The VPR Apps For iOS & Android: What We Heard, What Comes Next

Jan 31, 2019

Several months ago we conducted a survey of the users of VPR's apps to hear from you about what's working, as well as how we can improve the apps. We wanted to share with you some of what we heard and what comes next.

First, thank you to the 500+ respondents for your thoughtful feedback. Your input shapes and improves all of VPR's services, including those online. Here's some of what we heard from you, along with our takeaways:

  • In general, users are very likely to recommend the app. On a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being "unlikely" and 5 being "very likely," the top responses were, in order, 5 (56%), 4 (24%), 3 (14%), 2 (3%) and 1 (3%). We appreciate that users would recommend the app overall, and we still think there's room for improvement.
  • By far, the top use of the app is for listening to the livestreams of VPR and VPR Classical, with over 75% responding that they use the apps to stream. Clearly, providing a strong streaming service is paramount for our users.
  • Many visitors use the apps to listen to programs on demand, such as Vermont Edition, Eye On The Sky and other podcasts (30-40%). Maintaining access to that audio and information is of value to many apps users.
  • Over 36% use the apps to get the latest news. We plan to maintain access to the latest VPR reporting and newscasts that users appreciate, while expanding the ability to access more of VPR's and NPR's reporting right in the app.
  • The biggest problems users report are that sometimes there are bugs (27% reported) or crashes (14%) and that the app design is visually unappealing (14%). We agree that the design of the app should be refreshed, and that we can improve our service and responsiveness when there are technical problems.
  • We also hear that the app is "missing features" (10%). Through your comments we were able to glean some insight as to what that means. For many folks, they were looking for easier access to more VPR and NPR news. For some users, they wanted to advocate for specific features like sleep/wake alarms. We welcome and appreciate all the feedback you have, whether it's a general comment or a very specific request.

Given what we heard in the survey, combined with the metrics we have as well as the steady stream of feedback we receive every day (thank you), we've made some decisions about our next steps and we want to share our plans with you.

  • We're partnering with Public Media Apps (PMA) to release new versions of the VPR apps for iOS and Android. PMA works with organizations across public media, including two of our favorite neighbors: NCPR and NHPR.
  • The new apps will maintain the strong streaming performance of the current apps and add in new capabilities, such as automatically adjusting streams based on the user's connectivity and providing the ability to jump back in the livestream to hear something again.
  • We will maintain access to the latest news and program content in the app, while bringing in more news from VPR, NPR and the New England News Collaborative (NENC).
  • With PMA, we will provide faster customer service with the ability to report issues to the App Technical Support team at PMA, as well as to the digital team at VPR, directly via the app.
  • We'll preserve the alarm feature of the current app and add in a sleep timer, too.
  • On our new platform we'll have the ability to more quickly and easily add new features and content, share messaging and evolve the apps over time.

We expect to release the new app updates in late February or early March 2019. We'll also share the news via email, social media and on-air messages, so please keep and eye and ear out for the update.

If you have the app installed already you should receive a notification when the new app is released, or it might update for you automatically, depending on how you have your device configured. If you don't have the VPR app yet, you can install it now and you'll receive the update when it's released.

If you have any questions, or have any problems with the apps or want to share feedback, please contact us. Thanks for your patience during this changeover and for using the VPR apps.