Can Usability Make Good TV?

Earlier this week, I was watching Scrivs yuck it up (yes Paul, us old timers say things like that) in front of the camera, streaming live and reacting to comments sent in by anyone who happened to stop by. He, Mike, and Tyme have been doing multi-stream shows for the past few days and it looked like fun so I thought I would try out the service they were using:

The interaction is a little odd, but also kind of fun. You sit in front of your camera and broadcast live (and record simultaneously), give the URL to anyone who’ll listen, and people can come to your channel and interact in a chat room/IRC fashion.

I signed up and was broadcasting within a few minutes (very nice to see how easy it was). I let people on Twitter know what I was up to and a few people stopped by. Mostly I ended up talking to Erik Sagen and Jon Snook. And my cat of course. I’d read what people would say in chat and react instantly.

During the course of our conversation, I had an idea how I might use Ustream in the future, beyond just playing around with it.

Introducing the matto show

Here’s the pitch: I will do live heuristic evaluations of web sites, web apps, and even blogs that people send in. It will be totally off-the-cuff and unscripted. My idea is that it will be fun (most importantly), a way to practice my mad skillz, and a way for you to get feedback from a neutral, yet knowledgeable source.

What do you think? Would you send me a link? Watch? Interact? I am very curious to know if people would enjoy seeing and/or participating in something like this.

I’ve embedded the channel into the sidebar at the right so you can watch here (but not interact) or watch and participate on my channel.


  1. Heh, I’d be lying if I’d say I didn’t get a small urge to try my hand at video-shows after watching the Triad’s stream. Looked fun. I’d be interested in checking out your show — the idea sounds promising. Would be good for that kind of a show to figure out how to display the page you’re reviewing in the UStream video itself.

  2. Yeah, I thought about that. I think right now the only thing I could do is post the URL for people to go to themselves, then remember to be explicit about what part of the page I am looking at.

    If I could afford something like WebEx, that would be a way to have it all. :)

    I suppose I could be reviewing on one computer and streaming from the other, then hold up the reviewing computer to the streaming one so everyone could see. ;)

  3. So, you have already made the 100 inch x 40 inch sign out of card – with the words ‘UR Site SUCKS!’…? :D

    For sites that really blow, you could use your cat as a stand-in and just add voice over….”Your navigation menu looks like it was developed by a one-eyed mouse, and your text can’t be re-sized by my clumsy paws, you should hire a Web Designer with mad skillz. Or a cool cat like me!”

  4. On the other end of that continuum, I’ve thought about giving prizes out for people willing to step up and have their site run through.

    I do have a sign on the tack board in my office that simply says:


    Which I use at meetings sometimes and point to the one which makes the most sense given the conversation.

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