Absolute Radio Player
Streaming radio apps for mobile, tablet, desktop & car.
A new direction in Absolute Radio’s digital strategy meant a shift of focus to connected listening, and in particular the player apps on web & mobile in order to convert anonymous listeners to logged-in listeners.
The goal was to provide a better listening experience and at the same time create a new revenue stream for the station. We could use InStream ad technology to replace the generic advertising breaks and serve only relevant ads to listeners, filling the remaining time with additional songs and station content.
In order to do this, we needed users to create accounts and provide some basic personal information so that we could target advertising, songs and content effectively.
We were tasked with overhauling the main listening products; the desktop player and native apps on iOS and Android.
Specifically, this included creating a new registration process and an interface that allowed users to retrieve all of a station's output in a visual format.
We also wanted to explore additional relevant features we could introduce to the native apps that might keep users listening for longer.
Defining the overall user experience
I worked in collaboration with the Product Director, Content Director, Development and Design Teams to establish the overall user experience.
The core element of the app experience (after audio) would be the visualised radio element. We decided that this should be the same no matter what platform you were on, to be delivered via a web view. We named the technology, Radiosync.
We also wanted to make sure that what we were building felt natural to the user of the platform so we made the decision to build the interfaces surrounding Radiosync using native elements.
Radiosync displays information from the station playout system. Every song, show, DJ, promotion, competition, news & weather item have metadata associated that we pulled out and used to visually describe what was happening on-air. Now playing and previously played songs were now right in front of users. Links to competitions and promotions could be placed in front users as soon as they'd been mentioned on air.
InStream technology interrupted the audio output with targeted ads for the user. We were able to mirror this with the interface, creating a web based interstitial ad that took over the screen. The ad could of course be anything from a survey to a game to a video, meaning more engagement for brands and more exciting, relevant content for users.
iOS and Android
We were able to take advantage of the native app platforms to add some additional features that would complement the radio. I designed an alarm clock function and night mode for the app that would mean the app could be kept at the bedside and wake users with their favourite radio station. I also designed a basic car mode feature with expanded button sizes for users that connected their phones to their car stereo systems.
The Radioplayer console is supplied "as is" for all stations to use. The console allows for a limited amount of room for customisation that doesn't include the core controls. We used the main customisation area to house Radiosync and skinned the rest of the interface with brand colours to create a similar look and feel as the apps, ensuring all our players had a consistent unified experience.
I worked with the Lead Developer to build the Radiosync timeline in-house. I was responsible for designing and building the timeline elements in HTML and CSS whilst the developer made sure the correct data was populating the feed and worked in unison with each app platform.
We worked with an external agency (All In Media) to build the native apps. I supplied a functional specification, map, completed visual designs of each screen and exported graphics for iOS. I also worked with the app developers to support and ensure correct implementation on Android which was ported across from my designs.
Within a year, overall connected listening was at an all-time high, and more than 50% of the Absolute Radio network’s users on Radioplayer desktop, and the branded iOS & Android player apps were logged-in while listening.