Postmortem on a LiveEDU Live Stream Project (Part 1)

The past couple of months I've been live coding a project at [LiveEDU](https://liveedu.tv/joecianflone). As I get ready to wrap up the project and start some new endeavors I'm taking a moment to think about the LiveEDU service itself and what I did well or could have done better.

In this part, I'm going to talk about the LiveEDU service and give you 2 good things and two issues I've observed.

The Service Itself is Really Good

One thing that would drive developers away is a service that kept falling over itself and thankfully, I've not had that experience at LiveEDU, which is great. I can't imagine it being easy to grow a live streaming service, you've got to have a lot of hardware and a lot of power behind it or else you're going to have some pissed off visitors and some pissed off broadcasters.

The design is also pretty decent too. I'm not a huge fan of it, but in terms of UX I don't really have to think about anything. There are a couple of minor exceptions with regard to broadcasting, but I'm generally OK with it design wise.

Their Documentation is Fantastic

I think this is a huge win for LiveEDU. They've got a whole broadcaster's guide that tells you everything from how to set up different streaming software and how to set up your environment so it's viewable. They've event got docs on how to structure your project so you can earn money on the site.

This is one of those areas that I think is often overlooked (I'm looking at you Google). Before I streamed anything I was able to go to their docs, take 10 minutes and learn how to set up the software and make sure my screen was readable for people.

Lacking Analytics

I'm chalking this one up to it's still a pretty new service, but I really think they need to remedy this ASAP. The only analytics I get are: how many total views I have, how many are watching right now, and how many people are following me. I guess that's pretty standard, but I need more and I think the first service to offer more, wins.

Let me give you a bit of an exaple to help illustrate the point: I once came back to the site after a few days to find that I had 60 new views on my project. That means people were watching my archive--but I've got no idea when they watched, why they were watching, which videos specifically they were watching or for how long.

I also have no idea if I'm streaming at a good time. I stream consistently on Wednesday's at 9:30PM EST, but is that a good time? Would Tuesday be a better day?

So, like I said, I'm hoping that I'll get more analytics soon, but if I don't, this one could be a deal-breaker for me and long-term growth with the service.

Lacking Broadcaster Tools

Speaking of growth issues, my biggest pet peeve is the lack of tooling to help me stream. One pet-peeve with the site is that I've got no idea if I've actually gone live unless I've logged into the page myself. I also have to sit there if I want to view the chat (yes I can pop it out) Twitch does this too and I really don't get it--why do they need me, the broadcaster logged in a all? I'd love a little app that lives on my desktop that does 4 things:

  1. Tells me I'm live
  2. Opens up my chat session
  3. Pings me when someone asks a question
  4. Lets me ban assholes

Lets talk about number 4 there for a second. Now I've not had a crazy bad experience with anyone in chat, yet, one guy was sort-of trying to be a dick, but I was able to ignore him till he left, but it got me thinking about the whole lack of tooling. Bottom line is I've got no way to report an asshole or ban someone from my chat if I needed to do that.

Also, is chat really the best option here? I know Twitch does this too, but I'd love something a little more formal at times. Zoom.us and GoToMeeting have this concept of "raising your hand," now I don't know if I'd always want that, but I'd love to have a toggle to cut out some noise.

Conclusion: Jury is Still Out

At this point I'm cautiously optimistic about LiveEDU. I like their direction, but I've got some concerns. I'm happy that they're working on making sure streamers can make money, that's awesome, but they seem to have a bit of a walled garden thing going on with their premium content. I've yet to try it so I don't want to speak on that topic until I've actually played with it for a couple of months and can really understand it.

If you're a programmer and you want to level up your skills or you want to stream and teach people, I think LiveEDU is your best bet. Sign up for a free account today and try it out, also please follow me. :)