A versatile app assortment
Every day, NPO Radio provides millions of people in the Netherlands with music entertainment and news updates. Each channel has its specific focus, with NPO Radio 2 and 3FM for quality pop and rock music, both old and new, NPO Radio 1 for background information on the current news and the latest sports events, NPO Radio 4 for the best classical compositions and NPO Soul & Jazz for the coolest soul, disco and R&B-tracks
As the interaction with the listener is becoming more and more important, Egeniq was asked to develop a series of superb apps for various purposes.
Different requirements per radio station
Whether you are a fan of the newest pop tunes, of golden oldies or of solid rock music, the broadcasting landscape of NPO Radio has something for everyone. Because its listener base is so diverse, NPO is faced with a large spectrum of wants and wishes per radio station. For us, it was a nice challenge to meet all these requirements by offering a versatile series of smart channel-specific apps.
8 apps with one code base
Ultimately, we created 8 apps for Android and iOS (NPO Radio 1, 2, 4 and 5, 3FM, FunX, NPO Soul & Jazz, NPO SterrenNL) based on one shared code base, with for each of them their own colour and functionality. All perfectly tailored to the perceptions and wishes of the target audience of each individual radio station. Examples are:
- A combination of live radio and live images of the deejays in the studio;
- Playing podcasts or self-made playing lists;
- Sending apps to the radio studio.
Egeniq developed one single native-shared code base. This means that all broadcasting channels can reuse the code base, even though their apps run on either Android or iOS. The main advantage of this approach is that costs are saved, while no concessions have to be made to the apps; all channels can be provided with apps suitable for their audiences. The code base contains all components required for communication with the backend-CMS. In addition, the apps share all kinds of components, such as Podcasts and an ‘app the studio’ module. At the same time, it remains possible to adjust the brand styles per individual app. For example, every year, the Radio 2 app is provided with its own Top 2000 menu item, while the 3FM Serious Request event app is also given some special adjustments.
Another advantage is that the shared code base can simultaneously conduct automated tests for all apps. So, in case of a problem, the remedy can be implemented into all apps at the same moment. As a result, all applications instantly become immune to the issue in question. Very handy indeed for preventing future complications!
During the development process of the NPO-apps, we obviously encountered some challenges. One of them was that a number of channels were in the middle of a migration among the backend systems. To deal with this situation, we ‘abstracted’ the backends, which enabled us to switch easily between two backends without the requirement of an app update. Additionally, this procedure did not even cause any changes in the use of the apps. So, the listeners never noticed a thing.
Another challenge was dealing with several so-called ‘use cases’. Some listeners use the app purely as a listening device. This means that they listen to the radio directly via the app. Other listeners, however, prefer to use their home radio to listen to their favourite channel, and use the app as an additional tool for checking which songs are playing or for contacting the studio. In consultation with the NPO designers, we succeeded in integrating these various functionalities in such a manner that the apps remained to be perceived by the listeners as independent robust and solid systems.