Shazam App for Apple Watches — Recognising Nature

Why I decided to work on this project?

During weekends, I like to hike in Bray or Howth, Dublin. During hiking, I come across several beautiful bird sounds and I am curious what birds they are. Usually it’s very difficult to recognise a bird just from the sound.

I have friends who are bird enthusiasts and they also face the same issue while recognising the birds from their sounds. Some of them use of apps but those apps are usually not very accurate and often have terrible user experience.

“I wish there was some way to recognise birds from their sound in a better way. “

What is the main problem I am trying to solve?

Present Situation —

Users don’t have any good solution to recognise birds from their song/sound.

Existing solution—

There are some apps which offer similar service but usually they have poor accuracy and terrible user experience.

On the other hand, Shazam app, is great in terms of accuracy and user experience, but doesn’t recognise birds from their sound or image.

“I want to design a solution for recognising birds from their sound in Shazam App.”

Who are the users I am solving this problem for?

  • Nature Lovers
  • Professionals such as Ornithologist or Wild Life photographers

What’s my role in the project?

  • UX Researcher
  • UI Designer

Solution to the problem

Shazam app which can recognise birds from their sound/song.

I specifically designed the Apple Watch version of the app as my research suggested that while the users are in nature, they have fear of losing their phone (phone falling down in water or breaking) so if this feature is available in Apple watches, it will give them much more flexibility to use.

Apple Watch Shazam App

Design Process

Competitor Analysis-

An article in Lifehacker magazine had excellent competitor analysis of 4 apps -

  • Song Sleuth
  • ChirpOMatic
  • Bird Song ID
  • SongBird (deleted from iOS Store now)

They tested the apps using these recordings of common American birds: the red-winged blackbird, yellow-rumped warbler, mourning dove, American robin, American crow, house sparrow, and a grey squirrel as a gotcha question. Some recordings isolate the featured bird, while some include background birdsong from other species.

Among the four apps, got at least one correct guess on all seven recordings. Three apps performed well, but on different birds. Here’s a breakdown of correct identifications, with Y for yes, N for no, and K for kinda (when the app needed multiple tries or suggested several other birds first).


All the 4 apps had terrible and not so intuitive UI with lots of complicated features.


Song Sleuth
Bird Song ID

As we can see, all the competitor apps have terrible UI and far too many features.

Interviews -

To understand what features they would like to see in the app, I asked 5 of my friends who are nature lovers. Based on the interviews, here are the actions that the user can perform after recognising a bird

  • Learn more about the Bird
  • See related content like videos or images
  • Find similar birds

Design -

For design, I made sure that the results look very similar to the existing results UI.

From the research, I came to know what features we can have for each type of bird. So after recognising a bird, the user can -

  • Learn more about the bird
  • View similar bird
  • As Watch video support / streaming is still improving, I decided to have “Add to watchlist” feature which will add the Apple TV+ videos to a watchlist which the user can enjoy later.

Here are the prototypes -

All Screens
Interfaces with Watch

As Add to watchlist button plays a very important role, I decided to come up with several versions of the button to test which one is more intuitive and may lead to more click rate.

Add to Watchlist Buttons variations

Test Participants Reviews -

I showed my UIs to some of my friends and they really liked the design, and intuitive and simple navigation, and large display of content.

Future Scope -

As the mission of Shazam is

“Our mission is to help people recognise and engage with the world around them”

In future, the app can expand to recognising music instruments and

  • songs played on that instrument
  • add related videos to Apple TV+ watchlist
  • Shopping (buying the instrument)
  • Adding to Apple music
  • Adding to My Shazam list

In future, voice based search is going to be a huge market and definitely Shazam can help the users to perform a variety of actions with their platform ranging from recognising to shopping to many other actions.

Thank you :)

Click on this link to go to my UX Portfolio.

Pritish Krishna Panda

Written by

UX Designer @Blueface. Minimalist, photographer and visual storyteller. Find me on

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