An evolution of Podcast listening user interfaces 2004 — Today.
I’ve seen and used my fair share of podcatchers. From 2006 — 2015 I was at PRX working with an awesome team to build listening apps and tools for public radio producers, stations and podcasters. Back in 2005 we released one of the first podcatcher apps called Pubcatcher, which helped public radio stations curate podcasts for their audiences.
While we were building apps for This American Life, Radiolab, The Moth and our own apps like PRX Remix and the Public Radio Player we tried almost every new podcatcher or podcast listening app came out. We downloaded and discussed what we thought worked in those apps and where the experience could be better. We’d crib here and there, but also advanced and introduced new simplified interactions. We tried out so many apps. People liked what we were doing.
“I am so in love. This app plays 24/7 wherever I am. It’s almost like I can’t function anymore without it on!” — review for PRX Remix on iOS
This Wikipedia page tracks 33 noteworthy podcatchers, but there have been so many more created over the years. Many apps end up getting an in-depth review of the user interface, but I hadn’t seen anything that collected them into a single place. As I start a new adventure at RadioPublic, bringing podcasts to a much, much larger audience, I thought it would be fun to review the history of podcast UI as we imagine and build the future.
It’s interesting to see how the interfaces for listening to podcasts have evolved, or haven’t. I’m not trying to highlight every change and minor update all apps, more capture a slice of what was happening at that time. Please let me know if there are glaring omissions or if you have suggestions for additions.
Scripts, iPods MP3 players and desktop software
While searching for interfaces from that time I found this “what is a podcast?” article written in 2005. Fun to see what hasn’t changed when you compare that with how Ira Glass explains them to us in 2015.
How to listen to podcasts: http://www.cbc.ca/podcasting/gettingstarted.html
Anyone have screenshots of the early Odeo UI? Maybe Ev?
How to listen to podcasts: http://www.naxos.com/podcasts/help.asp
2008 — The iPhone arrives
2014: The Serial podast arrives
We make listening to podcasts better, by listening to the people who make them
We are making radio awesome. It’s already simple, reliable, intimate, and universal — 240 million Americans listen to it every week. But it’s also 125 years old and ripe for a reboot. We’re taking the simplicity of radio and marrying it with everything great about the Internet, podcasts and mobile apps.