I have an app that records online radio for a later playback. After programmatic recording, They are 3 sets of times(duration). I don't know which time will present the best user experience.

For a radio programs that airs for 1 hour, e.g. 9am to 10am;

  1. The duration of the program is 60 mins. (Stable across recording sessions)
  2. A recording for 60 mins yields an audio file that is always longer than 60 mins e.g. 70 mins. (Differs with recording sessions)
  3. Due to unstable streams a recording might end before 60 minutes are up. e.g. 45 mins. (Differs with recording sessions)

Which times would represent the true duration of the audio file and how do I appropriately show it inside the app?

  • Do you have a mockup with the surrounding context? Is this for desktop, mobile? What other metadata is present? That will help the community get a clearer picture.
    – Mike M
    Jul 30, 2017 at 12:01
  • No we don't have a mock up surrounding the context. We are yet to design. We are still talking about what informations to provide in the screen Jul 30, 2017 at 20:23

1 Answer 1


From a users perspective, the true value is the actual content a user intends to listen to (i.e. an interview). If the recording is too long or too short, it's the systems responsibility. The system should make that clear so users don't think they messed up, or the system is broken.

I don't know how the rest of your app works, but this seems like a case of managing user expectations.

The main cases seem to be that (I hope I have this right):

1. The recording exceeds the content.

There is some extra time which I have to scrub through audio I presumably don't care about to get to the good stuff.

Is there a way to somehow mark when the actual content begins? or even better, somehow detect and edit for the user? I have no idea how this would be possible, but putting it out there.

If you can't smart edit, you can at least calculate the extra time.

If there's 72:30 mins recorded, you have 12:30 mins extra. You could subtly indicate the overage and provide details on hover. Either way, test with some users and see if this adds any value.

2. The recording cuts off some of the content.

In this case, you can have an alert or info tip warning them that some of the content might have been cut off. Perhaps clicking the i has a popover explaining why this has occurred.

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Here's a sketch from a modified Soundcloud list item. The duration is right on the timeline, so I can see what to expect. I've added the info tip, so if a user is scrolling a list, they can see items that differ from the norm and can expect they may not have the whole program to listen to.

Either way, be honest with users, and keep them informed.

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