Enhanced podcasts

Enhanced podcasts

Data-rich interactive audio player

Podcasts are a popular medium for people to pursue interests and learn about the world. However, being an audio-only format, it can often be difficult for listeners to comprehend visual or numerical subjects. We developed the concept of “enhanced podcasts”, which offer a rich user interface that bring a whole host of new features. These allow you to navigate using a transcript, view relevant charts and images, follow related links, view contributor profiles, and share clips.

Credit: BBC

We used paper prototyping techniques to support audience members in designing an interface for this new concept. We presented them with a collection of paper elements for various features that they could arrange on a blank paper “screen”. We asked them to design their ideal interface while chatting us through their reasoning. Through this process, we designed a vertically-scrolling transcript-based interface, divided into chapters, with graphics, relevant links, and clip sharing.

We collaborated with Radio 4’s More or Less to produce a proof-of-concept with content from their chart-topping podcast. We trialled our prototype on the BBC’s Taster platform, which was promoted through the podcast. Over 1,000 people tried it and we collected their feedback through a survey. 89% of respondents agreed that the BBC should make more shows this way. This early work inspired new features for iPlayer and Sounds, such as programme chapters and live highlights.

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