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Failure Story of Designing a Product for Enthusiast Podcasters and Podcast Listeners

About Project

Within the realm of Earnumb, a five-person project, I assumed the roles of both product designer and user experience researcher. Despite its promising potential, Earnumb unfortunately faced challenges stemming from the separation of several team members, leading to its ultimate failure. This venture, which was pursued as a side project by all five of us, progressed to the product development stage before encountering obstacles. Earnumb aimed to provide a platform catering to novice podcasters and inquisitive listeners alike. The minimum viable product (MVP) we envisioned was an Android application, designed to offer an intuitive and accessible experience for users venturing into the world of podcasting. Though Earnumb's journey came to an unfortunate halt, the project had the potential to empower aspiring podcasters and engage curious audiences.



My Role

Product Designer


In a landscape with over 1.6 million podcast labels and a staggering growth rate of 100% per year, emerging podcasts face a formidable challenge in gaining visibility. Simultaneously, podcast listeners encounter difficulties in discovering new and engaging content. Recognizing this industry-wide predicament, Earnumb emerged as a solution tailored to support both podcasters and listeners.

By leveraging Earnumb, aspiring podcasters could overcome the hurdles of obscurity and connect with their target audience more effectively. The platform aimed to provide a discoverability mechanism, enabling podcasters to showcase their content to a wider audience and increase their visibility.

For podcast enthusiasts, Earnumb sought to simplify the process of finding new and compelling podcasts. By offering intuitive search and recommendation features, listeners could effortlessly explore fresh and relevant content aligned with their interests.

Earnumb aimed to bridge the gap between podcasters and listeners, fostering a vibrant and interconnected podcasting community.

Process & Solution

UX Research

Efficiency and reliability were paramount in our quest to establish a user research process that seamlessly integrated with the development of Earnumb. Minimizing the time between research initiation and MVP design was a key objective. As a result, we condensed the research process into three succinct stages, ensuring rapid progress while upholding the integrity of our findings. These stages were as follows:

  1. Defining UX Personas
  2. Mapping User Journey
  3. Designing Wireframes

1. Defining UX Personas

As Earnumb aimed to be a comprehensive two-sided platform, establishing precise persona profiles played a pivotal role in enhancing our understanding of the product. To expedite the process, we adopted a pragmatic approach by defining proto-personas, deviating from the traditional method. This allowed us to rapidly outline key characteristics and traits that resonated with our target user groups.

Through iterative refinement, we arrived at two final personas—one representing the perspective of the podcaster and the other embodying the mindset of the listener. Notably, these personas were thoughtfully interconnected, ensuring a logical connection between the two user segments. This approach facilitated a deeper understanding of our users' needs and guided our decision-making throughout the design and development stages of Earnumb.

Podcast Listener Proto-persona
Podcaster Proto-persona

2. Mapping User Journey

With personas in place, our next step was to meticulously map the customer journey for both sides of the Earnumb platform. To facilitate this comprehensive process, all team members converged in a single location, dedicating two full-day sessions to this crucial exercise.

On the first day, we delved into each step of the user journey, collectively deciding on the sequence and intricacies of the experience. Building upon this foundation, the second day focused on identifying and defining the needs, problems, and concerns faced by users at each juncture of the journey.

This collaborative approach allowed us to leverage diverse perspectives, ensuring a holistic and nuanced understanding of the user experience. By thoughtfully analyzing and addressing user needs throughout the journey, we were better equipped to shape Earnumb into a platform that catered seamlessly to the aspirations and challenges of both podcasters and listeners.

3. Designing Wireframes

Continuing with the development process, the third step involved creating wireframes for the Earnumb application, guided by the user journey map. During this phase, my primary objective was to prioritize the critical needs of users while eliminating any unnecessary features or complexities.

By aligning the wireframe design with the user journey, I aimed to create an intuitive and streamlined experience that directly addressed users' core requirements. Striving for simplicity and efficiency, I meticulously curated the wireframes to ensure that each element served a purpose and contributed directly to enhancing the user experience.

Through this focused approach, I sought to optimize the application's functionality, providing users with a seamless interface that catered precisely to their essential needs.

Earnumb wireframes

App Designs & Prototype

Following a collaborative evaluation of the wireframes with both the team and users, I embarked on the final design phase of the Earnumb application. To expedite the process without compromising quality, I opted to utilize a pre-made UI library, capitalizing on its existing components and design elements.

By leveraging the pre-made library, I could accelerate the design process while ensuring consistency and cohesiveness across the application's interface. This approach allowed me to focus on refining the visual aesthetics and user interactions, enhancing the overall user experience.

To ensure the designs met the highest standards and address any potential usability concerns, I decided to create a prototype for re-evaluation. This prototype would serve as a tangible representation of the final product, enabling thorough testing and validation before proceeding to the development stage.

Through this iterative refinement process, we aimed to achieve a polished and user-friendly design that would resonate with our target audience while expediting the overall development timeline.

Using Material DS for Expediting The Process

Given that the MVP version of Earnumb was exclusively tailored for the Android platform, I opted to align its design with the widely recognized and user-friendly material design system.

By embracing material design principles, I ensured that Earnumb's visual elements, interactions, and overall aesthetics adhered to the native Android experience. This approach not only provided users with a sense of familiarity but also facilitated seamless integration with the Android ecosystem.

Final Designs

During the final design phase of Earnumb, I maintained a conscious effort to ensure that the design and visual elements did not overpower the content. Placing emphasis on content visibility and accessibility, I prioritized the display of podcast covers and pertinent information.

To achieve this objective, I strategically allocated visual elements within the podcaster tab, which would only be activated when users registered as podcasters. By doing so, I minimized visual distractions for non-podcaster users, allowing them to focus primarily on consuming podcast content.

By striking this balance between design and content, I aimed to create a user-centric experience where users could effortlessly engage with the core essence of Earnumb—the podcast content itself. This approach optimized usability and ensured that the design elements complemented and enhanced the overall user experience rather than overshadowing the valuable content available on the platform.


In the concluding stage of developing the MVP product, I diligently constructed a prototype using Figma. This prototype served as a valuable tool for conducting user tests and reassessing the overall user experience's quality. Regrettably, shortly before the testing phase, unforeseen circumstances unfolded, leading to the disbandment of our team and, ultimately, the halt of Earnumb's progress before entering the development stage.

Earnumb stands as one of my initial forays into the realm of small startups. Despite the project's ultimate outcome, the experience of being a startup co-founder brought forth invaluable lessons that have deeply enriched my professional journey.

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