Pio Optimizing Propelland’s recorder app Pio for Android Devices
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Overview
Improving navigation and organization for Pio app 2 week design sprint – Worked as UI designer As an intern, one of my projects was to improve and optimize the Pio app for Android, an audio recorder developed by Propelland, giving design researchers the ability to mark sections of the recording for post analysis. As a 2 week sprint, my job was to pitch a concept wireframe to our engineer on what Pio might look like for Android.
Screenshots of the current Pio app. Left: Recording marks. Right: Project management
Problem
Current Pio users struggle with sharing and organizing audio recordings I gathered feedback from reviews on Pio’s app page. From the feedback, many of the user’s pain points centered around the app’s navigation and sharing flow. People were specifically struggling with sharing and exporting files, and didn’t utilize the marking feature as much.
Aska C. UX Designer
“The app’s navigation is pretty confusing with all the colors and swipes”
D. Frump Student User
“The app doesn’t let me export. Took me a day to figure out how to send the clip.”
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Observation
It takes 4 steps to start a recording, which makes the app cumbersome to use The primary function of Pio is to record interview audio. However, in the current flow, users must take 4 distinct steps to start an interview. This makes the primary function of the app hard to access.
Observation
Above are the four screens users see to start a recording. Users choose to start in the landing screen, which then brings them to a naming screen, which requires users to fill out metadata. Only after fulfilling these fields are they brought to the record screen
Observation
Current interactions abide to Apple's interaction guidelines, which clashes with Android's Material design Pio was first released on App store and for iOS exclusively. Therefore, many of the interactions and components adhere to Apple's visual guidelines, which clashes with many motion paradigms in Android's Material Design.
Observation
Two examples of how to sort, share, and delete an audio recording. These options only surface by swiping the option to the left. For new users to the app, this might be foreign and may require some time and accidental trigger to learn about these features
Observation
File sharing and searching is both frustrating and confusing The current version offers color coding as the main way to organizing projects and recording, whic becomes jumbled and unsorted when recordings and projects pile up. Furthermore, sharing a clip requires users to sign into a Dropbox or Google account, and there is no way of exporting audio clips to external devices.
Observation
Currently users can only share audio recordings or upload backups through drive solutions by Google and Dropbox. Mailing requires permission and links to user's iCloud email accounts, which leads to error if users do not usually use iCloud as a communication channel.
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Opportunity
How might we leverage Material Design to address audio sharing and organization pain points? Challenges in the current Pio app stem from its limited interface. Recording and saving require too many taps to complete, and file searching requires users to individually open files to distinguish recordings. I found that many of Pio’s pain points can be addressed by adopting some of Material Design’s interaction models.
Mid-fi Iteration
Utilizing Material tabs and FABs for quicker navigation One of the major differences between Apple’s interaction guidelines and Android’s is the use of tabs and FABs. With the use of fabs, I reduced the amount of taps to start a new recording from 4 to 1. Furthermore, with the use of tabs, I reduced the amount of steps needed to find recordings from 2 to 1. This ultimately led to a faster and simpler app to use.
Hi-fi Wireframe
Quickly switch between projects before recording For the final presentation, I proposed a project switcher which allows users to quickly select recent projects so that current recordings can be saved under that project. This makes it really quick for users to organize recordings into designated projects.
Hi-fi Wireframe
Simplified indicators for audio markings and elapsed time The recording screen have been reworked to surface the most relevant information: interview time, markings, and buttons. This new interface makes it clear what actions users can take, and where audio markings are located in the recording.
Hi-fi Wireframe
Better audio organization with designated project folders Addressing one of the main pain points in organization, the redesign introduces project folders. This helps users quickly find and navigate to the file they want to access. The redesign also proposes more detailed metadata for files and folders, facilitating better documentation.
Hi-fi Wireframe
Find recordings faster with built in search Another pain point users voiced was how hard it was to locate files. With the redesign Pio, I proposed using a search bar so users can quickly find what they need simply by typing in project and audio recording metadata.
Hi-fi Wireframe
Sharing made easy with Android’s built in share menu Current Pio only offers two ways of exporting or sharing audio clips, requiring users to navigate to a specific share screen. With Android’s built in share menu, users can now share files across a variety of downloaded services as well as SMS, making sharing flexible.
Next Steps
Pitching redesigns to Propelland and updating to Material Design 2 Due to the limited time for the design sprint, I didn’t get to validate my concepts with users. A next step is to create prototypes to test and validate some of the features I proposed. Unfortunately, the current App has been removed from the Apple store, meaning that any real development effort is put on hold. Nonetheless, there is still opportunity to continue refining the experience and updating the Material guidelines to the latest Google Material standards.

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