Redesigning a Social Podcasting Platform.
Youcerto is a social podcasting app that aims to create a platform for people to socialize while talking about topics they love and care about. This case study will take you through all the design processes and decisions.
Lead Product Designer
The current design and usability of the existing application were not meeting the expectations of users. Resulting in a decline in user engagement and a loss of customers. There was a need to redesign the app with a focus on improving its usability, functionality, and visual appeal to attract and keep users and improve the customer experience.
Youcerto is a social podcasting app that aims to create a platform for people to socialize while talking about topics they love and care about. With their tagline being “Back to Conversations”. They started with the goal of giving people a voice, and a platform where they can share their thoughts.
Currently, Youcerto has two main features, reading articles and joining rooms to talk about the articles. Articles can be anything from books, movies, recent news, sports, and finance. In every article you have the ability to comment and join rooms.
There can be many rooms for every article, allowing users to join different conversations within the article. Users also have the ability to create their own rooms and invite friends to talk about the topic.
These features make Youcerto a very social place where people can have conversations about things they love and enjoy. The goal of the project was to extend the range of features of Youcerto to better serve their customers.
Youcerto wanted to build a place where people can find and discover podcasts, and jump in a conversation and talk about topics they enjoyed.
I was in charge of coming up with a new user interface and experience, having had previous experience designing an IOS app from the ground up. I coordinated and led all facets of design- including information architecture, user task flows, interaction, visual design, and prototyping. I also conducted user research using methods such as interviews with current users, surveys, and participatory design, in order to address both user behavior and attitudes.
I conducted a survey with 15 users in order to gain quantitative data. I prepared a survey with Google Forms and distributed it among 15 users of the app, and held 5 personal interviews. This led to a good understanding of the pain points the users had.
72% Of users did not like that reading an article takes you out of the app.
67% Of the users wanted the ability to create podcasts and share articles.
87% Of the users faced problems in finding new content.
The key customers that we wanted to optimize the experience for were Podcast Listeners and Podcast Creators. We decided to not focus on the articles as much, since we wanted the app to be more focused on listening & talking.
From the two groups mentioned, we decided to focus primarily on the Podcast Listeners. While giving creators easy access to creating podcasts.
We came up with the user persona in order to better understand our user and their needs:
We are going to connect with our customers at any time that they have.
Listening to podcasts means that our users have a mobile device in front of them at various places — at home, in coffee shops, co-working spaces, airports, etc.
Our users needs are defined as; To be able to find something that they like quickly, they need to be able to share podcasts with others, and they need to hop in conversations with others fast. And to do that, I believe these are the questions our users should be able to answer when using our app.
01. What podcasts can I listen to right now?
02. What conversations can I join?
Based on the persona and our survey, we can see that our targets are young professionals that want to be heard. These users have a strong preference for mobile-first, fast, real-time communication.
This user group already listens to podcasts on Apple Podcasts or Spotify, so they want something that feels like those experiences, with conversation rooms included. With the need of being part of the podcast rather than just a listener.
Using Jacob’s Law, we wanted to create something that feels familiar to the user. This helped us leverage prevailing mental models and create designs that meet our users’ expectations.
Knowing the user can be using the app in different situations with different limitations, we decided to storyboard and solve for a car ride. With this being the most limited scenario on attention and time, this needed to be addressed. This would also benefit us for a better experience in any other scenario.
Before starting to build the app UI flow, I mapped the users tasks that explains the steps the user should take to use our app with success:
01. Finding Recommendations
02. Searching For a Podcast
03. Listening to podcasts
04. Joining Voice Rooms
05. Quickly Changing Podcasts
Before starting the prototype of the interface, the functionality of each page of the platform was analyzed. A map made it easy to navigate through many attributes during prototyping.
I started off the design by making some sketches of the main function of the app. Including all the main features of the app. After, I started making some low-fidelity wireframes in order to get my thoughts out and gain a basic understanding of what I’m doing. I did so by mapping out the interface, all of the screens, and the basic information architecture.
1. Personalized From the Beginning
87% of surveyed users answered that finding relevant content was difficult. With that in mind, we focused on recreating the onboarding experience from the ground up.
To solve this problem, we decided to put in place a screen when the app opens for the first time, giving users the ability to set their preferences. Users would also be able to go into their settings and change the topics even after sign up.
This leads to a personalized feed from the first moment they join the Youcerto. With this system in place, users will always have a personalized feed of podcasts and conversations that they enjoy listening to.
2. Creating Podcasts
Users wanted the ability to create their own podcasts, share their articles and have people join them in conversations. I did some research on podcasting to further learn about how often the users would create podcasts, as well as the process of creating one.
Learning that this would not be a feature users would use daily, I decided to go with the approach of not having it as a main button on the tab bar, but rather having it on their home page when users first sign up. This is in order to promote the feature, and let users know that creating is possible, as well as on the profile page as we can see on Image 2 on the Profile section.
3. Reading, Listening & Having Conversations
Reading articles is currently one of the best features of Youcerto. But with 72% of the users finding it difficult to read them outside of the app, we had to come up with an in-app solution to reading the articles. Making for a flawless experience between listening and reading.
We wanted to make listening to podcasts really simple, so we made it really simple.
Giving the users the ability to create and join voice rooms meant we also had to create a way for them to join through the podcast/article. This meant we had to include the voice rooms inside the podcast player. Using the bottom of the bar as support, we decided to develop secondary navigation within the podcasts. This is a place to navigate between Listening, Reading, and Conversations.
Designing the app has been a challenging and rewarding journey. It was clear from the beginning that the major challenge would be mixing articles, podcasts, and voice chats altogether. I also faced a challenge in creating a visually appealing application with so many features, with a big focus on usability and experience.
It was exciting to work on a real-world project with professionals in the field. I gained valuable experience and was able to develop skills that are more difficult to emulate in the academic world- like leading a UX project.
There are also a few stand out things that will stick with me: Sketched storyboard & hi-fi components make for a great way to express the context for certain features, without requiring a complete build-out of an experience.
This form clarifies important questions in advance. Please be as precise as possible, as it saves us both time.
Don't Like Forms? firstname.lastname@example.org