Street culture infotainment & podcasts in your pocket

  • News & Entertainment
  • Live Radio
  • Podcasts
  • Subscription
  • Maciej Orłowski - Product Owner / Product Lead
  • Karol Błędowski - Product Designer
  • Piotr Zawada - Frontend Developer
  • Monika Zyznowska - Frontend Developer
  • Marek Pankowski - Backend Developer
  • Kacper Knajp - Scrum Master
  • Adrian Lewtak - Product Analyst
  • Kamil Puchała - Data Scientist
  • Danuta Breguła - Head of Subscription
  • Maksymilian Salski - Senior Subscription Growth Manager
Mobile App • Web App

Media platform for Gen Z and millennials

newonce creates high quality podcast series, radio shows, videos and written content. It is available as a web and mobile application targeting Generation Z and millennials from large Polish cities. Together with its audience, it looks at the world through pop culture, social issues, health and technology.

How it all started


Originating from street culture, newonce doesn't take everything seriously and creates content in its characteristic witty style. From pure music podcasts to topics for those in the know, it's as varied as its audience.


newonce is here to promote critical thinking and encourage discussion, exploration and openness in an increasingly polarised Poland. It believes it's possible to make media that is both cool and meaningful, where quality knowledge meets quality entertainment.

Audio Boom

The year 2021 has been the year of audio for newonce. Podcast listens (over 3,500 episodes at the time) grew by 34% year over year (up to 1.5 million streams per month). The podcasts were consistently in the top 10 of the Polish Spotify charts.


Welcome to the club!

In the few years of its existence, newonce has gathered a large group of loyal and dedicated fans. A community that listened and read our content every day, but also engaged with us on the FB group, became the main reason for change. The aim was to move away from advertising to a subscription-based business model.

Over the course of several months, we conducted quantitative and qualitative research (Discord, Facebook, web & in-app) focusing on online content payments, pricing policies and member benefits. The key takeaway was that our listeners and readers value the content we produce enough to pay for it. In particular, they highlighted the value of our podcasts.

The element that accelerated the decision to switch to subscription was COVID-19. Advertising agencies and companies had significantly reduced their advertising budgets, which meant that we had less revenue. It was under these circumstances that, a place for informed people, was born.


Approach to our worfklow

Our cross-functional team worked in a SCRUM framework, regularly participating in six ceremonies: Sprint, Sprint Grooming, Sprint Planning, Daily Scrum, Sprint Retrospective, Sprint Demo and produced three artefacts: Product Backlog, Sprint Backlog, Increments.

We met weekly with the analytics team to discuss recent user activity, content popularity, retention and club member conversions.

For more user insights, we used churn surveys (data from users who decided not to renew their subscription after the first month of the trial), members-only Discord servers and Facebook groups.


A compelling, transparent and frictionless user experience needed to be created and continually improved. We also needed to continue to use a funnel approach, paying equal attention to the top of the funnel (getting them to come), the middle of the funnel (getting them to stay) and the bottom of the funnel (getting them to pay).


We used quarterly OKRs (a collaborative method used by teams and individuals to set ambitious goals with measurable outcomes). Well-chosen and analysed objectives and key results allowed us to better prioritise features and stay on course. Regular check-ins and progress against metrics helped to motivate further work.


As a member of the product team, I had the opportunity to work side-by-side with the Product Owner on business and product initiatives. I relied heavily on analytics from the data team and user insights from 1:1 interviews and user groups to inform our product decisions. I worked with members of the news, radio, social media and subscription departments on future initiatives to support their activities. I ran workshops and user tests, made product recommendations and managed the end-to-end project process by sticking to set objectives (OKRs). Together with the development team, I ensured the continuous development of our design system.

01 Phase

6 sprints

Six weeks into the subscription service, newonce had 6,000 paying subscribers, which our partner Piano described as "one of the most aggressive launches" they'd ever seen. After this period, we had enough data to identify recurring issues we needed to address.


Our first step was to group the listed problems and define HMW (How Might We) in order to generate potential solutions quickly.

We established three main areas for this quarter:
• Subscription growth
• Navigation
• Audio experience
How Might We
“Increase the number of’s subscribers”
“Make it easier to move around our platform and consume content”
“Improve the listening experience”

Subscription Page

Since the subscription page was our most frequent source of member conversions, we decided to focus on it first.


Users were spending a lot of time on the original site design, with a lot of clicks but not much conversion. They had to scroll down to see all the information they needed because it didn't fit above the fold, and they struggled to differentiate between offers. On mobile devices, only one subscription level would fit in the first viewport. This made comparison difficult.


By focusing on microcopy and interface elements, we've simplified our landing page. We prepared a version with a pre-selected offer, taking into account default bias and choice paralysis. Page squeeze helped us to provide all the important information in the first view window (no need to scroll). We addressed future risk factors by informing users that they could unsubscribe at any time and by adding badges from our payment providers.


There was a lot of text information and the elements were stacked. The colours of the call-to-action buttons were the same as the graphic elements. Also, only one subscription tier was visible in the viewport, making it difficult to compare plans.


We simplified the list of benefits, redesigned the look of the offer and added a pre-defined selector. The design was prepared so that both tiers could be viewed in a single viewport.


Using our subscription management tool, we were able to easily test both projects. We split-tested them on our user group and after some time the system selected the one that had the best performance. It was the simplified one.

Audio Experience

As the primary content consumed by newonce users is live radio and podcasts, it was clear that we needed to improve their listening experience. We introduced improvements in the player's function and redesigned podcast and episode pages. We made it easier to discover new series and episodes and return to what users had already started.

Podcast and episodes pages

The podcast pages have been redesigned to show off their visual side. Some of the changes we've made include full-screen image covers, show logos and descriptions. We've added a button at the top of the page to make it easier for users to launch the latest episode. New audio players and an updated interface have been added to both pages. Filtering and sorting has also been introduced, making it easier to choose between the most popular episodes or those already started.

Fullscreen mode and updated players

We wanted the listening experience to be similar to the leading audio applications, so we added the ability to expand the bottom audio player to full screen. The audio players themselves have been redesigned. They now show the preview, a brief description of the episode, the progress of the listening and the context menu.

Audio Player

Be more like Spotify - that's what our users told us. That's why we've added the ability to expand the audio player, made it possible to select the listening speed and added a context menu, including the option to mark as listened for podcasts.

Podcast Players

The redesigned podcast players now include a brief description of the episode, show the listening progress or whether the episode has been listened to. In addition, they contain a context menu to more easily lead to other pages.

02 Phase

12 sprints

In the next stage of the project, we wanted to place more emphasis on internal collaboration. The product needed to be developed in line with the expectations of the various departments, so we held workshops with representatives from departments such as radio, marketing, editorial, subscriptions and management. The workshops we conducted were:

  • Brand and values
  • Homepage wireframing
  • Impact-Effort mapping


First, we held a workshop to work on the values guiding the brand and and their tone of voice. Next, departments prepared mockups of the homepage, which we then presented and voted on. We also conducted an online impact-effort mapping workshop while working on this quarter's objectives so that people from across the organization could participate in product initiatives.

We established two main areas for this quarter:
• Homepage
• Accessibility
How Might We
“Engage anonymous users”
“Increase our content’s accessibility”


As the most frequently visited page by anonymous users and brand lovers, our homepage underwent a redesign. We iteratively added new sections, analyzed adoption, and responded accordingly to increase engagement. The latest additions are the flagship content section, content feed filters, already-started sections, recently saved sidebars, and new component styles.

Metered paywalls and personalised modals

We knew that the quickest way to retain our users and eventually convert them to paying customers (a much higher conversion rate) was to get them to create an account. To do this, we loosened our paywall strategy and introduced metered paywalls for written and audio content. We also redesigned the user flows to attract anonymous users.

Accessibility and discoverability

As the product evolves, so do the needs and expectations of our users. The accessibility of our content was one of the main things we wanted to improve. We started by enhancing the colour contrast on the platform and the light and dark versions of the app. Another element was the introduction of audio transcriptions of the most popular podcasts to enable people with hearing impairments to explore our content. The final element was to improve the search on the platform so that it could handle typos and misspellings but still provide accurate results.

Audio transcripts

Transcribing content on the platform not only opened up another way to consume it but also helped position us in search results and thus increase organic traffic to our podcast pages.

Search results

The global search was one of the top five most popular pages. The percentage of searches that resulted in a visit to a page with content was 72%. This meant there was room for improvement. We decided to work on a new search architecture: prioritising and enhancing the data fields of the models, including brand new endpoints to optimise natural language capabilities, which would give us more flexibility in the search and a greater chance that the resources found would be more in line with what the user wanted to find, such as stemming and misspellings/typos.

Key Takeaways

Product development has many variables and is definitely a winding road to success. Especially when you are faced with the challenge of growing subscriber numbers at a time when the media is full of stories about big companies losing subscribers. Add to that the departure of popular formats and presenters, the uncertain global situation and rising inflation. Difficult... but it is in such moments and under such constraints that the design process flourishes.

In less than a year, we've managed to grow from 6,000 to over 10,000 subscribers through product changes (of course, it's not just the product, the introduction of new content formats has been crucial, as they say content is king). Despite the many budgetary and technical constraints, rapid iteration and prioritisation allowed us to respond to real needs in a timely manner. To summarise these dozen sprints, we were able to: redesign the homepage, introduce a new interface for product elements, rebuild our design system, make changes to the subscription and landing pages, change the podcast pages and audio listening experience, and make the content more accessible and searchable.