Since our launch of the RadioPublic app in late 2016, there’s been a whole lot of listening (by you and by us) and between all the building and iterating, it was time to overhaul the entire app. Everything we’ve created so far – every view, component, and button, everywhere – was touched during the development of RadioPublic 2.0.
Take a look around the app for iPhone, Android, and hop into any RadioPublic show page on the web by visiting radiopublic.com/explore to see the changes for yourself, and read on to hear our thinking behind the changes.
The new design was guided by a few principles.
Make it easier to curate your own listening.
The first screen upon opening the app fresh each day delivers your followed shows and episodes, quickly and efficiently.
Encourage podcast discovery through listening.
Building upon the release of stations for iOS last spring, we wanted to make similar lean-back listening and discovery possible with our hand-curated selections throughout the app.
Smoothly transfer from web discovery to in-app subscription.
Wherever a podcast uses a RadioPublic show link or embed player on the web, the steps to download, follow, queue, and listen are as seamless as they can be.
Improve design and interaction consistency.
Web, iPhone, and Android are now all unified and utilize similar design components.
Embrace and improve distributed publishing
There are some unique challenges of unrestrained user-generated content when publishing and consumption aren’t fully integrated. RadioPublic doesn’t control what’s in a podcast’s feed, as RadioPublic is a highly specialized web browser that renders RSS feeds with audio enclosures. Since we only can work with the information a podcaster provides (or provides poorly, or doesn’t provide at all), there are design accommodations needed for edge cases to maintain visual consistency.
Let’s dive into the visuals.
Make it easier to curate your own listening
Your podcast listening app, first and foremost, is about your podcast listening. We made some key changes to keep that front and center upon opening the app and throughout your listening experience.
- Home and Smart Folders. Your first view upon opening the app is all about you and your podcasts. You can customize the folders on your Home screen, including the view (show or episode) to keep all your favorites organized and close at hand. We removed highlights and recommendations from Home, keeping discovery browsing and suggestions in Explore instead.
- Queue. There’s a whole new view here: you can now drag new episodes up into the Now Playing spot, which moves the old episodes into the Up Next spot. Adding episodes to the queue is now a single-handed action: swipe left to right on any episode name anywhere in the app to quickly add to your queue. From an episode card, you now have the option to add it to the Next or Last spot in your queue.
- HearMarks™ and Chapters. Keep track of interesting moments within a podcast episode while listening by adding a HearMark™, and return to those moments again with a tap. Your HearMarks show up alongside Chapters (preselected moments in episodes chosen by a podcaster) in the About The Episode view while listening to an episode.
- Trim silences and playback speed. Save a few seconds (or more) by intelligently removing pauses and adjusting listening speed from within your Now Playing screen.
- Search within a podcast. Use the search bar on any show page to surface episodes based on title or topic.
Encourage podcast discovery through listening
RadioPublic users love our hand-curated podcast selections, citing that they’ve found new shows to love from our ever-changing features. Sometimes even choosing from a curated list can take more work than desired when all you really want to do is listen. The motivation to get users closer to listening and “just push play” became part of our design all over.
- Stations. With just one touch, you can hear podcasts forever: tap the play button on one of our preset stations or tap the “Start listening” button anywhere on Explore on mobile to hear podcasts from within that collection. Save and return to any of the preset stations from your Home screen.
- Start listening now. Featured episodes on show pages make selecting an introductory episode easy, and play buttons anywhere encourage sampling–without needing to wait for a download or requiring a listener to subscribe to the show first.
- Marathon listening. “Start listening” on any show page, and episode after episode plays continuously.
- Add to queue. Anywhere you see an episode, swipe left to right to add it to your upcoming listening. This action moves a user that much closer to listening immediately, removing the need to decide where an episode should go or when to hear it.
Improve design and interaction consistency
For consistency across iPhone, Android, and the web we revamped our entire type stack, opting to use a san-serif typeface, Libre Franklin, an open-source update to the classic typeface Franklin Gothic. We selected Libre Franklin for its flexibility in both long-form type-setting as well as its ability to display headlines at larger sizes. You’ll now see it from head to toe throughout the entire app and web experience.
We’ve also chosen our color palette to support a core set of swatches which embodies the spirit of RadioPublic, while also highlighting the great podcasts, their artwork, and episodes presented in our app. With a muted color scheme, we can emphasize the content of each podcast and on key user interactions like starting playback, following the show, and adding episodes to the queue.
We also made improvements to the loading screens when you access a podcast for the first time and updated our accessibility for screen readers.
A streamlined onboarding from web to app to following a show
RadioPublic uses deferred deep links to keep a specific podcast front and center throughout the app download process. Any listener who runs across a RadioPublic link in the wild will be sent to the appropriate app store for their device, then they are presented with the show again upon opening the app for the first time – there is no sign in or sign up required in order to start listening. This is a significant selling point for podcasters, because a listener no longer gets lost along the way from finding a show to listening and subscribing in an app.
Before, first-time app users had to wade through a series of instructive screens before they got to the show they wanted. Now, it’s just two: opt-in to analytics and then they’re back to the show they were excited to listen to in the first place. All our onboarding tips are now strategically placed throughout the app to guide new users through RadioPublic’s features, and we also provide an option for users to dismiss instructions at any time.
If that wasn’t enough, we’re already working on more improvements. Soon to come:
- Updates to streamline navigation
- Preparing for “night mode”
- Episode recommendations based on topics you’ve heard
- Expanded ways to listen like CarPlay, Google Cast, etc.
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