Deep in the depths of a high school boarding campus, an idea was born. Cascading from a spark, thoughts built upon each other, and an innovation was imminent. Slowly, word leaked out and news spread like a wildfire. Within weeks, the entire campus knew about it, and everyone was scurrying to sign up for beta testing. Tension built as hundreds of people waited for the first, private release. Deep in the depths of a high school boarding campus, Renditi was born.
Yesterday at 10:00 PM US Central time, Renditi’s alpha testing was scheduled to begin. I couldn’t wait – this was the first time I would see Renditi at work. At 10:12 PM, Renditi was silent, and still password protected. I shot a quick instant message to Ravi Pilla, one of two owners of the site, who had lost track of time. My excitement hit a wall. We changed the release time to 11:00 PM, and Ravi made some last-minute updates.
Not long after 11, I got an instant message from Ravi with the username and password to access the site. I immediately switched to my Firefox window and typed in Renditi’s domain. I entered the username and password and I was in. I navigated through the splash page and registered my information. I was taken to the main interface… and was lost.
There were two subwindows open: the player and the playlist. Half the playlist was off the screen. There were icons on teh top-left of the screen, but their mouse-over alternate text appeared off the screen as well. The "whoa" effect I got from the incredible, high-quality graphics on the splash page started fading as I scrambled to get everything organized and fit on the screen. Suggestion: Make all windows fit on a 1024 by 768 screen resolution from the initial loading screen. Make the alternate text for the icons appear on the bottom right, not the top.
After I got accustomed and aligned everything to my liking, I started actually using the site. I went to the Search feature and searched for Sum 41. After several seconds of emptiness, I alt+tabbed to AIM and asked Ravi if the search feature was working. Soon enough, the results came up, and the search was, in fact, not broken. Suggestion: Add a "searching" animation to inform users that their request actually went through.
Within ten minutes of release, disaster struck. I accidentally closed my Firefox browser, and when I reopened it and went back to Renditi, I was met by a string of PHP errors. The reason? Max user connections reached. Renditi had gone down due to an overload. Around this time, one of my friends instant messaged me and said, "renditi is kinda sucking balls right now." I hate to admit it, but I partially agreed to it – what I saw so far wasn’t as revolutionary as I thought it would be. Of course, I kept in mind that this was the very first pre-release of the website, and deep inside, I knew I was expecting too much. Ravi had told me minutes before that they were going to update on a daily basis with problems they find each day. I hoped for the best for the future, and refreshed the page. Renditi was back up.
I started fiddling around with the search feature and added some more music. It was a tedious process, searching for each song, one at a time, and adding them to my playlist individually, one-by-one. Suggestion: Create a feature where entire original albums of artists can be added to your music library at once. Everything was going pretty well until I accidentally double-clicked a song. It added itself to my playlist twice, so I went to my playlist to delete the duplicate. I didn’t see a delete button, so I right-clicked on the song to see if there was a special menu. All I got was the standard Firefox right-click menu. Suggestion: Disable right-clicking, and create a delete feature.
As the time neared midnight, I started closing down my programs and got ready to go to sleep. Renditi left an impression in my mind that will last a lifetime – a peer and good friend, aspiring to become a multi-millionaire. With continuing updates, the concept that Renditi introduces really exposes a facet of music that could change the way we look at music itself.
All feedback to this review and Renditi in general is greatly appreciated. This allows the programmers of Renditi to pinpoint key consumer issues and fix them as soon as possible. Feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this post.