Why has crowdCaster been created?
The mission of crowdCaster is “Giving People a Voice” through audio content through three functions – Discover, Listen, and Share. crowdCaster re-imagines radio, and it is the only application in existence which enables anyone to create and listen to 140 second audio broadcasts on any topic anywhere in the world.
These notes describe the main functions of the desktop/laptop presentation of the application, which are then repeated with some adjustments in the Android and iOS mobile platforms.
crowdCaster is an application which is focused principally on the creation and sharing of audio content and “social broadcasting”.
Which crowdCaster websites are now live?
There are two web addresses which are now live:
The public site, which sets out the initial landing page for www.crowdcaster.com – which has a Home page describing in images the basic functionality of the application, and further pages for Login and Sign up, information about the founders in About Us, our Blog and Contact Form.
The application itself, so after Sign Up or Login you will be directed to app.crowdcaster.com which is the site for the crowdCaster application itself.
At what stage of development is crowdCaster at now?
crowdCaster’s public site was launched on 30 June 2015, and the application was launched on 8 September 2015 – it is in ALPHA – which means the initial launch phase, where the initial design of the platform is being shown and tested.
crowdCaster launched its mobile application on Android on 24 November 2015 and expects to launch the platform on iOS in December 2015.
Are you inviting feedback from Users?
Yes – please do not hesitate to contact us with your suggestions through the Contact Form on the public site.
When will the new features be available?
The crowdCaster Team will be notifying Users, our email audience, and followers on crowdCaster’s social networks about new features as they are released.
Why do you use the language of Broadcaster and Listeners?
We have used these words to describe those who make, and listen to, audio content on the application.
crowdCaster is a “radio experience”, where broadcasters and listeners include anyone who uses the platform – it is what “democratising radio” means.
Sign Up and Login
What information is needed to Sign Up?
All you need to provide is an email account and password, and then select a Username for your profile. As much further detail about you as you wish can be added by you (and only you) to your Profile Page (see below) to enable your friends and other Users to recognise you.
When will crowdCaster send me emails?
You will receive one email when signing up to confirm your email account. We will then email out to Users from time to time with news about the site, and in due course Users will receive a weekly email summarising their interactions with the crowdCaster community.
What is the main function of the “Discover” page?
This is where you can see and search the global universe of audio content on crowdCaster. This is mainly in the form of “Casts” and “Shows”. In the presentation of the Discover page Users can discover content by “Overview”, “Channels” and “Your Network”.
What is a Cast?
A Cast is the “atomic element” of the application, which is an audio clip of maximum 140 seconds in length, shown by a waveform outlining the audio content. The Cast format contains the audio which has been recorded in the application, or uploaded, and shows an image, title, channel and description (including hashtags) – which can be entered by the broadcaster to describe the Cast after recording. Only the title is required for uploading the Cast – the other descriptions are optional but enhance the presentation and discoverability of the Cast.
The Cast automatically also shows the Username of the creator, the date and time of creation and the length of the Cast.
When discovering content on the application, the listener can see a description of the Cast, the number of plays, can vote the Cast up or down, can favourite it, and respond to it with Comments by text and audio, and see the Comments that other Users have made on that Cast.
What is contained in the Overview?
The “Overview” tab on the Discover page shows the most popular Casts, Shows, Hashtags and Users. These are identified from all media on the application by a formula which takes account of (in the case of Casts and Shows) the number of plays, the sum of up votes and down votes, and the amount of comments, which then is adjusted for time since publication. A similar formula is applied to most popular Hastags and Users. The time filters of Now, This Week, This Month, All Time – which can be selected by Users – further refine the search.
What are Shows?
These are curated collections of Casts into a single media item, with its own uploaded image, broadcaster, date, description and channel entered by the broadcaster after curation. As with Casts, the listener can see the length of the Show, the number of plays, can vote the Show up or down, and can favourite it and respond to it with comments by text and audio.
Shows can use Casts created by the User and by others.
What are Channels?
Channels are a way of organising Casts into subject areas to make them easier to find. When recording Casts, Users can use one of the Channels provided by crowdCaster, or created by other Users, or create their own. All Users can post content on any channel, and Users can follow a Channel by pressing the + icon on the Channel name. When publishing a Cast, selecting a Channel is not obligatory, and the Cast will show the word “uncategorised” where no Channel is selected by a User.
Channels are shown in alphabetical order on the Discover page.
Can I create a “private channel” where only I can publish Casts?
You can effectively do this by using a single User profile for this purpose. There is no limit on the number of User profiles a single broadcaster can have – each profile requires a unique valid email address.
Where defined groups of Users wish to broadcast together in the future, a feature is under development to create “Communities” which will allow groups to broadcast publicly, or privately to a defined group of listeners. Communities will also be able to launch their own Community Channels under this facility.
What is “Your Network”?
This is the content (Casts, Channels and Shows) of all the Users you follow.
How does this work?
Alongside the Discover page, the Search page is a further way you can access Casts, Shows, Hashtags and Users you are interested in. Type a letter in the search box and the search results will automatically appear based on the letters you have selected.
“Show all” in each case will extend the search results to include the search results for that search item in a single view.
What is included in Profile?
Here you can see all the Media content you have created and published, your Favourites, the Channels you have created, and the other Users who are following your profile (Followers) and those being followed by you (Following).
Any of your Content which is in Draft or Trash is not seen by other Users and does not show in your Profile.
The Settings icon allows you to add details about you if you wish, so other Users can more easily identify or learn about you when they search. A link to your Profile appears on each Cast you publish, giving the information about you which you have entered. If you have left a space blank in your Profile Settings, anonymous default content will appear in your published Profile for now if you prefer.
The “bell” symbol to the right of the “settings” symbol takes you to the Notifications you have received from other Users regarding your content. At present you will receive a Notification when a User votes or comments on your Cast, or when it is shared across social networks. The number of unseen Notifications will show in a number by the side of the Profile icon in the left had menu bar, and against the Notifications symbol
What is the main function of “Content”?
This is where you can see and control all the content you have created on crowdCaster under your profile – including Casts and Shows. This is organised into media which is Published, your Drafts, your Channels and Trash.
Within this function you can move Casts and Shows from Drafts to Published if you are happy with them, and from Published to Drafts or Trash if you don’t want them published. Other Users can only see published content.
All media, whether Published, Draft or Trash can be listened to by the User who created it.
Can I edit content I have created?
Not yet. This feature will be available in due course.
Can I delete content I have published?
You can do this by moving the Cast from Published to Draft or to Trash.
This is the facility in the application which allows audio content to be recorded by a User. This can be content recorded live in the application or previously prepared in a file to be uploaded.
Which type of files can I upload?
You can upload .ogg, mp3 or M4a files into the Record function.
Do I have to fill in all the details in the page after Recording and pressing “Go Ahead”?
Not if you don’t feel like it. Only the Title is a required field. The more information you feel like adding the easier it will be for listeners to find and listen to your Cast – using hashtags in the description will make this even easier!
The Player is located in the top right hand corner of the application.
What are the functions of the Player?
This shows the Cast which is playing at the moment – which you can interact with in the Player itself, or in an individual Cast view. In the Player you can forward to the next Cast in the Playlist or start the Cast again, or slide the time bar across to listen from that point in the Cast. You can also mute or unmute the Volume.
How do the PLUS and PLAY buttons work on the Cast?
The Play button the Cast has a play and pause function. When you press the PLAY button on the Cast when the Cast is outside the Player that Cast will automatically load into the Player and starting playing. If another Cast is already playing the newly loaded Cast will play in priority. If the Cast has already been put in the Playlist with the PLUS button, the PLAY button will play the Cast in priority to the existing Cast being played.
The PLUS button on the Cast adds or subtracts the Cast to or from the Playlist. When the Cast is in the Player, the PLUS button turns into a TIMES (multiplication symbol) button. If you press the TIMES button the Cast will come out of the Playlist.
When you press the PLAY button on the Player the top Cast will start to play. When you double click the title of a Cast in the Playlist, that Cast will start to play Player in priority to any Cast which is already playing.
What is the Playlist for?
The Playlist shows the sequence in which selected Casts will be played. It allows you to select any number of Casts, or Shows, and once loaded you can listen to them in the sequence shown in the playlist as they will play in order. You can re-order the sequence by dragging Casts into a different position in the Playlist.
The “Create Show” function allows you to create a Show which is a collection of Casts played in order – so your collection can then be listened by other Users and shared (see Shows).
Android and iOS
The application has been adapted for availability on mobile in the Android and iOS formats. With some layout adjustments the functionality of the mobile applications follows the above.