Speek is an application dedicated to solving the UX problem that there is no way to collaboratively create and produce podcasts. This project was created in collaboration with The New School University + Rhode Island School of Design, with Ivy Schneider and Tricia Vuong.
Role: UI/UX Design, branding and web development.
Spring 2018, Editorial for Screen
Advised by Dylan Grief
Podcasts are becoming more and more popular with shows like “Still Processing” by The New York Times and “S-Town” from the makers of This American Life. These shows have been receiving national attention, but sometimes the process of how they are produced, and who's behind the making of these shows, are often overlooked.
Right now, there isn’t a central platform for people working in the podcasting industry to collaborate, share files, and access a story that’s easily edited and shared. Google platforms like Google Docs and Google Slides allows users to share and edit text on the platforms. On Google Docs there’s even the option to include videos and images to the documents, however there is not an option to submit an mp3 file.
For example, if someone in the podcasting industry was working on a script; there is no way for them to embed these audio files while simultaneously allowing the document to be shared with their fellow producer. Below is a screen grab of what this problem looks like, and why hearing the audio would help with scripting.
Programs like Adobe Audition and Pro Tools that are the current audio editing platforms people in the podcasting industry work in don’t allow this collaborative process nor are they easily accessible to those without the programs installed.
We spoke with a former reporter at WNYC who explained to us that when they produce their shows, they often have two screens opened up at once. One screen would have the audio editing software, while the other screen had the word document. She also said when there were no two screen available, she’d have to switch back and forth between the two. It also made it difficult to send work to and from editors, and collaboration would only happen in person when making line edits and other specifics that made it difficult to work remotely without the actual audio file.
We predict that there will be a larger effort made to create a digital platform for podcasters that would allow people to collaborate on podcasts more drastically and widely. Not only will we have Google Docs to work on a piece of writing with other individuals simultaneously, but we will have programs that allow us to develop various artforms and work at the same time as one another.
We’ve attempted to come up with a solution to this problem, with the program Speek. Speek would be an online platform like Google Drive where it can be accessed anywhere there’s internet connection. On the platform, you’d be able to add users so they can share and edit any audio file projects that are currently in the queue.
Another feature of the platform includes a visual audio browsing experience, where you’d be able to transcribe selected audio bytes.
Speek also allows for the easier editing with tools like record to text, and adding and removing audio via text interface. With other users added, each person is assigned a different color in which they can comment on specific parts of the audio.
Speek is a product that’s geared for anyone, mostly for journalists, producers, editors, sound engineers, or anyone else looking to collaborate with audio files. From podcast makers to musicians, the program will an easy way for people to interact and share audio.
What does Speek look like?
1. Upload Audio and Generate Transcript - Speek makes it possible to upload MP3 or other audio files and have an entire transcript generated into text format.
2. Browse Through Audio Visually through the Transcript – Once the transcript is generated from the audio file, users can search and read through the text, so as to review the audio visually.
3. Delete Parts of the Audio Track by Deleting Text – One of the unique functions that Speek has is that users can edit their podcast scripts by editing the audio or the text. If part of the audio is cut, so will be the correlating text, and vice versa.
4. Add Audio Track in Certain Places by Clicking Area and Recording – Users can insert additional audio clips, like transition music or sounds, throughout the script. Speek also allows users to drag and drop external audio files into different parts of the transcript.
5. Adding Comments/Collaborating – Multiple users can be working on a script at once and have the ability to leave comments for their partners/collaborators to view and respond to.
More about Speek:
Our Team Decided To
1. Make Speek accessible through wifi, rather than a downloaded program.
2. Keep the design simple, to show the main functions in clean interface.
3. Have Speek be about the initial collaborative and brainstormings process, rather than post-production.
Here, you can see our initial wireframes, and process of creating Speek.
You can view Speek's coded site below.