Bundle screenshot - Artist landing page

BitTorrent Bundle

A new platform for publishers to connect with their fans and BitTorrent users via the power and scale of torrent technology

bundles.bittorrent.com

Problem

In creating a new content platform from scratch, we needed to design something both powerful for artists and compelling for fans. The goal was to provide benefits to each that are exclusive to BitTorrent technology and create a new and rewarding connection between the two of them. Achieving this goal would also help align the BitTorrent brand more closely with its intention, diminishing its unfortunate proximity to piracy.

Success would be measured in engagement of both artists and fans, downloads, revenue generated, BitTorrent user growth, and brand equity.

Audience

Our primary targets were small, unknown or up-and-coming artists, their fans, and “users” looking for another means of discovering new artists. These audiences are quite large and have driven the success of multiple competing platforms like YouTube, Kickstarter, Soundcloud, and Spotify.

Existing BitTorrent and µTorrent users were a secondary, but still quite valuable, target due to their size and obvious appetite for content.

Constraints

  • Dependance on the existing BitTorrent clients for downloading content
  • Maintain privacy of users’ downloads; this information could not be used for recommendations
  • Limited access to established artists due to negative brand association and budget

Role

As Director of UX, I managed the core UX contributors to these projects: an Interaction Designer, a Visual Designer, and a User Researcher.

I provided direction and leadership, contributing in the areas of: design, research, general problem solving, resource management, project management, and cross-org communication.

Because Bundle was to be a media platform at the forefront of BitTorrent’s next big marketing push, I assigned designers that were both most familiar with the market and among our most visually capable.

Design Process Highlights

A New Platform: Appeal to fans

Bundle homepage screenshot

We knew we’d provide a content-rich experience, exclusive content, and a deep catalog in a great looking package.

More importantly, we needed to establish a more intimate connection between fans and artists.

Part of communicating that was being clear about the lack of a middleman, another unnecessary filter.

The content then comes forward, highlighting exclusives, and displaying the depth of the catalog.

Bundle categories screenshot

Research showed us curation is not just a tool for discovery but also provides a means of personalization and a sense of commitment.

A broad range of collections tailored to user tastes would reaffirm that this is a more personal platform.

Bundle landing page A screenshot Bundle landing page B screenshot

Iteration and testing Bundle pages allowed us to explore and build

  • artist → fan communication
  • fan → artist support
  • engaging “unlocks”
  • rich playback

We ended up with a highly modular page framework that provided a plethora of options for publishers and potential goodies for fans.

Users would see that there’s a ton of cool, undiscovered stuff here and develop a sense that they’ve made a real connection with an artist when they like and download a torrent.

Bundle Mobile Trending section screenshot Bundle Mobile Your Picks section screenshot

And any content platform needs to be where the fan is, meaning BitTorrent would expand further into mobile than ever before.

Though not available at launch, we built and tested numerous prototypes of a standalone Bundle app for iOS and Android and worked with the BitTorrent Mobile team to integrate Bundle into the Android version of the client.

A New Platform: Appeal to publishers

Bundle publisher's homepage screenshot

What would our target publishers be looking for? Creative freedom and a massive audience coupled with incredibly powerful tools.

BitTorrent is the perfect fit. It's always been about democratizing publishing with advanced technology and now reaches an audience of well over 100 million monthly active users.

Bundle publisher's Create A Bundle page screenshot

We just needed to create a streamlined and intuitive interface for building Bundles to publish to the ecosystem...

Bundle publisher's list view screenshot Bundle publisher's stats view screenshot

And meet or exceed industry expectations for tools that track the performance of each release.

A New Platform: Telling the story

Bundle publisher's About page screenshot

It was important to reinforce throughout that Bundle is about building connections and a sustainable creative environment.

We were most explicit in this messaging in our Sign Up and About messaging but consitently touched on it throughout every transaction as well.

Integration: Wins

Bundle experience within uTorrent screenshot

We were able to create a great Bundle experience within the BitTorrent clients, completely independant and with a significantly upgraded design, via a seperate tab in the main navigation.

Hundreds of millions of these clients were active each month and, after Bundle's launch, they suddenly featured a huge library of downloadable content accessible without having to leave the app.

Bundles in the first-time uTorrent experience screenshot Bundles in the uTorrent install path screenshot

We also experimented with and iterated on featuring Bundle releases in the BitTorrent clients' install experience, providing interesting content to users right off the bat and driving a huge number of downloads for featured publishers.

Bundle embedded in a web page screenshot

And an embeddable version of the Bundle experience meant artists could seamlessly integrate bundles into their existing online presence.

Integration: Challenges

Bundle as featured in uTorrent navigation screenshot

However, because Bundle was confined to a single tab of the clients' navigation, to many users it never felt like a core component of the product and it therefore struggled to draw return visits for some.

Retrospective

Bundle has seen great success with thousands of publishers, millions of downloads, and significant brand equity improvement.

While user growth and revenue initially left room for improvement, we knew we were constrained in these areas by the first-time user experience of the BitTorrent clients and lack of a mobile experience initially. Work was to continue in these areas.