With new UI, 3Crowd keeps it simple stupid

Hoping to draw enough users to make its innovative peer-to-peer content delivery network model work, 3Crowd has redesigned its CrowdDirector dashboard UI to make using the service drop-dead simple. Call it the consumerization of enterprise services, or just smart business, as cloud computing and platforms make it far easier for less technically savvy people to hop online, build and manage content delivery network services.

For many publishers, using a CDN is like putting their digital files into a black box and hoping it comes out intact on the other side. But 3Crowd is looking to change all that by making it easier for publishers to manage and even roll their own CDN resources. And it just made that process even easier, by rolling out an updated user interface for its CrowdDirector CDN management product that gives its users an at-a-glance view of all the CDN and caching resources available to them.

Founded by Bitgravity Co-Founder Barrett Lyon, 3Crowd provides publishers with technology to create and manage federated CDN services. The first product it brought to market was CrowdDirector, which lets publishers manage multiple CDN offerings for price and performance, thereby making more efficient use of content distribution. It followed that release up with general availability of its CrowdCache product, which converts existing network resources into caches that they can use to build their own CDN services.

The goal of all this is to create a gigantic federated CDN customers can take part in by lending spare servers and storage to, or can take advantage of by hooking into other third-party resources. By doing so, 3Crowd hopes to democratize and disrupt the entire CDN business. But CDN isn’t exactly an easy business to get into, so the company has been working on making it drop-dead simple with an update to its user dashboard.

“It’s such a complicated product that the UI and design flow need to work right,” Lyon told us in a phone interview. Since launching CrowdCache, 3Crowd has had hundreds of new customers sign up, but the initial process of setting up an account wasn’t as seamless as it had hoped. As a result, it received a lot of support questions and the team had to do a lot of hand holding to get them up and ready. “By cleaning the UI up, we made it really easy to create a CDN without much effort,” Lyon said.