The Challenge

Design a product for an iOS native app tailored to integrate into an existing brand's identity and ecosystem.

          Company   Rolling Stone

UX/UI Designer   Andre Andrushenko

       Timeframe   7 Business Days

Problem Statement

What would be a fun way for people to gain interesting insights into the culture and the historically opulent landscape of NYC as they walk around?

An app that will utilize location services technology to tell interesting stories about NYC’s artistic and cultural history related to and integrated with the city’s landscape. The app will be in the form of podcasts, photos, articles, and links to music.

Rolling Stone magazine is really behind the times, specifically in the digital sphere where research uncovered that the magazine has a ton of archived content sitting behind a paywall.

Rolling Stone has access to A-list celebs and a talented staff reputable for quality content. They also just recently launched a podcast series, making Rolling Stone an ideal brand for such an app. There's an opportunity to increase revenue by developing an app that leverages these assets.

The app? RadPod NYC.

Monetization: selling ad space as well as adding subscribers to Rolling Stone's archived content.

Agile Process at Work...

The demands of a tight deadline and working individually only allowed enough time to conduct a total of 4 user interviews. This provided enough data to incorporate into a single persona... treading lightly on the research was a tradeoff I had to make during the design sprint. However, I kept a mental note of secondary (native New Yorkers) and terciary (music/history affectionados) personas.

That's right. After 4 qualitative interviews, and two collaborative discussions with seasoned designers my vision had considerably shifted with regard to who the principle, primary users were.

An app idea orginally imagined as a solution for someone like me . . . turned out to not have me as a primary persona. And that, ultimately, altered the design decisions and a good part of the original vision. Which is why I always remember, "You are not the user." And that's even if you start out as one!

The Flow (prototype below)

User Flow for Rolling Stone Web VersionUser Flow for Rolling Stone Web Version

The Prototype and Business Objective

The primary target user is someone who values quality content, someone who goes in-depth on things of interest to them. This app is designed to be an immersive experience.

Once the primary user receives value and enjoys using the app we will seek to capitalize with CTAs that lead users to subscribe to Rolling Stone's archived content. In the interim, the app makes money through refferal links and tactically placed advertisements.

How was this Accomplished?


Through Research and Strategic Planning.

Research suggests that to the target demographic, young men, RadPod NYC would be an exciting product with value. 3 out of 4 users were excited about such an app, with one target user, sadly declaring,

"NYC does a very poor job of showing its history."

With respect to features, a Comparative Analysis of apps like Float City and NY Rock History Tour proved useful. The information architecture changed as a result of doing this analysis - a List section was added. 50% of users tested showed a desire for such a feature. With such a small sample size however, it was a qualitative judgement call. 

Slightly Unorthdox Research Method

John drinks Youtube InterviewJohn drinks Youtube Interview

Get a Prospective User Tipsy!

John, from the targeted user demographic, is fairly new to New York having arrived from Wales a few short months ago. His interview swayed me to add iconic sites to the original idea (the hidden gems of NYC). Tourists, and people who are new to NYC, were a demographic I hadn't considered, oddly enough, as potential target users. I was going for New Yorkers walking home from work wanting to gain insight into their city. But now, thanks to John's interview and 2 others, the app needed to incorporate walking tours with iconic sites in its architecture.

Let's Take a Brief Wire Walk

If you would like more detail about the process or an in-depth look at some of the data points, check out my retrospective. Please contact me if you would like to see the research report or the specifications documentation.

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