Product Design Manager
Lead Product Design
User Experience / Interaction Design
Music connects people. It transcends time and space - having incredible emotional power. My team and I are helping to design and build an experience that compliments that incredible power.
At Pandora I am responsible for hiring and managing an exceptional team of designers to create the future of all consumer facing products for our listeners on every platform imaginable (even refrigerators!) I take great pride in the diverse and collaborative team we have, each designer with a greatly diverse background and with their own area expertise.
One of the most common feature requests that Pandora’s customer support team receives every day from Pandora free listeners is for more skips. This was the inspiration for Pandora's value exchange feature, which gives listeners more skips in exchange for watching a video ad.
**Pandora has Three Tiers: Pandora (ad-supported), Pandora Plus (ad-free) & Pandora Premium (on-demand in 2017)
The skips value exchange is for the free Pandora listener who gets stuck with the wrong song due to hitting the skip limit. Before this experience was introduced, a listener would get a message saying, “You’ve hit your skip limit: upgrade.” They were either stuck with the song, needed to switch stations, or could upgrade.
The goal was to design a happy surprise that offered additional skips to users when they need them the most.
Initially stakeholders wanted to explore displaying a persistent message of their remaining skip amount. When they’re down to 2, they’d receive a “get more skips” CTA in the now playing screen, so users would be able to interact with an ad and receive more skips.
After seeking out information on skip limit walls hit from our analysts, data showed that the low remaining skip amount message would be less relevant to ~80% of our monthly active listeners. The persistent message would just create anxiety by counting down an unused number they aren’t used to seeing. Pandora intentionally doesn't display the full skip limit amount.
Offer the feature when users need it the most
The solution focuses on listener's context and timing. A serial skipper (a user who hits skip limit frequently) or an occasional skipper has two ways to skip and hit the limit, either by hitting the skip button or by thumbing down a song they dislike. When they use up skips, they’re prompted with the value exchange dialog and get unstuck from the song they’re not in the mood for.
Listeners running the app in the background can potentially hit the skip limit via lock screen or headphone controller. In this case, the listener hears a voice announcement, then Pandora’s skip limit “ding” sound effect after the one time voice announcement/educational message.
One of Pandora product’s core product principles is, “We do it for you,” which guided us to create a predictive offline mode for Pandora Plus. This mode can detect when a listeners loses a cellular signal and switch to one of your preferred stations so your music doesn't abruptly stop and roles you right into a seamless "offline" station experience.
Pandora was already on many consumer electronics devices/platforms, and when Apple TV (4th generation) was due for Christmas release, Pandora was asked to develope a product of their new flagship TV platform. We agree and were excited for this opportunity during the holiday season so listeners could unbox and listen to Pandora’s delightfully-curated holiday stations on their TV.
The goal of this project was to design a Pandora Apple TV app that anyone can immediately start using. To reduce the learning curve, we used native tvOS interactions as much as possible and kept the nav structure simple and visible.
This project had strict requirements and a very short timeline—just 4 weeks. Challenges were learning Apple’s new tvOS (in beta at the time) so there were many design and dev constraints. Due to the compressed timeline we worked closely with developers to see what was possible to build or not.
Though the project timeline was short, we did have a bit of time to work on a few fun experiments with the new hardware’s swipe gesture feature. We explored swiping up and down as the thumbing up and down input.