Web application development for a podcast platform | Case Study

Web application development

Enhancing podcast recommendations platform


Web application development

Enhancing podcast recommendations platform


How the Wise team offered the PodNods platform a more intuitive UI and implemented it within the shorter time-frames it was initially planned.

Industry

Audio Media
Location

United States
Time frame

3 months
Web application development
Industry

Audio Media
Location

United States
Time frame

3 months

Project Scope

PodNods is an online platform where one can find and interact with a variety of podcasts. The Co-founder of the startup approached us with the request to boost the UX of the platform's MVP.

Our team, involved in the design, implementation, and testing steps, helped to improve the overall visual representation of the brand, as well as added new payment functionality and performed high load testing before the Beta release.

Technology stack

Front end: React (Typescript)
Back end: Python (FastApi), Hasura
Database: PostgreSQL
Payments: Stripe, Stripe Connect
Devops: AWS, S3

Wireframing and prototyping
UX design
Front-end
development
Testing
Payment gateway integration
Performance & load testing

Background

Vivid podcast fans, the two Co-founders of our client company, had an idea to improve the way users search for audio content. While browsing through podcast apps, they noticed that some relevant and high-quality podcasts were rarely shown to potential listeners. The reasons hid in the search algorithms of the podcast apps, top charts that rarely included niche content, and overall insufficiency of the search results delivered.

This is how PodNods, a podcasting recommendation platform, was initiated. With its own proprietary, AI-based data augmentation, the platform allowed searching across millions of podcasting apps and websites and delivered more personalized results.

When the MVP of the platform was launched, the product had a basic design but still received a good evaluation from the target audience. The stakeholders decided to continue the platform’s development and proceed with their go-to-market strategy
This is how PodNods, a podcasting recommendation platform, was initiated. With its own proprietary, AI-based data augmentation, the platform allowed searching across millions of podcasting apps and websites and delivered more personalized results.
When the MVP of the platform was launched, the product had a basic design but still received a good evaluation from the target audience. The stakeholders decided to continue the platform’s development and proceed with their go-to-market strategy

Business & Tech Challenges

To achieve higher retention and loyalty from listeners, the team decided to considerably enhance the platform’s UX. And to help podcast hosts monetize their efforts and engage them in interacting with the platform directly, it was decided to add crowdfunding functions. This required building the payments functionality and integrating PodNods with the payment gateway system.

01
Insufficient user
experience

At the MVP step, the PodNods platform had a very schematic UI, and this helped the team quickly gather user feedback. As the product moved to the new development phase, the UI required improvements to increase engagement and earn trust from the audience.
02
Tight deadlines
imposed

Due to the planned marketing activities the PodNods team had really limited timeframes to improve the platform’s user interface and start integrating the crowdfunding functionality. The new platform was expected to have an updated look in 2 months.
03
Donation-based
crowdfunding

As the new product development step, the PodNods Co-founder decided to support the podcasters and provide monetization options for their efforts. The payment functionality required integrating new payment functionality, both on the back-end and front-end.
04
No relevant tech
partner

The Co-founder of the PodNods platform was looking for a new tech partner as the company they collaborated with previously didn’t provide the UI/UX design services. Besides, the project management was done on PodNods` site and was time-consuming.

Research & project assessment

Mercan, one of the PodNods’ Co-founders, turned to the Wise Engineering team with her ideas. Because her requests were very clear and well-described, our team could enroll in the project very quickly. Together, we set up the business objectives we were trying to meet, pre-defined the timeframes, and agreed on the fixed budget for the project. The team included a project manager, a designer, two front-end engineers, and a full-stack developer, who mentored the overall engineering process.

For us, communication with the client is a crucial part of the effective collaboration, so we also ensured the Wise team involved in the PodNods project and Mercan, the Co-founder, could communicate directly with each other. We also set up weekly demo meetings together. The project management part was done on the Wise side, still, Mercan could be as much involved in the process as she wanted and needed to be.
For us, communication with the client is a crucial part of the effective collaboration, so we also ensured the Wise team involved in the PodNods project and Mercan, the Co-founder, could communicate directly with each other. We also set up weekly demo meetings together. The project management part was done on the Wise side, still, Mercan could be as much involved in the process as she wanted and needed to be.
With the team covering several expertise points I was much more confident in the release we had. This was very important to me as I could spare only a limited amount of time to oversee the whole project.
Mercan Topkara, Co-founder

New aesthetics
for PodNods platform

The client’s request was to make a web application simple and intuitive for both user personas – listeners and podcast hosts.
The first ones needed a clear way to find episodes of new shows according to their interests and interact with them, create lists of podcasts to watch later and make donations for the shows they want to support. As for the podcast hosts, they needed the functionality to claim the content they own and define the budget they want to accumulate via crowdfunding for each podcast episode or series.

UI & UX analysis


The Wise team started the work with the detailed user experience analysis identifying the possible bottlenecks and confusing UI.
Since there was new functionality introduced, user actions needed detailed mapping, so after the analysis, we proceeded with wireframing all possible user flows and developed a new graphic concept for the platform.

Refreshing the visualization

The key element from the user experience perspective was to build user’s trust in the platform's credibility. The designer from the Wise side created graphics, icons, typography, block stylization, and illustrations for the new PodNods look.
Mercan participated actively in creating the changes for the layouts. She says that the ability to communicate with the designer even when the implementation step had started helped to introduce new ideas faster, instantly react to the focus group feedback, and create a truly user-friendly UI.

Podcast feed at the MVP stepPodcast feed at the MVP step
Updated feed with recommended podcastsUpdated feed with recommended podcasts

Web app development


When the design part was ready, the project manager on the Wise side helped to create the implementation roadmap for all the improvements. In close collaboration with the Сo-founder, we defined which product feature took the lead on the development list.
For each new component and feature, the Wise Engineering team was selecting the simplest implementation solutions to speed up the release time. The Wise team moved in small cycles that helped to check their viability for users and react to the feedback. Each functionality introduced was tested by the Wise team. The Wise team also performed the Component testing for the implemented feature.
With weekly reports, demos, agendas, and updates via Slack, Mercan, the Co-founder, always stayed up-to-date on the development progress. She could coordinate the process without needing to dive deeply into the project management routine.

Claiming the podcast

The podcasters could request authority for the content they created and then make the necessary setting to start accumulating funds from their audiences.

Accepting funds

When a host enabled the crowdfunding capabilities for a podcast, listeners could send funds with the custom sum for each of the content pieces.

Onboarding flow for listenersOnboarding flow for listeners. Step 1
Onboarding of the web applicationOnboarding flow for listeners. Step 3
We made it to an earlier release than we originally timed for. This was critical in my case as we got to align with a large marketing campaign that was happening earlier than our planned launch, and I really appreciated the team’s flexibility.
Mercan Topkara, Co-founder

Payment gateway integration


Integration with Stripe was a very important element of the new project development phase. Our team helped to set up Stripe and Stripe Connect integrations, both on the front-end and back-end.
The work our team had delivered made it possible for the PodNods team to proceed with introducing the crowdfunding capabilities to the PodNods' platform.

Onboarding steps of the web appSettings page for podcast funding

High load testing


Ownership is one of the key values at Wise Engineering. This means, whenever undertaking any of the initiatives, be it our in-house project or the one we've been hired for, our team takes full responsibility for its success.

When the PodNods team was preparing for the Beta release, the project mentor suggested performing the high load testing to make sure that the platform is ready for the increased number of users.

After the testing, the PodNods team received the system performance reports and data that allowed them to understand at what level their platform will require additional infrastructure scaling.
When the PodNods team was preparing for the Beta release, the project mentor suggested performing the high load testing to make sure that the platform is ready for the increased number of users.
After the testing, the PodNods team received the system performance reports and data that allowed them to understand at what level their platform will require additional infrastructure scaling.
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The Wise team was definitely acting as owners on this project and always went the extra mile on the product’s needs within their expertise. They were very proactive. Even before we signed the contract, they asked very relevant questions, took the time to understand the current status of the code base and product, and make the right plan.
Mercan Topkara, Co-founder

results

  • Wise as a tech partner accelerated the release time and helped to meet the strict deadlines.
  • Report on the high-load helped the team understand at what point the infrastructure optimization will be a must.
  • The platform’s front-end performance was improved, and Wise ensured cross-browser and cross-device compatibility.
  • The Wise team assembled a scalable tech stack for the platform that will help to easily evolve the product further.

Latest News
on the Project

Recently PodNods has joined the Sounder and continues developing their platform with the new reliable partner.
You can visit the PodNods website to discover niche podcasts, assemble a custom podcast library based on your interests, and more.

Insights for startups

From our experience working with multiple startups on MVP development , we know that every story of launching a new product is unique, and there is always something valuable to learn from each. The PodNods team took a great approach to product development, and you can learn some handy tips that helped the team succeed with their idea.

Build products with an impact

Build products with an impact

When conceptualizing any product, address the global problem it will solve. This will help to build impactful products that get traction.

Focus on client’s feedback

Focus on client’s feedback

No need to wait until the release to get opinions on the product you’re building. Consult industry experts, assemble a small focus group, and test everything.

Two people can launch a startup

Two people can launch a startup

With numerous vendors you can outsource the design creation and development to, you no longer need an office and in-house team to start fulfilling your ambitions.

Clear requirements do the trick

Clear requirements do the trick

The more clearly you envision the product, the faster the outsourcing team can start its implementation. With direct contact with every team member, you speed up every step.

Insights for startups

From our experience working with multiple startups on MVP development , we know that every story of launching a new product is unique, and there is always something valuable to learn from each. The PodNods team took a great approach to product development, and you can learn some handy tips that helped the team succeed with their idea.

Build products with an impact

When conceptualizing any product, address the global problem it will solve. This will help to build impactful products that get traction.

Focus on client’s feedback

No need to wait until the release to get opinions on the product you’re building. Consult industry experts, assemble a small focus group, and test everything.

Two people can launch a startup

With numerous vendors you can outsource the design creation and development to, you no longer need an office and in-house team to start fulfilling your ambitions.

Clear requirements do the trick

The more clearly you envision the product, the faster the outsourcing team can start its implementation. With direct contact with every team member, you speed up every step.
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