Adding Pandora Stations to SiriusXM's Alexa Skill

Voice UX | Situational Design | Journey Mapping | Product Writing
2 min read
SiriusXM + Pandora
My Role
Lead VUX Design
May 2019
Recipes aren't just a list of ingredients with instructions. They are informative guides that help customers navigate the cooking journey — from deciding what to cook and buying groceries to preparing the meal and finally, enjoying it.
The Problem
Food Network recipes include a lot of detailed information — a description, ingredients, instructions, notes, ratings, reviews, and more recipes.

Research showed that customers felt overwhelmed when scanning the recipe, deciding if they could make it and eventually using it to cook.
The Mission
Evolve recipes to smoothly guide customers through all stages of the cooking journey – discovery, planning, preparation, and post-experience.
Patterns for recipes were well-established, so the successful solution needed to embrace those patterns to avoid disturbing customers.
SiriusXM and Pandora combined in 2019. As part of this new relationship, SiriusXM wanted to integrate Pandora's algorithmically-programmed radio tech into their expert-curated radio product.
The Problem
Pandora Stations needed to be invoked without using the action word "Pandora", which was a restricted term to activate a listening session on Pandora's skill.

For some users, this wasn't a problem as long as Alexa played their requests — but the Pandora listening sessions weren’t recorded in their SiriusXM listening history and wouldn't be displayed across devices or influence recommendations on SiriusXM in the car or online.
My Role
I acted as the lead product designer for this feature and designed the VUX for accessing Pandora Stations on SiriusXM's Alexa Skill.

Solving The UX Problem

It was important to create a simple and natural conversation model, so users only need to supply an artist's name.

We also relied on some training behaviors online and in-vehicle to familiarize users with the "Radio" suffix, following an artist's name within SiriusXM.

One curveball was...

that some artists, such as Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, and LL Cool J had their own curated SiriusXM stations in addition to algorithmic Pandora Stations.

For these artists, customers were sent to the curated SiriusXM station for a white-glove experience.

Taking Inventory

I started by mapping out the basic interactions of the Pandora Skill, which included the ability to:

  • Create a Pandora Station
  • Like or Dislike a song
  • Skip to the next song in the queue
  • Favorite a Pandora station
  • Learn the Song or Artist name

Utterance Detection

Once the customer tasks became clear, we recruited 6 participants for user interviews to help detect utterances and understand their expectations.

Conversation Mapping

I distilled the common utterances and mapped conversations with Seth, our representative customer persona, across a few different situations.

Adjusting the Tone

After some rounds of review, we brushed up the language to meet the tone and emotions of our brand voice.

Final Designs

For clarity and alignment on the approach taken to implement the VUX, I organized this document for the PMs and Engineers.

Measuring the Solution

We measured the designed solution by:

  • Conducting moderated usability sessions to observe user utterances and invocations.
  • Obtaining quantitative metrics of usage for Pandora Stations on Alexa
🙌 Usability sessions were conducted to benchmark this solution, which received a SUS score of 91% with participants.
📈 As of December 31, 2019, quantitative metrics show that 93% of all SXM Alexa users tuned to a Pandora Artist Radio channel, listening for 1.3 hrs on average.

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