As it hits 300M downloads in its 3 years of life, iTunes U has now upgraded the site manager to allow a number of new features including comments, ratings and genius. For the Open University on iTunes U this means that we have had the chance to seriously upgrade our site, with a much stronger graphical impact; and a much better experience for iPad, iPhone and iPod users.
In a complement to our efforts, the Open University on iTunes U is the top most showcase in the launch banner of this new look site.
Technically, the new template provides a common structural framework for all sites, through the use of iTunes U subject categories. Collections – (formally called Albums) now support comments and ratings, which are managed by Apple. Whilst previously Collections could only appear in one place within the structure of an iTunes U site, this meant duplicating the Collection if we wanted it to appear in two places, this led to confusion and dilution of popularity rankings. Tagging of Collections now allows us to editorially create new pages of content and a Collection can feature in all the tagged pages as well as the standard iTunes U subject categories. Bespoke Tag Pages thus allow us to create structure outside of the standard iTunes U subject category pages. Examples of such pages are Darwin Now or OU in Africa.
Revised templates for Pages and Collections that bring the look and feel of iTunes U in line with the rest of the iTunes Store experience and iTunes Genius recommendations will be enabled once enough Collections have been rated and comparative download data collected. You can also now preview tracks and click on links however you require iTunes installed to download any content.
Altogether this new release for this channel looks and feels like a significant jump in quality, for what was already a very high quality vehicle for our work. Well done to the whole team!