User Experience

Voice User Interface


App Design


Ongoing Project

Have you ever listened to a great podcast in the car and you come across something you want to remember, but you can’t write it down because you’re driving? That’s where Unpaused was born.

The majority of podcast listeners are busy people, people who usually listen while doing something else: driving, working out or even in the shower. While some people listen for entertainment, many listen to learn. And when you’re busy doing “something else” it’s impossible to take notes. Unpaused seeks to close the gap for busy multitaskers by allowing listening and hands-free features.

Closing the Gap for Lifelong Learners

51% of podcast listeners are more likely to be working in management and 60% more likely to be professionals. However, most of the apps on the market don’t target this audience. They’re built for a wider audience, and not specifically for professionals, executives and other lifelong learners. Unpaused closes this gap with two core features the go above the competition: ability for hands-free experience and in-app clips plus notes.

Planning & Research Fuels the Experience

We used our user research, IA and VUI maps to guide the wireframes and app designs. We focused on our core features and making sure the experience was as effortless, intuitive, and safe as possible for people to use wherever they consume podcasts. We made sure to provide straight-forward voice cues and feedback to ensure user goals are met. We even built in a specific player for use in the car, isolating the core functions: play/pause, clip and go back 30 seconds.

We used our user research, IA, and VUI maps to guide the wireframes and app designs.

Built for Lifelong Learners. Save Clips and Notes In-App

One of the core features for Unpaused is the ability to clip sections of a podcast and add notes about that clip. Think of this like bookmarks for podcasts—complete with annotations. We designed a clip library where users can sort and organize their related clips. Clips are also automatically sorted by show and episode. And with our VUI users can even save clips hands-free by asking Unpaused to clip the last 15 or 30 seconds.


Designing for Voice

Designing for hands-free/voice experience requires a different approach to UI than traditional App development. There are many different ways to achieve user goals, and the system needs to be prepared to account for as many scenarios and variations as possible. It’s also essential with voice to create an experience that’s as close to a natural conversation as you can get between human and machine.

Safety is the Number One Priority

Designing an app with an intended use-case while driving is a challenge. You need to make safety a top priority, so the app doesn’t distract the user from focusing on the road. For Unpaused, my focus was to minimize distraction by eliminating on screen prompts, isolating core controls, and creating a 100% hands-free UI so the driver doesn’t even need to take their hands off the wheel.

What’s Next for Unpaused?

Unpaused continues to evolve. I’m looking into adding sharing capabilities and crowdsourced clip libraries. Find a cool tidbit that your colleagues could benefit from? You’ll be able to connect and share right through the app. No time to listen to the full podcast? No problem just listen to short bits from the crowdsourced clip library.