My Initial Thoughts On JUX.COM: A New “Immersive Full-Frame” Experience

27 08 2011

@zbutcher: Working as a (video) creative in the media industry, we tend to think, speak, share and even argue through our own unique language

of pictures, sound, and of course, story.

Playing with all those elements everyday can prove both magical and crazy at times depending on the client, budget, deadline or the amount of Red Bull still left in the fridge. 😉

It’s a world where quality of expression, presentation and interpretation is in full reign!

And a place where elements and ideas are meticulously crafted into “engaging” and “immersive” user experiences. Or we at least hope they are. 😉

From my own personal experience, translating much of this process to the web has left me both frustrated and disappointed. 

IMHO: While experimenting with many blogging, presentation, curation and CMS platforms, it continuously feels like easily creating ideas at the quality level they deserve or their elements require, generally leads to many challenges online. Various layout or “output” restrictions and/or the inability to effortless integrate separate elements from multiple services acts as a major roadblock for much of the creativity.

Many platforms and technologies are still based upon traditional “blog-style” methodologies & layouts, relying heavily on text, links and “standard-definition” static imagery. As such, the opportunity to easily create, curate, share and experience information or story in a dynamic way currently requires a fair amount of web savviness (or at least a good friend versed in coding). This is especially true when one tries to achieve all of this on a simple interface, in a single online destination armed with a hand full of self-produced ideas and high-definition (HD) imagery. Inexpensive phones, tablets, cameras, etc. all easily produce HD results that now require a new level of matching web tools and presentation capabilities. These tools are challenging developers to build platforms that allow users to think and express themselves in a whole new way, visually and narratively. This change in user expectations steps away from the sea of normalcy of “list and link based layouts” that are comfortable and expected on many of the sites today. It presents the viewer with an alternative question to “what would you like to read?” and replaces it with “what would you like to see or experience today?”

[ EMBEDDED BELOW: My Original Post | JUX ARTICLE ]

That’s why I get totally stoked when I see the exciting technical or product advancements like:

 HTML5, JQUERY, deck.js, popcornjs.com (hyper-video and audio-players), Voicethread.com, SlideRocket.com, Adobe EDGE/MUSE, Pinterest.com, Fiveml.com, Flipboard.com, 500px.com, 3playmedia.com etc. and now JUX!

Obviously we still have a long (long) way to go before achieving “creative and technical nirvana.” A place and time where all these killer things (above) are easily integrated with each other in one single simple user friendly interface, on one destination site of our liking.

But at least with JUX and what it fundamentally represents as a form of one’s own vision and creative expression, it’s a very cool step in the right direction.

[ EMBEDDED BELOW: My Follow Friday Suggestions 8.26 | JUX SLIDESHOW ]

http://www7.zbutcher.jux.com/index.html

It’s “full-frame” approach to HD media (pictures/video and soon audio) and it’s grid-style design layout, is opening the “visual awareness” door (yes I just made that up)and laying the ground work for an ever growing rich-media ecosystem. It’s helping push the boundaries/possibilities of existing platforms, challenging the idea of what is possible visually and narratively while providing  a simple set of tools that cut down the ” technical clutter” and “amp up” the level of creativity. 

And for that… I feel JUX deserve some serious props! So FWIW guys, nicely done!

[ EMBEDDED BELOW: Bungie Studio’s video documentary from YouTube | JUX VIDEO POST ]

http://www5.zbutcher.jux.com/index.html

Again IMHO, it’s time to create, curate and share our “experiences” in a new digital format that is exciting and more “immersive” for those consuming our content.

We should be able to build unique HD web experiences that are more limited by our imaginations than by the tools we are given. I believe the folks at JUX are of the same mind.

Yes JUX still has a ways to go, yes, it’s is still rough around the edges (and in early “launch mode”) and of course it ‘s still in need of a few fundamental things we’ve come accustomed to elsewhere (community, tags, organization of posts/pages, search, menus, HTML embedding, comments, blah blah blah).

[ EMBEDDED BELOW: Apple quote from Johnathan Iyve, SVP Apple Design | BLOCK QUOTE POST ]

But I say just.. be a little patient. I am, ’cause I know that with anything this new it takes time to mature to understand it’s user’s needs before stabilizing and “growing into” itself. 

Also, if you’ve seen their previous site-builder program (my condolences to all involved) and the deep feature set that it offered, I think one can get a better glimpse of where I believe JUX is heading. Many of the things that may be frustrating or missing now (previously mentioned above) are easily within their existing arsenal of tools and pool of talent. So hopefully, we can expect these features in upcoming releases.

[ EMBEDDED BELOW: Picture with text box  | JUX PIX POST ]

Hopefully JUX and the team will continue to welcome new and bold ideas (see shameless idea plug below) and take viewers to exciting and truly “immersive” places while also creating a “game changing” platform that gives users what they deserve and are craving (or at least I am)… 

A better and truly innovative way to create, share and tell our own unique stories in HD.

Congrats again on the launch guys and best of luck. – Rock On!

-Joe B. aka @zbutcher

PS-I’ll update this post to include links to things referenced once JUX allows for that ability!

And yes it’s crazy that we have to wait for this feature as well. Hopefully though, “good things do come to those who wait!” 😉

_________________________________________________

Shameless “bold” suggestion(s) plug:

• Organize posts in our own order and not simply by date

• Include ability for audio commentary and  music on any post. Especially pictures, slide-shows or even on a home pages (for each day). Great for curators, storytellers, artists/poets.

• Full frame and automatic playback/presentation capabilities for posts, pictures and slideshows. Think “lean back/couch mode” experience of YouTube/Vimeo but for posts.

• Yeah it would be cool to have some level of SlideRocket, Keynote or Powerpoint (ouch) abilities within JUX. I know that it’s a sexy blog but it also has the ability to be a unique platform of expression. Maybe these type of features could be included as “PRO” options. Just say’n.

• Add links to pictures (even if included in slideshows).

• While currently impressive, more control over the handling of how text and pictures are displayed throughout the site.

• The ability to have full-width columns of text/pages. While other content is stunning big, text when used correctly, can be equally awesome!

• A confirmation screen before deleting anything! I know you’re already on top of this one by now. Undelete/Restore would be cool as well.

• The ability to add (separate) featured images to posts (of all types) for display on the homepage. Like WordPress offers. That way videos that have FUGLY thumbnails don’t ruin our stellar homepage layout(s). And certain pix only can be seen once inside the post.

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