Tuesday, August 24, 2010

UPDATED: Podcaster 3.4 is NOT missing features.

UPDATE: We just want to let you know that we are not blaming the user for the confusion.  We made a change to the UI and had bad communication with users about the changes. We are simply frustrated with the app store review process. We plan to be more clear in future releases.

We have had several users complaining in the reviews  about missing features in the 3.4 update. Had the users bothered to look closer or ask us directly, we could have cleared everything up but since we can't get in touch with them, we will try to clear it up for new users going forward.

Podcaster 3.4 did not take away any features of the previous version. The app still includes a scrubber to skip anywhere in the episode, a 10+ second skip button, 2x playback and continues playback options. We simply moved it to make it look and act more like the iPod app.

To reveal the controls, you simply touch the image at the top right of the screen. The entire show notes area will flip to reveal a larger image as well as the missing controls.
Touch top right button to reveal more controls

Controls visible over large image
If controls hidden, simply touch image to make them appear

We hope this clears things up for most users. We will try to clarify this in future version of Podcaster.


  1. Ahh, awesome, thanks. I think the problem is that there was no indication that touching the image would do anything at all, so I (and presumably others out there) never bothered trying.

  2. Thanks for the clarification. Is there a way to resume podcasts? - i.e. if you leave the app and start it up again, can you pick up from where you left off?

  3. Great, thanks for the update here. I noticed that 3.5 has the commands back in the main screen. Nicely done.

    While I'm writing would it be possible to add a "redownload" button or option? Occasionally a podcast gets corrupt on download and doesn't play properly. On my episode view the trashcan icon never switches to anything else, though I can tap it to switch to what appears to be a download button. Is that a re-download? It's not quite clear.

    Otherwise this is a 5-star app. I had something similar on my Blackberry and finding this was the final push that encouraged me to switch to the iPhone and I couldn't be happier.

  4. I'm a current podcaster user and never thought there were features missing. I'm rather disappointed at the disrespectful tone you're using about/toward your users.

    Customers are always jackasses, especially on the web. It's part of business. Another part is treating them with dignity and respect anyway.

  5. Smitty, thanks for your comment. We are really happy to have such passionate users but sometimes an uninformed user gets under our skin. Maybe in retrospect we could have written the post with a nicer tone. We wanted to tell users that we didn't take anything away and we quickly wrote a post. I'm sure you can understand. Thanks fornuour support. -Alex

  6. Any ideas why the app might be crashing on launch consistently on iPhone 4? I'm running the latest developer beta as well.

  7. Well like I suggested, if we're uninformed users it's because there was no obvious information to be had. The picture looks like a picture, not necessarily something to be tapped. Sure it says in the manual that tapping it shows the controls, but reading the manual isn't the first thing I'm going to do if I've already been using the app for a couple months and I'm used to how it worked before.

    I would suggest some way to provide better information to returning users when you hide features that were previously obvious and easy to access.

  8. Ok, I'm a little confused. I've set Podcaster to refresh at certain times during the day. I check back after those times, and none of the podcasts I've subscribed to have updated and downloaded the latest episode. Please tell me what I'm doing wrong.

  9. "Had the users bothered to look closer or ask us directly"
    "sometimes an uninformed user gets under our skin"

    Blaming users for YOUR obviously horrible UI re-design decision is not the best way to go about things. Hiding features in the UI (esp. ones that were in a different location in the previous version) that are activated by something that isn't immediately apparent to users (and not giving on-screen direction to show them how to activate the hidden feature) is a HUGE no-no in HCI, and this Podcaster upgrade is a perfect example of it.

    Users shouldn't have to wander around the UI, tapping random icons to see what functionality they might hold, or have to ask you about such a simple feature. YOU should make it apparent in the UI exactly what actions are available on a given screen (whether that's by a temporary pop-up window pointing to the icon and explaining the function, or by a text label).

    Personally, the reason I didn't think to search out this feature was because I assumed you wouldn't have hidden it (since it was there in the previous version), and that there must have been some other reason for taking it out, such as a bug or podcasters complaining about being able to skip content.

  10. I have to say, despite some instabilities, Podcaster has pretty much replaced iTunes and the native iPod app on my iPhone, just in the 5 days that I've been using it. I lovelovelovelove it!

    The only thing that kinda drives me nuts though, is the apparant lack of the "30 seconds back" button that the iPod app has. The "10-seconds forward" button is nice to have, but I truly miss the ability to quickly skip 30 seconds backwards. Using the scrubber is inelegant and difficult to control if you have a long (2-3 hour long) podcast.

    Is this something that you are planning to implement? Thanks for such a great app!

  11. Actually, the new version is missing a important feature. The -10 second rewind button for when you want to review what the speaker was saying. The 10+ second skip button is useless except to skip past commercials.
    In the previous version of Podcaster, I loved the big buttons to skip back in increments of 10, 20, 30 1minute increments.

  12. You guys are doing good work. Feedback:

    1. It crashes periodically on iPhone 4. I've had to reinstall twice.

    2. I used to be able to download as many as 25 episodes at a time, now it's back down to 10. This was actually the feature that made me start using Podcaster again, and now I can't get it. Thoughts?

  13. In the next update, please make that when we start playing a podcast, we directly see the scroll bar and controls. It just makes sense that this should appear first and access to information is secondary.

    PS: would definitely be cool as well to have the app being able to download podcasts even though it's in the background.