Scribd Audiobook Pivot

Riley's Role: UI Designer for iOS, Android, and Web



After one year of rolling out Scribd's audiobook service, Scribd pivoted from an unlimited business model to a credit based system. You can read more here


  • Create a seamless experience converting users from an unlimited business model to a credit based system.

Competitive Analysis

Apps that use credits

Audible,    Genius Fax,    Disney Storytime,    Listia

Product Requirements

There were about 80 product requirements for this project. Too many to list on my visual design case study, but here are a few in case you're interested in learning more:

  1. Label credited books, except if the user has purchased it before.

  2. Web User Menu: show credit balance

  3. Grandfathering Users: We want to allow the previous users who were in the system to listen to unlimited books for 30 more days after launch.

  4. If the user has already triggered a payout, don't make it for credit.

  5. Old users with audiobooks stored on device can listen to those books offline during the grace period, but not afterwards.

  6. Old/New Versions of App Message + Modal: If the user is an audiobook listener, open a message on the homepage. Do not force upgrade.

  7. If the user is tries to play an audiobook and does not have access – we should have a special error message saying that they need to upgrade to listen to audiobooks. Do not force upgrade.

  8. New App Notifications/Messages/Modal: If the user is an audiobook listener, open a message on app open to describe new system.

  9. Admin Panel: Admin should be able to say whether a book/audiobook is unlimited or credited. Admin should be able to see history of credit. Admin should be able to give X amount of credits to a user as a gift.

  10. Billing/Payments: You get X credit every time you are billed, where X is the amount you paid for. if you are monthly, you get 1 or 12 credits every time you are billed if you are annual. For free trial, you'll get (days in free trial)/base_free_trial_days).floor, credits up front. Base free trial days change on the context. For mobile, base free trial day is 30. For web, it's 14. For referrals, it's 30. For promo code it's 30. Credits get capped to 6 if you are a monthly user, capped at 12 if you are annual. If you cancel your subscription, you lose your credits. Pausing subscription will stop people from accruing credits. You can't redeem any credits when in the paused state. Admins should be able to issue credit refunds.

  11. Annual plan: You are paying for X months. This gets you 12 credits up front.

  12. Continuous free trial: Need to amend the conditions for eligibility: If the user used a credit, he/she isn't eligible. Do NOT give a credit here (for now...)

  13. Promo Codes: base free trial days is now 30, so if you have a promo code for 90 days – you get 3 credits.

  14. Referrals: base free trial days is now 30, so if you have a 60 day free trial – you get 2 credits.

  15. Bulk Discount Code: You are paying for X months, at a discount: you get X credits for X months you paid for.

  16. Giftcards: Someone paid for X months, so you get X credits for X months someone paid for. No CC Promo Codes: You get X credits where X is the # of months in no cc promo code free trial.

  17. Library (v2) New Library: should have a Redeemed section.

  18. Homepage: Display recommended free audiobooks carousel(s) Display editorial free audiobooks carousel(s).

  19. Browse: Display editorial free audiobooks carousels

  20. Search: Filter for "free audiobooks"

  21. Audiobook Player: Preview state for audiobooks Table of contents, but disable chapters that aren't accessible. Tap on disabled row? throw up prompt. Have a timer "X minutes left of preview, buy now with one credit"? Define the length of a credited audiobook's preview length. (maybe 20 minutes, otherwise increments of 5 minutes before payout).

  22. Book Page: Book series and audiobook series? Should be clear if a book/audiobook is accessible via credit. For credited books/audiobooks, have a way to 1) purchase immediately 2) Read/Listen to sample/preview 3) Add to Library Should somehow show credit balance. Related books: For free audiobooks, do we only show related books that are also free?


All wireframes for iOS, android, and web were created by our Senior UX Designer Loren Heiman. View all mobile and web wireframes: Wireframes PDF

Wireframe preview: 

UI Design Credit Badge for Audiobooks

After many design attempts for what the credit badge should look like we ended up deciding as a team for row #1. 


Based on popular vote, here is the winner. The slanted triangle with the number 1 displayed could be read most easily in all our use cases. Whether it be audiobook in a series, a white cover audiobook, black cover audiobook or expiring audiobook. 


UI Design iOS and Android

Download Visuals: iOS PDF    

Download Visuals: Android PDF


Disclosure Notice for iOS and Android


Credit iOS carousel visual



UI Design Web

Disclosure notice


Book page

Web modal credit purchase spec