In a mixed paradigm environment, how do you ensure content is surfaced which is context specific?
By which I mean - how do you make your content serve the user's time-bound constraints?
What I'm trying to say is - serendipitous discovery must be restricted based on temporal imperatives.
Or, to break it down further, a user may only have a specific amount of time to dedicate to your app; how do you deal with that?
In a mobile game, the interface may present the user a choice of "Quick Play" for when the user is waiting for a bus, "Medium Play" for when the user is on the bus, "Long Play" for when the user is stuck in a traffic jam.
James Whatley blogged about this subject recently. In a mobile video app - such as the BBC iPlayer - the length of time the user can spend on the app is (probably) more important than any other discovery method.
So, I spent the weekend building a demonstration mobile service which starts with the amount of time a user is expecting to use the app.
As far as I could see, iPlayer doesn't have any public APIs, the videos don't work on all phones, and the content isn't available outside the UK. So I have used YouTube as the basis.
The "User Story"?
As a user, when I am sat on the toilet, I want to be able to view a range of interesting videos suitable to the length of my visit.
Point your phone at http://LooTu.be and this is what you'll see:
YouTube's API only gives us three lengths of video - short, medium, and long - so there's not quite as much granularity as I would have liked.
Clicking one of the buttons, retrieves a list of videos based on time. The "Quick" button will show the users videos which are less than 4 minutes long.
At the moment, http://LooTu.be doesn't allow the user to search for anything. It only takes time as a search query. It does, however, randomly select between YouTubes standard "top" feeds - most viewed, top rated, most shared, top favourites, etc.