As a student in the class of 2016 in SVA's MFA, Interaction Design program, I spent the my last two semesters working on my thesis project.  The thesis process I experienced was different from what most people are familiar with. At SVA, the thesis process consists of research, design, prototyping, iteration, defense, a process book, and a final presentation.  Although I worked on my project alone, I was also required to find a thesis advisor. I chose an advisor who was a subject matter expert, to balance my product design knowledge with knowledge of the space I was designing for. 

As an avid podcast listener, I thought exploring the podcast listening experience could be rewarding and decided to focus on that. 

Other forms of media, like TV, movies, and music have products that make discovery and consumption easy, like Hulu, Netflix, and Spotify. While many podcast listening apps exist, most of them focus on the podcast player or sharing episodes, overlooking many of the other things people want to do like make and receive recommendations, discuss, and connect with other listeners.


Give users a way to listen to, interact with, and discuss content that matters to them.

Key Questions

How might we make podcast listening more social?

How might we make it easier to discover new podcasts?

App Map

After rounds of research and iteration, I created an app map to organize the architecture of the app and determine the best places for the features to live. 

Sketches & Wireframes

After solidifying the app's architecture, I began sketching and wireframing my ideas. 

After I finished the wireframes, I shared them with my classmates and advisor. As I shared them I realized that the hierarchy in the bottom navigation did not lend itself to quickly getting to personalized recommendations. I re-prioritized based on my goals and designed my first proof of concept. 

Earshot Proof of Concept

Feedback on Earshot v1

I received the following feedback on my Earshot proof of concept: 

  • Rating
    • What are other ways ratings can be done beyond smiley faces?
    • Is there a special way to share a podcast you REALLY enjoy?
  • Conversation
    • What are the moments that call for conversation and how you can you make the feature contextually relevant?
  • Friends/Following
    • What is the social scale? Is the interaction meant to be more like Snapchat (private), Facebook (option for private and public), or Twitter (public)?

These questions guided the final design of Earshot.