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Mobile Video Experience: Part Two

Posted on July 26, 2019 by Matthew PhilpotMatthew Philpot

Hello, fellow Linux Academy learners. Following a previous post, the mobile team continued our mission of fine-tuning the video player experience on Android and iOS. The next couple weeks mark the home stretch of the project and we’re so excited to release it into the wild. Below I will detail the most prominent features of our new video player, along with its development process.

While we explore the features, I’d like you to keep two things in mind: our primary objectives when designing and developing features.

  1. Ease-of-use: Empower our students to find the content they want quickly, with fewer “clicks”.
  2. Intuitiveness: Our apps have to be easy to navigate and understand. If the user has to ask “how do I do…?”, then we aren’t satisfied.

We take suggestions, criticism, and feature requests very seriously on the Mobile Team. Our learners are the inspiration that drives us to do bigger and better things, always. And it fulfills us when we can help you grow. Now, on to the fun things.


Introducing the playlist

The most noticeable change will be what we’re calling the playlist. This list will be your key to seeing upcoming videos and will be available in portrait or landscape mode.

When developing this, we started with the most popular video apps out there. We looked at how they implemented playlists and how we could use that feature to benefit learning. The playlist was designed in a way that supports any type of list. While currently this only means the syllabus of a course,  In addition to watching videos, we’ve toyed with the idea of auto-launching Practice Exams as they appear in the itinerary.

In addition to the playlist, you may have noticed additional video information while in landscape mode. We have grandiose plans here. With the future release of community groups on mobile, we’d like to show a “related content” section to highlight conversations that are happening about the videos that you’re watching.


Subtitles and Transcripts

I know how much everyone, including me, has been waiting for subtitles. Good news first: We’ve been working hard with our resident video guru, Richard Layton, to bring subtitle support not only to the website but also on the go. Unfortunately, though, subtitles won’t be available immediately upon release of the new video player.

But it’s coming! That’s the part I’d like to stress. And in addition, we will also be introducing a feature called “Transcripts”. You may have already heard of how we’re using this feature as we implemented it into many courses. To see it in action, view our Puppet Quick Start With transcripts, you’ll be able to follow along with what the course author is saying, and browse to specific parts in the video by clicking the text.

You can find even more information on transcripts by clicking here.


Pinch to zoom

A long-requested feature, the ability to pinch-to-zoom and pan in a video. Have you ever watched a video on your mobile device, but couldn’t see what the course author was typing? Now you can zoom in!

I’d like to remind everyone that this is the first generation release of this feature. While it works, there is always room for improvement and I strongly urge everyone to give it a shot and let us know what you think.


Android TV, FireTV, and tvOS

In my last post, I spoke briefly about support for the TV OS for both Android and iOS. It is definitely happening, but not as soon as we all would want. I know this is a hotly requested feature, so we’re deep in development, stay tuned! I will be sure to keep everyone updated on its status.


The Future of Mobile

Now that the Video Player project is coming to a close, we get to freshen up and prepare for the next project. As of this post, that next project is a revamp to the Syllabus List. We’re unleashing our design team to help us build a new-and-improved user interface that we can’t wait to implement. Make sure you subscribe to our blog at the bottom of this page to get updates as we release all our new features!


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