Last week Radio New Zealand released its new embedded player to the general public.
The graphics were designed by Clemenger BBDO in Wellington and implemented in Flash by PixelDepth in Auckland. The player (and server software) took 3.5 person-days to code, implement and test.
While some people will be disappointed that the player does not work on iOS devices, the decision to make this first version in Flash was carefully considered. The core web team at RNZ is small – there are just three of us working on a range of projects. At the moment we are working on a complete redesign of the site, and on replacing our CMS, not to mention planning web coverage for the upcoming election.
A few years ago I started work on an HTML5 based player for our audio. The code is still available on Github. One of the impediments to completing this project was the lack of time to debug the application. At the time browser support for HTML5 was patchy. Building that player gave me a good idea of the level of engineering required for a complete package. I take accessibility very seriously. Any player has to work on all platforms, and for screen readers.
I have started planning for release 2 of the embedded player, but it will need thorough testing before release. We didn’t have the time to do that now. I’m sure you all understand!
The new CMS is providing the data-backend for the new player, and audio content is delivered from our content delivery network. Both of these are completely platform agnostic. The iframe technique we are using will allow the player to be updated in the future, and for this to appear everywhere.
The player is already being used more widely than I’d expected. Other public broadcasters like NPR, special interest sites like Treetools, and Cycling Wellington, blogs, not to mention local news websites.