Red Bull Radio
Android, RxJava, Firebase
A Color Bright Red Bull Media House
2015 – 2017
What was Karlmax’s role in the project?
Our task was the implementation of the features and the UI as native Android app. Project management, web application and design were undertaken by a color bright.
Why do the users need the app?
Because you get more than just entertainment here: music lovers get their money’s worth.
What can the app do?
The Red Bull Radio App is globally available and enables access to an exclusive full program broadcaster with its focus fixed firmly on music. In the Red Bull Music Academy, new and exceptional artists are discovered, pushed and presented in interview. Large events and festivals are broadcast worldwide. With the line-up being constantly expanded, it’s especially for music lovers who like to discover new music and dive deeper into a genre, as well as the stories and the ideas behind the music.
In addition, there are multiple “channels”: programs devoted to various themes, continually streamed according to a fixed schedule. New editions of these shows are regularly produced. For every show and for each of its episodes, there is extensive background information plus playlists and comprehensive descriptions.
The design for the Red Bull Radio App had to be consistent for iOS, Android and the Web. That put the focus on high-quality design finish for UI elements and animations. And it added a special treat for us, as the Android team.
The App features a bottom bar as a control element. It was just at the time our project started in 2016 that this navigation pattern was included in the design guidelines.
How did we proceed?
For iPhone users the main app area switching to the bottom screen margin is nothing new. At the beginning of our project this useful tool was recommended to switch between a small number of screens in Android, too. At first the patter was only described as a design element, without a technical component to use in an App. An open source library kickstarted our development, but the devil really was in the details. The control bar should switch between screens, go from black to white and back again with each screen; and if there was a radio stream running, there should be an animated button. Each feature individually wasn’t a big deal – but what about having for example a colour change for a running frame animation?
The high performance graphic engine of Android really helped us out here, and allowed for an extremely efficient manipulation through colour masks – just like different colour transparencies being passed in front of a spotlight.
Behind the scenes or: How I almost started to believe in ghosts…
Streaming through Chromecast also needed to be possible with the Red Bull Radio App. The tests ran smoothly, and I began to create reports for the developers and check off features that’d been completed. But suddenly I saw things that just couldn’t be possible. As if put there by a ghost, the control element of the running stream appeared on all the test devices—even on my own private smartphone, on which I’d just uninstalled the app!
The real culprit turned out to be a new feature that Google had added to the operating system: Android enables all smartphones which find themselves in the same Wi-Fi network to be able to control live streams through Chromecast. So, no ghosts, but we learned something new.