Odeo goes less Jason 02 Dec 2005

34 comments Latest by A Noonie Moose

Odeo redesigns with less in mind. Their home page simply presents four clear tour options and one clear sign-up button (and what’s not to love about the dead simple signup form — there’s not even an “I agree” checkbox). They also seem to be moving away from “podcasting” and more into “audio sharing” — there’s only two mentions of Podcasting on the home page (and one of them is in tiny type at the bottom of the screen). The new description under the logo reads: “Odeo is a creative way to record and share audio — and it’s free.” And they even mention that Odeo works with iTunes. They’re going along for the ride.

I think this is a wise direction — design-wise and concept strategy-wise. Well done. Read all about it on the Odeo blog.

34 comments so far (Jump to latest)

Brady J. frey 02 Dec 05

I’m not digging the bird… yet. But I do like the direction they’ve moved, simplicity is smarter.

brian 02 Dec 05

like the new look, finally someone got a clue about “listening” with odeo. i sent in a bunch of feedback, and it’s nice to see someone is listening to it.

Lisa 02 Dec 05

I wonder who did the redesign?

I like it.

Ian Ashley 02 Dec 05

Their old design wasn’t bad either. New design is nice.

I just don’t see how they can make money from all this… recording and sharing audio over the internet doesn’t seem to be as big a market as say, pictures (Flickr). But, then again, I’m no business guru…

Will 02 Dec 05

The simplicity of the signup form is great, but its scale is a bit comical.

Just because you make something 3x larger than normal doesn’t make it any “simpler.”

Ryan 02 Dec 05

Actually, Odeo has always been light on using the word
“podcasting” from the beginning.

Steve 02 Dec 05

rhjr, I completely agree. I really don’t like this trend towards huge fonts, forms and elements (of course it’s possible to go overboard in the other direction…)

WordPress, which I love, is headed down this path with ludicrously huge elements in its admin screens, to the point of actually reducing clarity (when you have to step back to take in the breadth of an interface, it reduces its usefulness.)

Geof Harries 02 Dec 05

I’ve never seen such huge input fields. Wow. When you say “big is in” for Web 2.0, Odeo appears to be taking it to heart.

Web 3.0 - Give me Arial 8px or give me death!

Brady J. Frey 02 Dec 05

no, no — no Arial anything, for the love of god. Designers hate that font for a reason, now.

Don Wilson 02 Dec 05

Regarding the signup form, the checkbox for the newsletter below the submit button is useless. Why would you sign up for a newsletter for a service that you haven’t even used yet?

I suggest removing that and placing it in the options cp.

Josh 03 Dec 05


It’s kind of insulting. It’s like when people talk louder to someone who doesn’t speak the local native language, hoping that the increased volume will improve understanding. To the contrary, using this giant form just makes me feel stupid. Odea apparently thinks I’m an idiot, and making the registration form really big will help me wrap my little brain around how to use it.

Please trade lives with me, you have apparently never been insulted (Or you are just silly. In that case please don’t trade).

Ryan Carson 03 Dec 05

How can they get away with not asking their users to agree to their Terms of Service?

Jeff 03 Dec 05

Maybe they realized that NO ONE ever reads the damn Terms of Service anyway, so might as well not even ask….

somaking 03 Dec 05

podOmatic has a big jump on these guys. http://www.podOmatic.com

Jia-Yao Yu 03 Dec 05

I haven’t seen the old odeo website and dont know anything about them. This allows me to share some comments from a fresh and different perspective. I agree the site is nice and clean. However, I have to say it has gone a little bit too far in terms of simplicity.

I have stared at the website for 5 seconds and totally un-impressed by the popular keywords “Share”, “Audio”, “Podcast”. I can’t find a good reason to click any of the links because I can’t see anything special about the services.

Contents! They are what websites are for. The most visited page of any website is their home page. Why waste the most valuable estate just for the sake of simplicity?

Jan Korbel 03 Dec 05

Very nice, clever and functional.

Thanks for the links.

Mark 03 Dec 05

I liked the old design better.

My thoughts on the new design -

- The overly huge fonts and form fields come off as looking juvenile (the chicken / bird character and the baby blue and pink color scheme strongly add to this perception)

- The almost invisble “explore podcasts” link at the bottom and the big teaser links at the top give me the perception they are desperate

- There’s no information being conveyed in the click-thru to the teaser. The graphics, while pretty, don’t really convey enough information on their own to stand without supporting text

- The sales model is backward. Be confident enough to let me explore it first and see how it works. Let that be the primary click point, then ask me to sign up

Jan Prill 03 Dec 05


first of all: I love rails. But now I have to say something I thougt about from the first time on I’ve visited odeo: Their site remains dead slow regardless their redesign. This is from good old europe and dsl connection. not usable at all! (checked from different connections and different times. I’m sorry to say this)


Jason 03 Dec 05

Fast as can be in the US

Austin Taylor 03 Dec 05

I’d take it further. Is password confirmation really necessary? I almost never mistype my passwords. I can still reset it on the off-chance that I do (via an emailed, one-time link, of course).

qwerty 03 Dec 05

Austin Taylor: just because you’re perfect enough to never misspell your password, there should be no password confirmation? Logic!

Dan Boland 03 Dec 05

I don’t get why the only link to the wealth of audio on this site looks like a total afterthought. I’m not a big fan of this redesign for that reason — they overemphasize becoming a member and underemphasize the content.

Tommy 03 Dec 05

I agree this is a wise decision Jason. I’ve been using Odeo since almost day one and I like the service a lot. Integration w/ iTunes is also key.

Plus moving away from the phrase podcasting to audio sharing is key IMHO. My boss recently asked me what a podcast was. I went into a long and detailed rant. In the end he said, “so what you are telling me it is just an audio file?”

Keane 03 Dec 05

Um, the first link (effectively*) on the page says “Record Audio”. If I click on that link I expect to i) record audio, or ii) be told how to record audio. Instead I get ” Create recordings from your browser�or your phone” and a picture of a Record button. Thanks a bunch. This is a touch weak. Rewind …

Give me a “This is what you can do with Odeo:” line at the top of the home page. And suddenly I know what to expect from the links. Magic!

(I’d have posted this to the Odeo blog as well, but that requires Blogger sign-in.)
* skipping the ODEO link and the Members, Log In links

Don Wilson 03 Dec 05

So, basically, from reading the previous comments, it’s a nice site if you already know what the service is for?

Austin Taylor 04 Dec 05

I would imagine (perhaps incorrectly) that mistyping one’s password is an unlikely mistake. The reset function would catch the few times that it does happen. I suppose it depends on who your users are. It would be pretty easy to track that sort of thing.

hmm 04 Dec 05

what’s the story with the bird?

Don Wilson 04 Dec 05

“what’s the story with the bird?”


Josh 05 Dec 05

The first page you see is a giant gate? Why is this good?

There’s no value offered on this page, just value promised. ODEO is selling the concept, but wouldn’t it be better to sell the service itself?

In other words—show, don’t tell.

Hard problem though, when they’re using a visual medium (web page) to sell an invisible one (audio).

Dezzer 06 Dec 05

Nice to see the iPod/Windows Media Center Interface showing up on more websites.

A Noonie Moose 07 Dec 05

Speaking of, I think it’s a real problem that portals like this stream mp3s from the authors’ site instead of aggregating them themselves and taking the bandwidth hit. Especially since there doesn’t seem to be a way of opting out of getting streamed (as I saw one feed in there from someone I know would never opt in for this)

from the FAQ
“Some podcast publishers (such as the BBC) only keep their audio files online for a limited period of time. Odeo simply points to the files, rather than serving them ourselves, so when they�re taken offline, you get �this audio file can�t be found� in the player or a bad link when you try to download it.

We do routinely check to see if files in our directory are still there, but there�s often a lag between when it�s been removed, and when we notice it�s been removed. (We�re working on reducing this lag.)”