Redesign Project
Google Podcasts
What is the Focus?
Released in 2018, Google Podcasts is about exactly it's name: Podcasts. However, due to Google Podcasts only being on the market for a few years now, there were several areas of improvement that still needed to be made concerning both the logistics and aesthetics of the application.

Why does this Matter?
Google Podcasts has reached over 100 million downloads as of Spring 2021. Due to the applications relatively new launch and growth in consumers, there is a lot of potential for it to continue in growth. Through the redesign, our team sought to improve an application for an array of users.

How did we Implement?
As the design lead for this project, my vision for the project was to introduce several new features for the application and alter the layout of the way the application presents information to the user. My team and I were able to brainstorm and then implement new functions to the application and an improvement to the visual layout.
Duration
Sep. 2021 - Nov. 2021
My Role
Design Lead
Team
1 Design Lead, 3 UX Designers
Main Design Software
Figma
Research | Competitive Analysis
Listening on Various Applications

Initially, my team and I chose a few similar applications to compare Google Podcasts with such as Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and iHeart Radio. Google Podcasts and iHeart Radio seemed to have the least features available. Although this is somewhat explainable by iHeart Radio as they are more so focused on broadcasting live, Google Podcasts was severely lacking to it's competitors, especially Spotify and Apple Podcasts. However, Apple Podcasts and Spotify also had room for growth as neither had clipped time stamp sharing nor the ability to view others listening activity (only present on Spotify's desktop view, not mobile).
Research | Affinity Mapping
Categorizing Using Affinity Mapping

After comparing competitors, our team went through 15 interviews asking users of various ages and backgrounds their experiences and ideas concerning podcasts. Utilizing their responses, our team were able to get a better sense of what some of the users needs and struggles were, such as a possible preferences survey for onboarding or the likable simplicity of Google Podcasts.
Ideate | User Personas & Journeys
Old School Sophia's & Busy Brandon's Podcast Problems

Old School Sophia is your typical executive who's exhausted from her work day.  Busy Brandon, on the other hand, is looking for information he can use for some of his projects. Based off our user interviews, these two personas would be common users of the application itself. To better understand the personas we created, we  mapped out possible issues they may encounter. Busy Brandon may find trouble accessing certain podcasts while Old School Sophia may look for more relaxing podcasts.
Ideate | Information Architecture
Redefining Structure

Once we established a better sense of the users who would use Google Podcasts, we mapped out the information architecture. Our focus throughout the application would be: Onboarding, the Home Page, the Explore Page, and the Activity Page.
Transforming Ideas
Design | Sketches
Sketching the ConceptWith the main areas subdivided, my team started sketching some of the features of the application. Some of the places we focused on were the Social tab, the Activity Page, and the Explore Page.


Design | Low-Fidelity Wireframing
Establishing a Flow

With the sketches completed, my team and I began low-fidelity wireframing to better identify the flow of the process and see how we could connect the different components of application to one another. Shown below are some of the areas we focused on.


Design | High Fidelity Features
Identifying Key Features

With the low-fidelity wireframing made, we began to add greater context to the images itself. Below I showcase 5 of the areas we made improvements in: the Home Screen, the Explore Screen, Creating Playlists, Adding Playlists, and Social.

Design | High Fidelity Features
Onboarding

The onboarding begins by having an introduction to some of the features contained within Google Podcasts. Once a user logs in with their google account, they are redirected to a preferences page where they must select some of their interests so the app can begin to gain a better sense of what the user may be interested in.

Design | High Fidelity Features
Home

The home page has been redesigned to allow for filtering of content as well as to include the new added playlist function. Users have greater control of what is being shown to them and how they can better filter some of their own content.

Design | High Fidelity Features
Explore

The messaging feature encourages users to reach out about certain products and ask further questions if needed. The messaging feature can also be used to reach out to other members in the community to discuss other topics related to fashion.

Design | High Fidelity Features
Playlists

The playlist function allows users to have greater control of how they organize some of their favorite episodes. Users are able to add an episode to some of their established playlists. A snackbar at the bottom is displayed once a user completes the action.

Design | High Fidelity Features
Social

The social function is a new added tab to the activity page. With this feature, users are allowed to search for their friends or other podcasters and view their activity. You are also able to see what music people have been listening to and if they are currently listening.


Test & Iterate | How Might We
Gathering Further Information with User Testing

With the high-fidelity's complete, we went through another another 7 round of interviews testing the application. We focused on intuitiveness and customization. Listed below are two HMW statements that dive further into some of my improvements for the application.
Test & Iterate | How Might We
How Might We Add Playlist Customization?

Many of the users noticed that playlists included a display of the podcasts that are contained within the playlists. But, some users asked to have greater customization over their playlists by being able to choose their own cover photos. Users stated that this way they can add more of a personal touch to their playlists.

Test & Iterate | How Might We
How Might We Structure Genre Filtering?

Another complaint present was that the filtering for genres was not as intuitive to use. Users indicated that they did not understand their need to scroll down in the filters for genres. Therefore, my team and I added a scroll bar to make it more logical for the user that they should scroll if they want to view more genres.
Growth
Next Steps
Settings
Another feature that needed improvement was the settings component of the application. Unfortunately due to time constraints, we could not concentrate as much on this aspect, but it may be useful to restructure and add new components to the settings to make it more versatile and user friendly.
Increase in Socialization
While our team did focus on creating more of the social component by allowing users to follow one another, an aspect of further development could be sharing and messaging through the application itself. This may be easier to share certain podcasts with one another and make it easier to connect with new people on Google Podcasts.
Growth
Takeaways
It's Okay to Not Have All the Answers
As I was the design lead for this project, my teammates would often come to me with questions about the usability of the application itself or possible advice on aesthetics and how to best format the layout and content. And sometimes I didn't have an answer that I could give them on the spot. That's okay! As a lead it's important to be able to say to your team that you need to look into something first or give it some more thought before you give your team a direct answer. But, by working with my team to discuss and research some of the questions we were challenged with, we not only grew closer together, but also learned from one another.
Giving Constructive Criticism
Part of my job with leading was also to provide valuable criticism to help make sure my team was on track. As the project progressed, I got continuously better at providing more useful input with how some of the designs could be improved and what ideas my team could focus on. I also gave my teammates good feedback to help them identify what should be kept and what needed to be changed.
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