Native Podcast Players

The New York Times app added a native podcast player that does an excellent job of complimenting their news rather than competing with it. The player was launched to support The Daily, their flagship news show.

What is really interesting about this player is that it lets the user continue to browse while listening. Tap play to listen and then swipe away when you’re done. That’s it.

What’s great about this is that it keeps you in the NYTimes app and doesn’t send you elsewhere to consume audio. You remain in the NYT experience.

  1. Simple and unobtrusive.
  2. Allows simultaneous browsing and listening.
  3. Continues to play in the background, even if you switch apps or put the phone in your pocket.
  4. Dual platform, iOS and Android
  5. Provides link to subscribe to future episodes in your phone’s default podcast app. It does not try to compete with your existing podcast app.

The Experience

When you tap on play, you get a welcome message with simple explanation of how the player works.

As you’re listening, the player goes grey so as not to visually compete with text of the article. This use case is immediately obvious because you can browse the show notes while reading the article or read the source article while listening to associated podcast (The Daily often features interviews with the authors behind major feature pieces).

The podcast will continue to play while browsing other stories or checking other apps, it’ll also play in the background after you put your phone in your pocket.

Audio switches if you listen to another audio app (ie. music app, YouTube). The NYT player saves your place so you can go back to the NYT app and pick up where you left off.

Swipe left to dismiss.

Tapping on the player “chicklet” brings up more controls so you pause/play and scrub back and forth or skip forward or backwards 10 seconds. There is also a link to subscribe to the full podcast via your installed podcast app (Apple Podcast app on iOS, RadioPublic Free Podcasts App on Google Play Store on my Android device).

From the NY Times press release announcing the player,

The in-app player will allow audio to continue playing even if you navigate away from it, leave the app or put your device to sleep, allowing you to read through related articles and other content while you listen. Audio can be controlled within the app, with the device level controls, or even with an Apple Watch.

I think the level of integration of the New York Times podcast player is perfect. It’s just enough to extend the story without getting in the way.¬† All it takes is a tap to play or a swipe to dismiss but there are hooks into a full-fledged podcast app should you want to subscribe or download for late.

I see more of this and it would be really cool if the NYT Labs could share their code on their Github repository so others can take advantage of what they’ve done and perhaps improve on it.

Other native players

Others publishers are adding native players to augment their text stories as well.