The UK has a thriving and varied radio scene, with hundreds of regional and local stations competing for ear-time with the big broadcasters. Radioplayer has been a force for good in internet radio, ensuring mobile listeners could get to their favourites and also make happy discoveries along the way. The Radioplayer Android and iOS apps are deservedly popular in the UK for the wide choice of stations on offer and the combination of quick listening and serendipitous discovery. Our job was to translate that success to Windows Phone, creating a unique experience that leverages the capabilities of the platform.
With stations ranging across the country and from classical and jazz to techno and rock, the app had to appeal to a very broad demographic. It was essential to make station discovery – both for known favourites and potential new prospects – easy and enjoyable. For universal appeal, we had to provide a simple, enticing way in and ensure that a user would stick with the app, regardless of musical preference.
These 3 things were critical to the success of the app:
Always visible player controls
Allowing users to play or pause a station from anywhere within the app. The design challenge was ensuring that this feature did not take up too much space and user attention, both visually and functionally. Prototyping led us to adapt the Windows Phone app bar, creating a user experience that felt familiar to users and fit organically with the overall Windows Phone look and feel. Like the standard app bar, the player has 2 states. A default minimized state gives quick, uncluttered access to the essentials: play/pause and currently playing info. When maximized, the player reveals related shows or stations, sharing and favourite options.
In essence, encouraging discovery of relevant and new stations. We combined a number of features to support this goal:
- Recommended – suggesting stations based on the user location and previous listening choices.
- Search – a powerful tool with options to search for stations, shows, and presenters.
- My stations – auto-populates with recent items. Stations can also be made favourites to ’stick’ them to the list.
- Pinning – personalizing the phone start screen with individual tiles that deep link to favourite stations.
- Supporting multiple stream types – it was essential to cover the full range of media streams and formats used by various stations (HLS, MP3, AAC, Shoutcast). This meant we had to bring in new tools for foreground and background playback on Windows Phone, and ensured that playback was smooth especially on lower-powered, mass-market devices.
Michael Hill, Managing Director and a visionary behind Radioplayer, was critical in guiding the product to market: “We were very excited to bring Radioplayer to a whole new audience. Matchbox were invaluable in helping us translate the experience to the Windows Phone platform, while preserving what makes Radioplayer unique.”
Radioplayer’s rich set of APIs, coupled with the hundreds of UK radio streams, meant we were able to create a well-rounded and first-class radio experience on Windows Phone. We look forward to seeing how people use it and how the app evolves on this exciting platform.
Get the app
- Top rated radio app
- Multi-stream support
- Over 60,000 downloads
- User Experience
- Visual Design