MySpace Picks UIEvolution to Develop Mobile User Interface, Experiences
Fox Interactive Media social networking portal MySpace has partnered with user experience designer UIEvolution to translate its media-rich, connected Web community experiences to the relatively limited screen size, storage and bandwidth associated with mobile devices.
“UIEvolution’s work is another step towards making the MySpace experience wirelessly accessible to our growing community of members worldwide,” said Amit Kapur, Director of Business Development, MySpace.
Existing MySpace mobile partners Cingular and Helio are the first targets of the user experience effort, although all carriers will be targeted globally soon, News Corp. President Peter Chernin told industry officials gathered in Los Angeles for the CTIA I.T. & Entertainment conference.
“We have to create compelling experiences, we need to personalize experiences for wildly diverse audiences, and we must make the experiences interactive,” Chernin said.
To help achieve those goals, the UIE partnership announced September 13 will leverage the small-footprint but interactivity-rich device, or client, software that UIE has employed for customers including Mobile ESPN, Amazon.com’s Internet Movie Data Base (IMDB.com) service and Japanese cable operator NTT Corp.’s On Demand TV service.
UIE’s solution enables creation of services in which “all the complex operation runs on the server side, and essentially the client side displays the user interface,” UIE founder Satoshi Nakajima told ScreenPlays (see ScreenPlays, August 2006). “The goal is to eliminate the software installation process from the user’s point of view.”
Using this “thin-client” Web services model, often described as “Web. 2.0,” UIE has been able to develop client software small enough to run on a full range of fixed and mobile devices and operating systems while maintaining media-rich, interactive experiences on Web servers available across that range of client devices. The client/server architecture also enables dynamic feature and content updates without disruption to the user experience.
Critically to the MySpace partnership, the server-centric, Web 2.0 architecture enables easy user contribution, viewing and sharing of media and other information to Web servers available to groups of connected users—a mirror image of the MySpace model for enabling sharing of hosted information among online communities, said Travis Beaven, Director of Consumer Products at UIEvolution.
“MySpace has allowed its users to customize their personal pages and share rich information, and they want the same rich, graphical, immersive experiences in mobile,” Beaven said. “UIEvolution's software solutions for delivering dynamic content to any mobile device coupled with the MySpace experience will lead to multiple opportunities.”
The partners intend to employ UIE server and client software and development tools to enable subscribers to access and share media browsers, movie guides, photo albums, games, weather reports, sports casts, email and any other content without the hassle of downloading and installing updated applications, he said.
As it gains more tier-1 media company customers, UIE says it is developing experience development tools that will be usable by experience designers and other creative professionals as well as software engineers. Its next-generation design tools are in alpha stage now and are slated for beta testing in the fourth quarter of 2006.
UIEvolution also claims that its software solutions quickly scale support for the growing number of mobile devices available from major wireless operators worldwide. According to Beaven, an application it designed around Walt Disney Co.’s Narnia properties in 2005 has been ported to more than 2,000 devices and their associated operating systems, presentation formats, navigation key mapping and operator billing systems.