Saturday, October 27, 2012 – 28 views
— by jazzychad
The best experience for the user would be for them to sign up for one file service, like we do for one App.net. Then when the customer used any client that needed file storage, the client would use that central location.
I'm not so sure this is true. I think the best user experience is one that is transparent to the user and requires no effort. Requiring a user to create an account on a 3rd party media service and hook it up to each individual service to take advantage of it is too many steps for most people, in my opinion.
I've been thinking about this problem recently for ADN Blogs. I'd like to let users upload images to use in their posts, but what do I do about image storage? I could host them myself (like I'm doing for FireFoto), but then I have to pay for the storage. I could host them on an image provider like imgur or mobypicture. I could require each user to have their own AWS S3 account and hook up their buckets to their ADN Blog account, but that sounds like an awful user experience.
I think users should have a "no assembly required" experience when using a service. No friction. So, that puts the burden on the developer to solve the problem. I think it's a fair tradeoff of charging a premium fee for a service in return for a seamless experience for the user.
Files and filesystems are complicated for most users. I'd like to try to integrate Filepicker.io into ADN Blogs for letting people choose files from their computers or any of their web services, but using their service costs money to me, plus I'm required to host the resulting image uploads on my own S3 bucket, which I will have to pay for over time.
A nice compromise for now might be a combination of both ideas. For example, Mobypicture acts as a central media service (for images at least) and has ADN identity delegation. This means I can upload images to Mobypicture and have them associated with a user's ADN account transparently to them. Right now Mobypicture is free to use, but if they started charging for developer accounts then the landscape changes.
The question of whether ADN should be a media provider themselves is a good one. I'm not sure where they stand on that, but I'm also not sure how the current account pricing economics would work out if they added user file hosting to the mix.
In summary, I think a central media service only makes sense if ADN does it themselves; otherwise, the developers of services should solve the problem of media hosting for the users to lower the barrier of usage and reduce friction.
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