Apple Podcasts Feature within an Existing Product

Lyla Sapir
4 min readFeb 10, 2022

iOS · Features · User Interface · Prototyping · Testing

Project Overview

Researcher UX/UI Designer · 80 hours · Figma

Project Goals

Introducing new features to a popular iOS application, Podcasts. The new features create convenience while also presenting a social experience. This case study proposes further expansion of Apple Podcasts in order to increase revenue, while maintaining Apple’s brand identity.

Research

I started my research by conducting secondary research and competitive analysis to discover the strengths and weaknesses of Apple Podcasts in comparison to additional podcast applications. I then conducted a survey, 20 Apple Podcast users, to generate quantitative and qualitative data. This data helped me validate my assumptions and give further insights into enhancing the current Apple Podcast application.

Findings

  1. There are many basic features missing in majority of Podcast applications.
  2. 50% of respondents said it takes them more than 5 minutes to find an interesting episode to listen to.
  3. Survey respondents agree that there are important features that Apple Podcast application is missing; episode sorting, ability to filter, etc.
  4. Survey respondents responded enthusiastically about an influential platform to follow for recommended podcast episodes.

Define

Persona

Using the research findings, I created a primary persona. Because the audience for this project was so specific to Apple Podcast users, it was important to create a specific persona. This was designed by cross-referencing quantitative and qualitative data from my user surveys, which was an important reference point for making design/feature decisions moving forward.

The Journey

Since the process of finding a podcast episode is a series of steps that involved the new added features, I needed to synthesize my research in a way that would show an in-depth view of a users experience searching for a podcast episode using the added features. This empathy map and task flow uncovered key emotional moments that needed to be addressed.

Defining Important User Tasks

Users said that they wanted to be able to filter podcasts quickly (by top-rated, latest released, most reviewed, etc.), which would help users select a podcast efficiently — all within a few clicks. This user task flow depicts that optimized and linear journey.

An additional feature of a social platform includes following influencers, this task flow shows a user following Barack Obama and listening to one of Obama’s favorite podcast episodes. This second user task flow depicts that journey of using Apple Podcasts social platform to share podcasts.

Design

Mid-Fidelity Wireframes

Creating wireframes was an important step in discovering which design patterns within Apple Podcasts are clear, and how users would navigate between the existing screens and new features. Due to time restraints, I translated the flows directly into mid-fidelity wireframes.

High-Fidelity Wireframes

Test

High-Fidelity Prototype & Usability Testing

Through high-fidelity prototype usability testing, users were able to incorporate the new features into the real flow of Apple Podcasts application. The goal was to gain a better understanding of how users interact with Apple Podcasts, assess users’ ability to identify and the efficiency of the new features, and notice any obstacles that could be further improved or avoided. Overall, testing was a success — tasks were completed by users at a 100% success rate. Although qualitative feedback revealed that users’ had a hard time understanding when a task was “completed” meaning the button states can be improved.

(Clickable prototypes below, and also available on Figma)

Lessons Learned

  1. Apple Podcasts users want to find an episode that interests them quickly, without having to spend too much time searching.
  2. Creating a social platform can bring more users and revenue to Apple Podcasts through an influential, education, and promotion environment.
  3. The key to adding a feature to Apple Podcasts was to keep a consistent design, this helped avoid any unusual or frustrating emotion towards the new features. Instead it created an enjoyable and easy user flow as if the new features were already part of the application.

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