Not all things stay sexy forever. Plus, as a serious podcaster, you start to develop an evolving set of needs from the tools that you use as you progress through audience growth to becoming the audio influencer in your niche.
When we first launched Captivate we built the Captivate embeddable & shareable podcast player for podcasters like you to use on your website, social media and to integrate with WordPress using Captivate Sync™ and it’s done a great job on thousands of websites across the world.
Here’s a picture of it:
We loved it when we launched, but it’s looking a little old now. Design trends change and your own functionality requirements change, too, as the podcasting industry develops.
That’s why this week, we’re retiring the original Captivate version 1 player and introducing a beautiful and wonderfully useful version 2!
In this article...
The new Captivate embeddable podcast player
The new player is a huge visual upgrade from the original player yet retains ALL of the functionality of the player that you know and love, including calls-to-action support, trackable web player analytics and built-in sharing.
However, we have hugely enhanced the player in some really useful and notable ways.
New design options
The overall design of the player has been simplified, removing the animation and putting the listener’s needs first. By making the interface simpler, your podcast listener can enjoy a more focussed listening experience whilst also accessing sharing options, transcripts, episode notes and follow options in simple, obvious ways.
We’ve introduced two new standard design themes for you to choose from that are named after two of my favourite types of Star Wars Force users: light and dark.
Here’s the light version…
And the dark version…
But of course, the Captivate player remains remarkably customisable, too. You can customise the entire colour palette to suit your podcast brand.
Here’s my podcast in brand colours:
And my Star Wars podcast…
Improved device support
The Captivate player has always worked really well on all devices but as we looked to revamp the listening experience, we wanted to make things much less cluttered and give your listeners the best experience no matter their screen size.
We’ve introduced a number of new “responsive breakpoints” (“responsive breakpoints” are the screen sizes at which the player redesigns itself to give a great experience) so that your podcast player feels great on all variations of computer, tablet and of course, mobile interface.
Try it, resize this post and look at how the players above react – each time the player hits a “breakpoint” that matches the size of a device such as an iPad or iPhone, it will make itself fit but do so in a way that’s not just smaller, but that is actually useful.
Improved oEmbed support
It’s really important that you’re able to share your podcast to as many platforms as possible. The original player was good at this, but we wanted to spruce it by improving our oEmbed support.
oEmbed is the technology that allows you to paste a simple URL (like the Captivate player URL) into platforms such as Twitter and, instead of showing a simple clickthrough link, the platform will recognise that URL as representative of a media and display that media rather than just a link.
We’ve taken apart our oEmbed and made sure that, rather than just being responsive, it works to deliver the best experience for the platform that it is being embedded in.
Your listeners won’t notice it, they’ll just enjoy listening and that’s the win!
We’ve spent a lot of time working with visually impaired podcasters from across the world to discuss exactly how we could make version two of the Captivate podcast player completely accessible for everyone.
The new version of the player is completely screenreader accessible and we’re putting a priority on continuing to make sure that it remains accessible as we release future upgrades, too.
Additionally, we’ve now added transcription support for the hearing impaired. Now you can display your transcriptions, making your episode even more accessible!
If there’s anything regarding the accessibility of the player that you’d like us to consider, implement or simply know about then please let us know – we’d love to listen!
I’d like to personally thank everyone, including the fabulous Nicolas Curri, who helped us to design and develop this aspect of the player for the time and extremely valuable input that you gave us. Thank you.
Retrofitting old embed codes
One of the biggest concerns and pain in the derrières when realising that your podcast hosting platform is rolling out a new player is that you have lots of existing episodes embedded in places all across the web: your website, social media, partner websites – you get the picture, it could be a nightmare to replace them and other hosts have struggled with this in the past.
Because we podcast every day, too, we approached this aspect of the Captivate podcast player v2 build with thoughtfulness.
The new player (and the embed codes that you’ll copy from Captivate) have changed from being 170px in height to 200px in height. This gives the player more room to breathe and modernises the feel of the experience.
But, you do not have to do anything to your old embeds/episodes – yasssss!
We’ve designed and built an automatically responsive version of the new player that recognises that it’s in an older embed code with 170px height and that makes itself look perfect inside that container so that all of your old episode embeds will automatically update for you.
Here’s the 170px version that will fit your old embed codes automatically:
And any customised colour palettes that you are using on your player right now will automatically transfer to the new player, too – easy!
Shareable custom timestamps
Sometimes you or your listeners want to share your episode player online but recommend that the people seeing this share listen from a specific timestamp.
We’ve built shareable custom timestamps into the new Captivate podcast player so that, when someone clicks “share” on the player, there’s an option to check a box to share from a specific time. The player will automatically assume that you want to share from the point that you’re listening to right now, but you can also override that with a timestamp of your choosing.
When shared, the player will start playing from that point for your listeners – shazam!
Shareable HTML embeds
Have you ever listened to an episode by your favourite podcaster, and wanted to embed the episode on your own site or curated content page? Now you can, thanks to the shareable embed option, making it super easy for your followers to drive even more listeners for your episodes!
Infinite customisation & player preview
It’s important that the Captivate player supports you and that you have the flexibility that you need when using it.
That’s why we’ve taken our already very in-depth customisation options even further. Using version two of the player, you can not only customise the colour palette but also make the decision to show or hide every single button or link option on the player, plus how much of our Captivate logo you show (all, just an icon, nothing).
This gives you ultimate control over your branded podcast player experience and, when you’re making changes to your player design, we’ve built a new player preview system that updates in real-time and can be interacted with as a complete player right from your dashboard settings.
It’s just easy to make your podcast look great and work how you like it!
The new Captivate embeddable and shareable podcast player is rolling out on September 29th and will be available to all Captivate podcasters as a free upgrade.
Not using Captivate yet? If you’re looking to start a podcast, Captivate makes it easy and hey, if you’re already podcasting but tired of your host giving you an RSS feed and not much else, maybe it’s time to work with a more proactive team on your audience growth – importing your show is quick, easy and seamless!