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Build / Mobile development
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Het Geluidshuis

From commercials, podcasts, museum audio guides to audio plays, you can find it all under one roof at Het Geluidshuis in Antwerp. What once - read 35 years ago - started as an audio production studio grew into a full audio content agency and publisher. It is the place to be for everything that has to do with audio. On top of that, they also publish books for children with accompanying radio plays. With an audience from 6 to 106 years old, Het Geluidshuis provides a wide range of audio delicacies.

The issue

It was in 2014 that Het Geluidshuis noticed there was a shift happening in the audio culture. People started buying fewer CD’s and there was an overall digitalization trend in the audio market. It was also the first time they felt the need to provide a new medium for their audience to listen to their audio plays. So that is when they came up with the idea to create an application people can use to devour their audio content.

What we did

To give everyone the chance to listen to the audio plays, audio guides, podcasts, … we created a simple and clean application for Het Geluidshuis. This application can be used as a player for all published audio content. We created this product with an important goal in mind; to make it as user-friendly as possible for their target audience, “children” from 6 to 106 years old.

The challenge

In 2014 Het Geluidshuis first felt the need for digitalization. Until then they provided all of their books with a CD to listen to the accompanying audio play. But with a shift in the audio market and a change in devices, the CD lost its prominent place and they felt the need to come up with a future-proof solution. Het Geluidshuis wanted a player for their audio content. A player that works both on iOS and Android. Since the world of app development was pretty new to them, they knocked on our door to help them figure out a fitting solution.

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We didn't really have any experience with applications. In icapps, we found a partner we could trust to guide us throughout our digital journey.

Ann Desmet Uitgever / Projectcoördinator at Het Geluidshuis

An application tailored to the needs of a broad audience

Our partnership has its roots in 2015 when we started with the development of a player for all audio content Het Geluidshuis creates. Since they have a very broad audience, users from 6 to 106 years old, the application needed to be user-friendly for all. Children, parents, and even grandparents must be able to figure out how to start playing audio guides, audio plays, podcasts, … in the app. That is why we chose a clean and simple user interface. By using large buttons, bigger fonts, and a lot of contrast on all of the different screens, we ensured the readability of the application for all users. Overall, the goal was to make the application very accessible, and we're happy to say that succeeded.

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The application offers a very wide variety of audio content, which makes it interesting for a broad audience to use.

Katarina Martynowski Assistant Publisher and communication at Het Geluidshuis

Playful and future-proof

When we first set up the application, we decided to develop it in native technology, one for iOS and one for Android, with a Node.Js backend. Cross-platform technology was still relatively unknown territory back then.

Recently, we did a rewrite of the application in Flutter. A cross-platform technology that gives us a lot of flexibility to play around with. Since the application has a completely custom design, Flutter is a very welcome technology with its wide variety of icons, styles, and fonts. By using this cross-platform technology, we can ensure that the application is exactly the same for both iOS and Android users. And it makes the application future-proof, which is very important within this ever-changing environment. 

Listen whenever, wherever

At the moment the application is everything Het Geluidshuis intended it to be. All the audio content can be played both online and offline, after a download. This comes in handy when you want to listen to their audio content on the road or as a bedtime story during your holiday. Other than that the app offers a wide range of in-app purchases, so people can also use the application without buying the books. By providing this, Het Geluidshuis is able to reach an even broader audience. 

The impact

By now Het Geluidshuis has over 33 000 users and up to 60 audio plays in the application. With its new rewrite in Flutter we're already up to V3.0.3. But with a head full of new and cool ideas, it definitely won't be the last update. It goes without saying that the possibilities with this application are endless.

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