Making music discovery easier

BBC Playlister was launched as a platform to find, save and listen to your favourite DJ’s, radio stations and TV shows from across the BBC.



The problem

Advertised primarily as a track remembering service Playlister didn’t provide an easy or intuitive way for users to find tracks they had heard.


Research & understand

Project goals and metrics

In order to discover new music BBC Music users should be able to find any track played on the BBC in the last 7 days.


This would be measured by


1. Increasing the number of track adds from the BBC Music pages.

2. Increasing the amount of BBC content exposed on BBC Music pages.

Personas - Understanding the audience

Getting to know the audience was key; we had to understand how our users discovered new music, and the methods they used to find music they had heard before.


We looked at their habits, attitude, likes and dislikes towards music as well as what a typical day might be like.

Competitor analysis

Looking at existing music services was important in establishing the categories users searched for. And looking outside the music space provided alternatives for searching and displaying the information.

Zoopla, 4oD , Khan Academy, ITV guide, VW, Glassdoor, Monster, Absolute Radio

Ideas – Converge & diverge

Generating lots of ideas

Getting together with other designers, developers, product and editorial staff we looked at the problem.


“How might we give users the power to find any new music or tracks they’ve heard on the BBC?”

Crazy eights

Once everyone had an understanding of the problem we used an exercise called ‘Crazy eights’. Folding a sheet of paper eight ways we had 20 minutes to sketch out an idea in each section.

Present ideas & vote

Everyone presented their ideas and using a dot vote system we chose the top 3 ideas.


Fleshing out the ideas

Wireframes and sketching.

Adding content

Looking at designs with live content. Exploring the visual treatments and layouts. Exploring all the differnt user journeys.

Exploring different form options and terminology


Meta data, forms and filters

Decision time

Together with stakeholders, the development team and editorial we picked the designs which best met the user needs and solved the problem, identifying any areas to learn more from in users testing.

Prototype and test

Categories - Card sorting & guerrilla testing

We wanted to know what categories listerners used to find and discover music. We went out an got people to sort the categoies they used when searching for music.


Looking at native forms

Using CodePen I was able to explore the native behaviour of forms on differnet Andriod and iOS operating systems and versions.


Prototyping ideas in Proto.io

Using Proto.io I was able to create quick interactive prototypes to guerilla test.

Building a live prototype

I worked alongside a developer from the start of the project. This meant we could design and prototype simultaneously, identify technical issues early and test ideas on the fly.

Testing showed us that the 3 main categories users searched for tracks on the BBC were


1. Date

2. Radio station

3. Time of day

Iterate and build

Sign off & working alongside developers

Having presented the results of the user testing and made amendments to the designs I continued to work closely with the developer providing assets and markup as well as regularly reviewing to ensure the experience and design was right.

Final implementation

See it in action here Find a Track or on the BBC Music app.

Thanks for reading