Nine’s four talk radio stations 2GB, 3AW, 4BC and 6PR act as a direct line to the moods and opinions of all Australians. With a refreshed and consolidated brand, the stations needed new apps to better serve their digital first customer base.
While the rest of my design team was engrossed in crafting new apps and websites for the AFR, Traveller, and Good Food, I eagerly seized the opportunity to delve back into Figma and meticulously construct these React Native apps from the ground up. My collaboration extended to the Radio leadership team to define the product vision, liaising with the branding agency to ensure digital prerequisites were fully integrated, and partnering with the newly assembled engineering team to facilitate a seamless design handover and quality assurance workflows.
Throughout this endeavor, I prioritized three fundamental principles that significantly influenced our initial build.
1 – Speed
The preceding apps often suffered from protracted loading times, and consistent feedback from our audience underscored the urgency of addressing this issue. Our engineers worked tirelessly to expedite the loading of audio streams, rendering most progress indicators obsolete.
2 – Audio first
Making a radio app “audio-first” may seem intuitive, but the old white-label apps were inundated with text-based articles and extraneous elements that diverted users from promptly accessing audio content. While certain features such as radio competitions and a few textual elements were retained, we excised most articles and banner ads, allowing daily shows, catch-up content, and podcasts to claim the spotlight. This principle also necessitated support for CarPlay, ensuring a seamless listening experience during commutes.
3 – Let’s talk
Talk radio thrives on live interactions between the stations and the Australian public. Facilitating swift and effortless communication with radio hosts became one of our core principles, with the inclusion of direct access to calling or texting wherever feasible.
Leading by example
One of the added advantages of designing a complete app experience from scratch is the opportunity to lead by example. Crafting and refining reusable components from the outset compels us to think about design patterns and foster a consistent and resilient design system—a working method I consistently encourage my design team to follow. This approach not only benefits the engineering team’s ability to swiftly develop their React components but also streamlines the process of making global changes, as exemplified in this case with the ongoing rebranding efforts.
Fairfax / Nine Publishing – 2016-2023