Case Study - Kindling a love for audiobooks

Voracious readers are often reluctant to try listening to books, but those who do often take joy from immersive narrations and convenience on-the-go. We introduced millions of Kindle users to Audible, driving marked month-over-month sales and lifetime subscription value.

Design Summits


From bus to bike, couch to cleaning, garden to groceries: Audible and Amazon Kindle are natural companions. By creating a user experience that shifts across devices, users stay in control and keep the stories going across the day. This feature, years in the making, brought a new kind of freedom to reading and helped secure Audible's position as the world-leader in spoken word.

Years ago, however, readers were not so open to consuming to their favorite books with headphones or speakers. In fact, many viewed listening to narration as an activity reserved for young children. "I already know how to read" was a frequent refrain. Through 9 months of user studies in-lab and on the streets, we revealed sentiments and consumer habits to drive adoption and change hearts and minds.

What we did

At first, we traveled from coffee shops to train stations and bus stops to study reading patterns. From here we mapped the entire Amazon digital ecosystem, tracking navigation and workflows across,, iOS and Android apps and Kindle devices. Analytics helped us track points of friction and error, which we then used to help prioritize design interventions.

To achieve growth for Audible, we needed to build consensus across product teams while selling the vision to Amazon leadership. We worked closely with partners across both organizations to socialize work up to boardroom level, measure impact and ultimately secure resources to scale. From checkout flows to marketing campaigns and media libraries, our data informed each design decision and hit aggressive business goals.

  • Customer Interviews
  • Co-Creation Workshops
  • Quantitative Research
  • Interaction Design
  • Mental Models
  • Design Socialization

How It Looked

Business Impact

When Amazon first acquired Audible, the teams came together to build a novel sync technology so users could switch seamlessly between reading & listening to the same title. But with differing purchase habits, devices and brand allegiance, users were forced to jump through hoops just to access this feature. Through cross-product design, we eliminated 14 steps and 5 minutes of confusion to one-click simplicity and 30-second upgrades. We helped deliver an influx of new customers to Audible, shifting consumer behaviours and foreshadowing a rapid rise in popularity for the audiobook format in years to come.

A brilliant feature... you can finally continue listening to that gripping story seamlessly from your phone to your tablet to your smart toaster. Because why limit the joy of immersing yourself in a captivating tale to just one device, right? It's like having a personal audio book DJ following you around, making sure you never miss a beat.

Allison A
Audible Customer
Digital Channels
Product Teams
Month-over-month Adoption

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