Jocelyn CheungSenior Product Designer

Future of Podcast Listening


Leading up to the pandemic, the podcast industry has sustained strong and steady growth in investments, listenership, and innovations. The podcast industry proved itself to be versatile despite the pandemic. 

In this exploratory project, we reimagine the future of podcast listening. As the project lead, I drafted the project plan, estimated timelines and recruited teammates. I headed user experience, shaped concepts, and injected interactions. We worked in lockstep with the company growth team.

Contact me for full case study.

Timeline3 Weeks, 2020
2 designers, 1 product manager
Downloadable report published for company lead generation in 2021


Explore podcasts as a new market during economic downturn
② Equip growth team to approach clients
③ Establish insights for the current and future landscapes
④ Produce artifacts for marketing use

Connected Playbook card deck

Project Phases

Using the Connected Playbook, I mapped the project plan and key activities.

Business Research
Compare unique offerings of key players to uncover opportunity areas. Conduct competitive product analysis, and gather and analyze trends.

User Research

Uncover listener behaviours and needs in the landscape. Interview users and create user profiles.

Concept Generation

Generate ideas and prioritize per user needs, impact and trend fit. Conduct ideation workshops, affinity mapping, and prioritization exercises.


Prototype prioritized ideas and testing with users to validate demand and mature concepts. Collaborate on low-fidelity wireframing, critiques, and testing.

Understanding the Big Players and Emerging Trends

Supplementing previous research on the podcast ecosystem, we conducted competitive analysis on leading players with goals of identifying trends and patterns. 

We reviewed Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Breaker, Overcast, and Luminary, noting what each player excels at, lags behind, and has in pipeline. Through press releases, technology news, and industry reports, we extracted five emerging trends that highlight the industry’s response in the podcast ecosystem. 

The Podcast Listener

We conducted interviews with potential podcast listeners, casual listeners, and frequent listeners. Coupled with digital archaeology, we created user profiles with themes in Discovery, Interoperability, Consumption and Sharing.

How Might We...

Armed with new insights, we created How Might We Statements to ground our ideation process. During ideation sessions, people from different company disciplines, comprised of casual and avid podcast listeners generate ideas for the future of podcast listening.

Sample HMWs:

On Interoperability, how might we empower listeners to listen anywhere, across any number of platforms and devices, without interruption?"

On Sharing, "How might we enable sharing, facilitate discussions and nurture communities for both listeners and content creators?"

So Many Ideas, Not Enough Time!

With hundreds of stickies on hand, we sorted, grouped, and documented them in Airtable. We outlined three criteria for evaluation:

User ImpactDoes it provide value to listeners? 
On ThemeDoes it match any emerging trends?
Feasibility Can it be validated within our capabilities?

The winning ideas graduate into the next phase with input from the growth team.

Testing Prototype : Acting and Clickable UI

Prototyping gives form to our ideas so that they can be used for validation with users. We created low-fidelity wireframes with Figma and wrote voice scripts for voice-driven concepts. The functional prototypes were then brought in front of designers for critique and users for testing. During test sessions, we acted out scenarios and asked for feedback on usefulness. Some tested concepts are:

  • Contextual Recommendations
  • Multi-Media Listening
  • Audio Timeline Discussions
  • Quote, Save and Share
  • Public/Private Group Sessions

Refining Demo for Client Approach

Armed with insights from the test sessions, we summarized our efforts in demos like high-fidelity wireframes, animated GIFs, and videos. I worked on the interactivity of the mockups while the other designer led the visual design. 

Future of Podcast Report

This research and prototype was used by the growth team to approach clients and eventually adapted by the marketing team onto the company website as a downloadable resource.  

As this project was done during the pandemic, the team learned valuable skills in innovating for downturn, remote collaboration, and knowledge in a new field.

Blending systems thinking and team processes to deliver products used by markets vast and niche. Worked at Connected (Thoughtworks) and Labfront.

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