Creating a content rich radio experience
for the KEXP Listeners community


Project Overview

What is KEXP?

KEXP is a nonprofit arts organization serving music lovers and artists through in-person, broadcast, and online programming. KEXP operates one of the most influential listener-supported music radio stations in the world, 90.3 KEXP-FM Seattle, with online and on-air service reaching over 200,000 global listeners each week.

My Project Focus

For this project, I focused on interaction design and visual design. I was responsible for creating wireframes and interactive prototype using Sketch and Invision based on our researcher’s findings and usability testing results. I was also in charge of creating the high-fidelity prototype. In addition to my role as a designer, I was also the project manager making sure our project was in focus and on time. In this case study, I will be including a brief summary of our research findings to enhance your understanding of my reasoning behind the different design decisions I made.


Paper prototype, wireframes, interactive prototype, and visual mock-ups

Project Length

August 13th - August 24th
2 Week Design Sprint

Project Roles

Clare Lee
Interaction & Visual Designer

James Harker
User Researcher & Information Architect

Problem Statement

"The KEXP’s iOS application fails to address company's purpose and culture as a “listener-powered non-profit arts organization,” causing inconvenience and disconnect due to inaccessible and dispersed contents and lack of social interactivity. We can serve our users by providing centralized content access and community engagement through the newly designed application."

Interactive Prototype

Research Findings Summary

KEXP is a radio station which thrives on donation and voluntary support from its local community. The station is regarded as an arbiter of musical taste, and draws in listeners across many genre demographics. The station’s listeners are supportive of the local music scene and are exploratory in their music listening. The station also has a large international audience, drawn to the quality programming KEXP provides including in-depth interviews, podcasts, carefully curated playlists, and live performances by underground artists. The KEXP mobile application serves predominantly as a split-attention activity, as most users tune in while commuting and enjoy the convenience of music curation instead of active exploration.

    Landing Page & Navigation

  • Currently Playing Song
    The currently playing song information is displayed on the main landing page because our usability testings result showed that the primary information users seek for from a radio is what the currently playing song is.
  • Show Schedule
    Because KEXP listeners track specific DJs and shows, it is important for the users to easily access the show schedule of the day.
  • Navigation Bar
    The primary navigation bar is placed on the bottom of the screen as common practice for native iOS apps. The navigation bar consists of on-the-go contents, allowing split-attention users to access them right away.
  • More Button
    Instead of having a hamburger menu at the top corner for secondary contents (full-attention content, regional-specific content, and settings ) a "more" button was included in the nav for concision and easy access.
See Design Iterations
Iteration 1

Iteration 1. Users had difficulty locating the favorites button and felt the settings button was unnecessary. Users also felt the navigation scheme confusing and logically inconsistent.

Iteration 2

Iteration 2. Users felt the “none-selected” box confusing, and preferred not to be displayed when nothing is playing.

Iteration 3

Iteration 3. Users pointed out that we needed more brand presence of KEXP. We decided to enhance the brand by using KEXP's brand color and including its logo and name on the landing page.

    Play Stream

  • Song Description
    Users enjoy listening to KEXP curated songs because the DJs often provide fun facts about the songs and artists they are playing. Thus, this information can be accessed right away by simply tapping the song title.
  • Easy Access to Full Playlist
    Because users use KEXP as a tool of song discovery, the playlist for the currently playing show is accessible at all times instead of it being on a separate page.
  • Integrated Donation Button
    Because KEXP heavily relies on donation, donation button is integrated into this page as listeners are more inclined to donate, while listening to their favorite shows.
  • Send Message to DJs
    Many KEXP listeners are deeply engaged with the shows by sending heartfelt messages and song requests. Thus, a message box was placed at the bottom of the screen, like a chat box, allowing listeners to send messages directly through the app.
See Design Iterations
Iteration 1

Iteration 1. Users liked how our design had a similar look to apple music and spotify, a music application our target users are commonly exposed to. However, users felt the wording of “support” misleading.

Iteration 2

Iteration 2. We wanted to make the song description of the currently playing song easily accessible. However users felt the display location odd, and felt the back arrow to go back to the original layout confusing.

Iteration 3

Iteration 3. Users suggested that they would like to make sure they received feedback for their sent messages. We decided to include a push notification when the user’s message is being read. Users also pointed out the “send message” box seems more natural to be located in the bottom.


  • Show Description
    Users can read the specific theme of the currently playing episode. Because there is a contrasting background, users can differentiate this description from the rest of the playlist.
  • Toggle Open Song Descriptions
    Users liked the accordion list, where users can swipe through and toggle open descriptions for any song instead of having to open a separate window for each song like the current application does.
  • Music Store Access
    Users have immediate access to music stores for each song.
KEXP Playlist

    Show Archive

  • Vertical Date Scroll
    Because KEXP only archives up to 2 weeks of shows and users keep track of missed shows by date rather than by other filters, the archived show list is filtered by date. The vertical scroll is placed on the right so it is easily accessible for on-the-go, split-attention users.
  • Consistent Description Box Layout
    The description box for each show has a similar look and consistent information layout as the main page's show description box, allowing users to obtain information at a glance.
See Design Iterations
KEXP Show Archive
Iteration 1

The Current Interface. The current KEXP application archives up to 2 weeks for international listeners and those who missed a show. The current application organizes the show archive with multiple filters such as by DJ, date, and genre, making the current design unnecessarily confusing to navigate.

Iteration 2

Sketches. Because our research showed that people kept track of shows by dates, we decided to organize the shows only by date. I explored multiple ways of navigating the shows by date such as a calendar style layout, date picker, and horizontal scroll.

Iteration 3

Iteration 1&2. Since shows are only archived for 2 weeks, we decided to have a date scroll bar. Users pointed out that having the scroll bar at the top inconvenient during our first round of testings. Since we wanted to target on-the-go, split-attention users, we decided put the date scroll vertically on the right corner.

    Live Performance

  • Because many KEXP listeners enjoyed the live performances hosted by KEXP, a live stream feature was included to further increase community engagement through the app. The design is based on the Instagram Live feature, a live stream feature our target persona is commonly exposed to.
  • Send Comment
    Users can send comments live so users can support the performing artists and also send questions/reactions for live interview sessions.
KEXP Live Performance


  • Although donation is such an integral part of KEXP’s non-profit business operation and within its culture, the current application takes users to a separate web page for donation. In order to address this inconvenience and KEXP’s donation culture, the redesign supports in-app donation.
  • Step Wizard
    Donation process is guided through a step wizard, informing users the different options and information they need to fill out. Users can also be aware of the simplicity of the whole process.
KEXP Donation

What I learned

The Farmer Vs. Hunter Approach to Design

During our initial planning process, my teammate and I had very different design strategies. While my teammate focused more on the “farmer” approach, re-designing and polishing the current features, I had a “hunter” approach, adding new features and completely changing the current design. We eventually came to a conclusion that we need a little bit of both for this project and balancing will be the key to success, given the time constraint. I learned that we were able to create a good balance because we consistently communicated our goals for the final design, develop a clear problem statement, and prioritized using multiple feature prioritization techniques.

Navigation Scheme

We had great usability testing results and users loved how we made a clear distinction between split-attention and full-attention users in our navigation bar. However, I wish I had looked into mobile navigation schemes more deeply. We did not fully flush out our “more” button and I would have loved to test different navigation schemes, including a hamburger menu, and different positions for the navigation items.

Developing UI Patterns and Design Systems

Although, I made sure I followed the HIG, I realized the importance of developing a consistent UI pattern and design systems as our design’s future step would be to develop the android version. By having a design system, I can have consistent visual language across different platforms. I also noticed we developed different UI patterns for certain features (like donation), and I would like to look more deeply into the different UI patterns we created and their impact on the user experience.

Future Steps

Other Content Pages

The next step would be to work on other content pages such as podcast, favorite list, and the more section. The “more” section will include video archive, events, and settings. We will need to conduct further research and testing for these pages.

Account Set Up or Social Media Plugins

We believe users can set up accounts so their payment information or favorite list can be saved. We also believe incorporating social media plugins such as Facebook for sharing content will increase community engagement. Users can also receive personalized suggestion based on their favorites list.

Improve the Android application

Because the android application and the iOS application is developed separately, there is discrepancy between the two applications. We would like to apply our design and create the Android version to deliver consistent experience for both platforms.