Are you the creator, programmer, or quality-tester of a podcasting application? This page provides a range of podcasts that exemplify a range of atypical use case from merely uncommon to exceedingly fringe. If your app can handle all these, you’re doing well.
Remember: Your app will be used to listen to potentially thousands of podcasts you’ve never heard of (or would ever choose to listen to yourself). Quality testing is about other people, in this case your users or customers.
|Constant errors in series vs. episode art||Red Ice||Radio 3Fourteen RSS||Series art fails, episode art always works (developer can find nothing wrong; XML seems fine; art URLs always load in a browser)|
|Time of issuance is consistently wrong||CBC||Day 6 RSS||Invariably issued at 04:00:00 GMT, i.e., midnight Toronto time, even when nonsensical|
|Flaky RSS feeds||Jim Goad’s Group Hug||Goad RSS||Anything from Soundcloud, which will go tits-up in no time and which hides RSS (when it’s even available)|
A difficult and potentially wide-ranging topic.
At the very least, make sure blind people can use your podcast app with system accessibility features. A reasonable test case is one of the many blind podcasts out there, like Maccessibility (their RSS), which not only uses chapter markers but features guests who complain about inaccessible podcasting apps.
I have no immediate recommendations on how to make a podcasting app more accessible to persons with other disabilities (e.g., Christopher Hills), least of all via test podcast feeds.
|Lengthy marked-up show notes||Sewers of Paris||Sewers RSS|
|Buries guest name at end of description||Sam Harris (quite smart in global terms)||Really very smart RSS||Sam Harris, who is smarter than you, makes guest names invisible by refusing to front-load episode descriptions with their names|
|Show notes updated after the fact||InfoWars||Alex Jones RSS||Either no show-notes text or a placeholder, later updated with 500 or more words. Also: Very long episodes in high volume|
Podcasts that use custom artwork at every chapter break (or even once during an episode, i.e., change artwork partway through an episode) used to be easy to find 10 years ago but aren’t anymore. They’re a useful test case.
You can look at a 2005 Make magazine test file:
I put a lot of effort into testing the following two, for very little gain: Upgrade and MacCast (just the Enhanced version, which has no canonical URL and which pulls a Sam Harris and buries show topics deep inside episode summaries).
The actual content of a podcast – which you’d have to sit there and listen to – can be an issue that you need to test against. For example:
Your app auto-deletes podcast episodes after they finish playing, because your assumption is that podcasts are informational, and once you’re done with an episode you obviously never need to hear that information again.
Your app offers high-speed playback, but, once the user chooses such playback, it applies everywhere.
Both cases don’t work with, say, music podcasts, where 100% or 1× speed is the only way anyone ever wants to hear that podcast, and the same episodes can be listened to over and over again.
Content, then, is something you can test against.
|Music||Deeper Shades of House||Deeper Shades RSS||No lyrics; very sensitive to changes in speed|
|Borderline pornographic||No Safe Word |
|NSW RSS||Some people listen to “adult” podcasts|
|Not in English||Ar bed o treiñ |
|Breton RSS||Distance between English and e.g. Japanese or Chinese is too large, but too small with e.g. French or Spanish. So try Breton|
|Character encoding||Moopaa On Air |
|Thai RSS||The real stress test is not Japanese or Chinese but Thai, with diacritics and no spaces between words|
|Fonts||Spoonful of Russian
(Cyrillic and Latin)
|If you use a custom font, you may find to your surprise that it does not include Cyrillic and/or Greek. A great many professionally designed typeface families do in fact encompass all three scripts (with some exceptions for rare characters), but unless and until you test for this outcome, you’re likely to produce visible errors, such as incorrect fonts for Cyrillic or Greek. Note that multi-script text is common, so you have to test with mixed-script cases, as provided here (otherwise you may not notice that a script you cannot read has simply switched fonts)|
(Greek and Latin)
Your application has to work with Jeremy Keith’s service that allows people to assemble their own podcast feeds out of audio files uploaded elsewhere, Huffduffer. This includes handling many feed possibilities, including lengthy search terms that produce feed titles beginning with that entire search term in neutral quotes. (That then becomes a question of sort order.)
Podcasts that includes marked-up transcript in show notes, ideally linked to chapters
Better examples of podcasts with custom artwork at chapter breaks
Extremely large files (e.g., eight-hour YouTube livestreams converted to podcasts)
Removing articles (the, a, an, l’, os) and prefixes from sort order. (There is no MARC-like option to specify the number of nonfiling characters to elide)
When discussing playback speeds, a notation like 2× is not:
written as 2x (use the multiplication symbol × or
×), because an eks is not a multiplication sign
pronounced as “two eks” (it’s “two times,” e.g., “two-times speed” [also “one-times speed” for 1×])
RSS feeds I follow (exported occasionally)
Other test pages I’ve published (for Web standards, typography)
Posted: 2017.09.26 ¶ Updated: 2017.10.17