Monday, August 06, 2012

NBC's innovative "Metro style" Olympic interface

There are many Olympic venues, so there may be several live streams, upcoming streams and streams of recently completed events at a given time. This wealth of choice presents a user interface problem -- how do you show the user what is available?

At first, NBC and the BBC offered different solutions. BBC displayed a scrolling menu with thumbnail impages, as shown below.


I liked that a lot better than NBC's menus, which were hard to find and mostly character oriented. I was ready to give kudos to BBC until the tenth day of the Olympics, when NBC changed their user interface to the one shown here:


It looks like a taller version of the BBC interface, but, what you cannot see here is that those small thumbnails are in fact video live-windows. NBC has brought a Microsoft Metro interface to the Web.

You can expect to see a lot more "Metro on the Web" after Microsoft ships windows 8 with its new Metro interface.

NBC has seemed a bit like an agile Internet startup during the olympics. First they improved their video streaming quality and now they have revamped the opening user interface for their online coverage -- another quick, significant improvement. Maybe someone at NBC has read Mark Zuckerberg's letter to investors on The Hacker Way.