Vidque is a free curation platform designed to help discover, filter and archive online video content. Controlled and curated by its users, Vidque aims to simplify the discovery of quality video content through the joint effort of the online community.
It all started with a familiar problem: information overload. With all the YouTubes and Vimeos of the world, we found it difficult to consistently discover quality video content. Everywhere we look, we're bombarded with hit-or-miss video content through a fragmented design experience. Unlike television, where shows are curated by broadcasters competing to produce a better lineup every year, online videos live in an endless, unfiltered pile. We wanted a single platform that celebrates quality over quantity, with an emphasis on discovery and durability.
Our first stab at a video platform was Nizmlab, an invite-only platform with hand-picked video curators who shared their daily findings. We launched Nizmlab in June 2009 as a test, to see how well we could provide a video curation experience. We were shocked to find this system we had built over a few months was spreading like wildfire, thanks to a single tweet.
Nizmlab was soon featured on the New York Times blog and ReadWriteWeb, which quickly sent our visitor count into the stratosphere. But because Nizmlab was invite-only and curated by a select group, we quickly realized our team of two could not logistically provide a sustainable platform.
After a quick iteration period, we transformed Nizmlab into Vidque. This time, we had an exciting new objective. Knowing full well that our users strongly desired a high-quality, curated experience, we wanted to see if we could build a system that would curate video content automatically.
We launched Vidque v01 in December 2009 with the tagline "Videos Worth Watching." Though Nizmlab's original curators were still on board, we made Vidque open for anyone to sign up and start using. This time, we also started analyzing each video using an algorithm we had perfected over the previous months. Each video was evaluated across various metrics of recency and popularity, allowing us to systematically categorize their quality. On the first day of going live, we were featured on TechCrunch.
Over the months of observing our users' behaviour and fine-tuning Vidque's algorithms, we came to a conclusion. Essentially, there is no way an algorithm can successfully suggest content to a user, simply based on data attributed to a given video and the user's online behaviour. There are just too many unknowns to perfect an automated suggestion system that will be accurate. Common sense tells us that what's funny to one person may not be funny to the next - it may not even be funny to the same person on different days.
Now, in April 2011, we're excited to launch Vidque v02: a platform we feel offers a solution to our original problem. A system that provides the ideal setting to curate online content through the power of the community.
Using Vidque over the past few months taught us that if a video is not worth saving, it's not worth sharing. Therefore, rather than focusing on algorithms, we concentrated on designing tools that allow users to archive the videos they watch online. We also explored solutions outside Vidque, creating a powerful syndication system that helps in the discovery of videos found on blogs, websites and Twitter. This allows anyone to follow their favourite sources of video content and have those feeds syndicate directly to their Vidque homepage. Since each video can be segmented into categories by the viewer, it's now really simple to discover users with similar tastes. Hopefully, through our findings, we'll have the opportunity to form a community that thrives on quality video content. It only took us two years to get here; we hope you find it as useful a tool as we do!
Vidque was created and is managed by Lukas & Pawel.
Lukas Dryja is a design thinker born and raised in Krakow, Poland living in Toronto, Canada. Passionate about solving problems through design, he usually juggles his time between Vidque and his other passions. Twitter or http://lukasdryja.com.
Pawel Ulewicz enjoys creating web applications as well as solving everyday problems through computer programming. Mathematical modelling, designing and implementing algorithms are his specialties. Pawel graduated in computer science in 2008 and is currently finishing his masters.