Information Architecture: Final Project

The final project for my Information Architecture was to create a IA wireframe for mobile platforms that support music streaming. The target audience of this project is university students like the ones taking the class. The main concern is the way in which the user browses for music and creates/manages playlists. Therefore, account and profile functionality was not developed for the purposes of this project.

User Research

In order to start, my two teammates and I had to figure out how the basic music browsing and playlist functionalities were implemented by current music streaming mobile applications and how did our target users interacted with them.

To approach this task, we created a set of 10 questions that we would each ask to three people. While we interviewed them, though, we came up with more questions that were appropriate for the given interview. We also asked our interviewees to perform different browsing/playlist tasks in their application of choice in order to see how they interacted with the application. From this interview we got information on the following:

  • What activities students perform while listening to music from music apps
  • How students tend to manage their playlists (and what is difficult about it)
  • What students like about the app they use

Competitive Analysis

Besides doing interviews, we also looked at the structure and IA of other popular music mobile applications. We created site maps that covered the 2nd and 3rd levels of the application and listed the genres that they used and the order in which they were listed.

This helped us understand what kind of features and information music streaming applications tend to prioritize and how they present them. For example, we came across apps that sorted their genres alphabetically while others were sorted by popularity. Also, it helped us see what kind of information was frequently present in 2nd level pages and we noticed a lot of similarities. (sounds meaningful!)

Assessing

After having collected information from our interviewees and from other apps, we had to bring in everything together and choose what we wanted to use. We had to assess what features, design decisions, and IA conveyed the most effective execution for the tasks we were interested in: deleting songs from a playlist and creating a new playlist out of an album (activity specific in our wireframe).

Designing

This was the difficult step. We wanted to include a lot from our assessing phase that provided an efficient execution, but there was a huge issue … it didn’t look too good. The first idea, was to have two navbars, one on the top and one on the bottom, and a search bar instead of a title bar in the Home and Browse pages. The two main issues with this design were:

  1. The user will have trouble identifying where they are in the app
  2. The two navbars will make the app look cluttered

If we made a lot of popular functionality readily accessible from the get-go, our app would look too busy and unappealing. We worked on multiple designs until we came along with one that we liked. We made a clean sketch of our design (the original one was a mess) to be our base for our final design.

Credit: Tina Ke

InVision-ing

After we finished our design on Photoshop, we used InVision to finish up the wireframe of our design. We created the flow of our two focus tasks using multiple screens in order to provide the most detail. Here is the result of our work:

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