The Libro.fm app for Android has gone through some major changes this year. Most recently, we’ve added the ability to gift audiobooks using credits in the app. With the holidays coming up, it’s the perfect time to use any spare credits you have to gift audiobooks to friends and family—which is now easy to do from the app!
Gifting is just one feature that our Android developers, Avery and Davin, tackled this year! Read on to see what was accomplished in 2022, and learn how our team tackled these big updates.
What’s new in 2022?
Explore and search for audiobooks through the app
Use credits to get and gift audiobooks in the app
View curated audiobook playlists
4.9 Rating in the App Store with ~3k reviews
Q&A with the Android developers
Tell us a little bit about working on Android Evolution and how the team worked together throughout the dev process.
Avery: We tried a lot of new processes for Evolution! Since the team is small and the company has a flat hierarchy, Davin and I are our own managers in many ways. Since we started working together at the start of 2021, we have been experimenting with processes to find the ones that work for the both of us…I think we learned a lot about how to communicate with each other, Madi (Product Manager), and Craig (Mobile Designer) throughout this project, and we’ll be able to use those skills to work together better moving forward. Everyone at Libro.fm is happy to give and receive feedback and is dedicated to personal growth, which has created an efficient and delightful work environment.
Davin: Feature-wise, the Libro.fm Android app has historically been running about a year behind IOS. One of the major goals of the last couple years has been to get the Android app up to feature parity with IOS, and the final hurdle was the Evolution project…We had significant assistance from our product, creative, and backend teams, communicating and revising things as we worked on them, and a lot of help from the IOS team, who’d been there before and had to answer many of the same questions we did. Things were also aided by several new members of the team, and the experience the company had gotten in general working with IOS on the same project, figuring out some of the pitfalls and some of the things that worked well.
Which feature(s) of Android evolution are you most excited about or proud of?
Davin: Remote search and in-app purchases by credit are for sure the features I’m most excited about. The two of them combine for a major jump forward in our app, transitioning from mostly a media player to a fully integrated experience. I’m also really excited about the new playlist functionality, because it gives both the bookstores and the users a chance to make their experiences more personal.
What challenges did you face as you were adding these features and how were you able to overcome them?
Avery: We had a position bug that was driving us all up the wall for months, and no matter how hard we tried, nobody could figure out why some user’s listening positions weren’t consistently saved. At one point I was taking a break from grinding through Evolution tickets while Davin was taking a well-deserved vacation, and I just happened to reproduce the bug. Turns out, the fix was only two lines of code! A victory for us all.
It was a reminder of my computer science professor’s insistence that “shower thoughts,” or thoughts you have when you take a break from a tough problem, are some of the most effective debugging tools available. I don’t take long showers, so I had to fall back on procrastination to solve this problem. I’d like to thank the academy, my family, and also the entire mobile team (Irwin, Waleed, Davin, and Carl) for brainstorming solutions and lamenting failures as we struggled with the issue.
What has been the most rewarding customer feedback you’ve received so far?
Davin: We’ve received a lot of messages from people expressing excitement for the new features, but maybe more rewarding than that have been some of the updated reviews. Our Director of Customer Experience, Karen (who’s amazing, by the way) reached out to everyone who had either made support requests or left reviews requesting features captured in Evolution (most prominently in-app shopping) and a surprising number of them either wrote us or updated their reviews saying how thrilled they are to have them now.
Avery: I’m certainly not a petty person, so my favorite reviews are definitely not all the comments about supporting Libro.fm over a certain massive company with terrible labor practices! More seriously, I was really grateful to all the customers who updated their reviews after we released in-app purchasing and resolved the position bug. It is a delight to be a part of such an engaged community. I’d also like to shout out to Karen for reaching out to so many people to let them know about our updates.
If you’ve taken the update for a spin, please leave a review.