UX case study — An app to help musicians to find rehearsal studios

My first UXDI project at General Assembly

Overview

The objective of this project was to discover a user’s problem and create a mobile app to resolve it. Following the principles of the double diamond design process (developed by the British Design Council, 2005), the stages I went through in this process were: research, problem statement, sketching, prototyping, usability testing, back and forth refining and strengthening my work.

Discover

User research interview
During the first interview I found out that Jack is a musician, specifically a drummer. He’s been travelling for the last two years so he doesn’t have many belongings. He would like to practice his instrument more often but he doesn’t own a drum kit, and wouldn’t be allowed to play at his flat anyway. The only way for him to play is booking a room in a rehearsal studio.

Interviewing Jack the drummer

In the second interview I dug deeper in the topic. The interesting thing I’ve found out is that Jack doesn’t have a practice schedule: like many musicians, he’s not very organised.

Experience map of Jack’s journey to book a studio

I asked him to walk me through the process of how he books a studio, and from this I drew an experience map to help me to spot his highest pain point when he checks the studio’s website for room availability. He usually looks for an available studio last minute, which is when they are more likely to be fully booked.

Define

Musicians need a way to find a place for playing because they need to practice their instruments and there are no available studios.

For many people music is just a hobby, so not finding a studio available when they want to play might not be a big deal.

But for the professionals, they have to be prepared for recording sessions or band rehearsal. Their performances rely on the study and practice of the songs they’re going to play. The quality of their performances is what gets them more jobs.

Develop

I sketched some ideas and eventually a few of them were helpful in coming up with a concept. One of the first solutions that I found uses the search engine approach to the problem. The user completes a couple of required fields and the app returns a selection of results.

I felt it could be made easier and faster, so I tried a more visual approach. When the user has launched the app, they see their location and the nearby studios are pinned on a map.

I realised I was onto something that could be described as “Airbnb for studios”.

Storyboard
Some sketches helped me to visualise the scenario. Describing a user experience is like telling a story.

Storyboard

User flow
I started drawing the happy path of how to book a studio, and later added other steps. This was a very useful tool to build the layouts of the different screens.

The final user flow after running usability testing

Prototyping
After defining the user flow I sketched out some screens. The key ones are the map view, studio details view and the booking confirmation message.

First sketches for a paper prototype

The map screen shows the location of the user on the map and some balloons containing basic information about the studio, such as name, distance and number of slots available.

The studio details view shows the address, time of the slots available, prices and the “Book now” call to action.

The booking confirmation message comes in a form of an electronic ticket, where all the information needed is displayed, including a QR code for access to the building and the room booked.

Usability testing
The objective I gave the user was to book a studio for this evening.
I set up the prototype so there were multiple options with only one correct path to complete the task. This would give me full oversight of each possible step. I felt it was important to specify a time-frame because I needed to see if the layout of the studio details view was clear.

All of the users managed to complete the task, even though I noticed a couple of them getting stuck on the studio details view: they weren’t understanding the affordance of the time slots list.

I also received useful feedback and features suggestions, such as a time-based filtering system.

Second iteration
The biggest changes to the second iteration were:

  • Adding a feature to filter nearby studios by time
  • Moving the “Book” button on the same line as the time slot
Screens for the new iteration of the prototype

A digital version of the prototype can be found here.

What’s next?

Following the feedback and features suggestions from the usability testing, the next steps for this app would be some kind of board where a musician can find others to jam with, and the ability to split the cost of the booking.