The Read Podcast

3 months

Zac Hinton - Designer & Developer
Jenn Mankoff - Mentor/Instructor

Tools Used:
Programming: HTML, CSS, JQuery, Javascript
Design: Sketch

Project Brief:
In the fall of 2015 I enrolled in a Software Structures for User Interfaces course taught at Carnegie Mellon under Jenn Mankoff. For our final project we were required to use an API and make something cool on the web. I set out to redesign The Read Podcast’s website to add interactivity and design components that relate to the brand.

The Read’s website prior to my redesign was very static and was made with a basic squarespace template. This generic design was not in line with their podcast content, personal enthusiasm, or brand. My goal was to redesign this website to make it more interactive and ultimately reflect the wit, sass, humor, and most importantly, reads, the podcast is commonly known for.

The types of research I conducted for this project were:
1) Competitive analysis: Viewing other podcasts’ websites to understand the standard of website design for this form of medium.
2) A more thorough understanding/analysis of the podcast’s structure: Not every podcast is structured the same. The Read is unique in that they focus around pop culture, but in a intelligent and funny way. The most anticipated part of the show are the "reads" where the two bloggers criticize a celebrity for their actions.

The final website was designed to mimic the experience of flipping through a book. I animated the text on each page with css/scss to flip as a page would turn for like a book. I used the Twitter API to stream the two podcast host’s tweets in real time. Prior to the redesign, the hosts of the podcast would manually go into their website each week to update the podcast audio links; I implemented the Soundcloud API and connected the API with their podcasts in order to enhance their user interaction between the website. I added kinetic typography throughout the site, specifically on the home page and the reads page. The purpose of the kinetic type was to make their "reads" portion more interactive and engaging for the users.

After I submitted the website to my professor for grading, she told me to reach out to the podcast to see if they would actually be interested in the new website redesign. I reached out to the podcast and to my surprise, they loved the site and wanted to implement it ASAP. In early January I began taking steps to implementing the site I coded with basic html/css/javascript, onto their current squarespace template. Unfortunately, The Read podcast is sponsored by Squarespace, so they have to wait until their sponsorship is over to use my redesign.