Joel Brydon, Scott Spark, Carlin Beattie, Adam Jesson, Judy Adair, Andrew King
For years the ABC listen app has been the audio companion for Australians of all walks of life. The app continues to represent the breadth and immediacy of Australia’s national broadcaster, and now surpasses the level of experiential quality that the listening world has come to expect from other apps.
Aggregated streaming experiences with colossal content offerings and enormous production teams have raised expectations for streaming apps everywhere. To maintain ABC listen's value in our listeners lives, we had to think beyond brute force tactics and create an experience which reflects the ABC’s unique relationship with its audience. Audio-first apps face an additional challenge: Most of the audience experience is based on listening, not interacting with a screen. The screen experience therefore needs to provide a seamless and efficient journey to content, whilst simultaneously offering opportunities to discover and explore but not overwhelm.
Creating a set of research informed design principles was a crucial early step to ensure that design decisions stay true to the needs and aspirations of both our audience and internal brand. The result is an experience that only shows what's needed, when it's needed. It showcases the vibrant look and feel of the ABC’s brand and artwork, sprinkling magic into each interaction. It also provides the right balance of agency and convenience. It ensures the ABC’s trusted and valued voice reaches its audience, through an experience which has been shaped by that audience’s habits and needs.
The baseline impact is to provide fast yet meaningful choices to our listeners as they go about their day. To ensure that any glance at the screen is always met with a manageable amount of information, and a mix of new and familiar content choices. On a deeper level, we can think of ABC listen as an audio companion. Favourites from previous sessions greet listeners when they open the app. Meanwhile a mix of curatorial and personalised content ensures you won't become trapped inside a 'filter bubble'. Any given content page contains well-considered next steps to present as options.
A vibrant but useable UI: •A slick UI which showcases the dynamic art direction of our content art. •Sneaking 'bits of magic' into motion transitions and interactions. •Meticulous consideration given to accessibility. Examples include ensuring text magnification is still legible, screen readers and colour contrast (optimised for accessibility). An interface that only shows what you need: •A lot of face to face research has gone into deciding which levels of detail are pertinent at what time. The result is deliberate rules on progressive disclosure of metadata, controls and pathways. •No dead ends. Every page in the app includes well considered supporting information and related content. Useful levels of customisation without being overwhelming: •Select your favourite shows and stations, or let the app make informed suggestions for you. •Using localisation features means you will still catch the big stories, but will also get a better mix of stories closer to home. Pick up where you left off, but don't miss out on new things: •A 'convenience aisle' at the top of the homescreen aggregates the programs you have listened to in the past. •A curated blend of breaking stories, editor's picks and personalised content are also within reach on the homescreen.