In The Mix

Optimising the user experience for BBC Sounds

Platform Development

Replacing iPlayer Radio, BBC Sounds is the new home of audio at the corporation. Bringing together live radio, podcasts and music content, this impressive platform aims to better serve younger audiences – the previous app was used by only 3% of people under the age of 35 each week – and provide a more appealing and joined-up experience.

One of the most important features on BBC Sounds is ‘mixes’ – curated playlists which build around diverse themes and leverage a wealth of talent. Working with both the comms and product teams, our role was to research comprehension of the offer, to explore barriers/drivers to use, how best to develop the editorial and recommendations for marketing and messaging. Time to tune in…

Project Design

+ Speed was of the essence on this project - the stakeholder teams were moving at pace and in no mood to slow down! - as was fostering collaborative working practices

+ We designed a relatively streamlined workshop approach, working with participants who exhibited varying levels of enthusiasm for streaming services

+ We enabled the BBC team to contribute to these sessions, and factored in time between each of them to modify stimulus and evolve the messaging and content

+ Next to the workshops, we also staged individual depth+surf sessions, allowing for more granular exploration of the user experience, with participants ‘thinking out loud’ as they performed the tasks

Advancing The Functionality, Driving Appeal

Our strategic recommendations covered improving visual and textual signposting, pinpointing the mix themes that resonated most strongly, advancing the functionality, driving appeal and comprehension, and how best to deploy both BBC talent and BBC branding.

With our work making a direct impact on the finished product and on how it was promoted, online and offline, BBC Sounds has gone on to gain numerous plaudits at launch and since.