverage at the time of
launch (back in 2006).
University project, government funded, no “real”
product for consumers as of Q2 2009.
A feed reader application. User-
conﬁgurable by t weaking the feeds. No AI
Minimal intervention. Ideally like playing
a podcast, only requires one or t wo clicks.
Something “unique” so that it can carve a
Follow the “News Broadcast” format.
An already successful format since the dawn
Primarily text-to-speech with some animation.
Let the user compose “channels” which are
amalgamation of feed articles.
Automatically generate “episodes” from those
Mac OS X
Passing knowledge from previous iPhone development
Quartz Composer – easily prototype the animation
Text-to-speech voice “Alex” is ﬁnally good enough.
All other developers are looking at the iPad – less
More powerful CPU compared to the iPhone or iPad.
Primary entities: Feeds and Channels.
Feed – an RSS feed and the articles that
make up the feeds.
Channel – a collection of RSS feeds that
deﬁnes the setup for a presentation.
Feed articles are collected and processed
automatically to make channel episodes.
contained in generated by
1..n consists of 0..1
Data Diagram -
A feed is assigned to a number of
Periodically the channel will take the
speciﬁed number of articles from each
assigned feed (as according to the
channel) and make it an “episode”.
The episode is the “news broadcast” as
presented to the user.
Primarily an Objective-C application.
The news show display is rendered by a Quartz
Composer component (via an embedded QTZ ﬁle).
Multi-core ready (uses parallel threads via
Data management via Core Data with SQLite data
Universal Binary – PowerPC compatible
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