SoundCloud — Designing a DJ Feature
As the world’s leading social sound platform where people can create and share sounds, SoundCloud wants to expand the way users interactively share music.
SoundCloud provides a place for musicians to record, upload, promote and share their sounds for listeners to access around the world. SoundCloud users are able to “like” artist tracks, follow artists, create playlists, and join groups to support and grow the SoundCloud community. Although users are able to curate their own playlists from songs they select, SoundCloud would like to create a feature that allows users to collaborate online, DJing their select tracks with other users in real time.
In a 2 week sprint, I worked in a team of 3 to design the new feature as part of a UX Immersive course project. I participated in all stages of the process but focused mostly on flows and creation of the digital prototype, while keeping it consistent with SoundCloud’s look and feel.
Here I’m going to talk about the process we have followed throughout the project.
We began by conducting user research and understanding the competitive landscape through online surveys, user interviews and contextual inquiry.
We designed and conducted an online user survey to screen users for further interviews and to understand DJ and listener interest in the concept. We also conducted several interviews with music listeners and DJ’s to understand their profiles, needs and pain points.
We found out through the survey that listeners are open to listening to DJ mixes and that there is a very strong interest in using online music, and that DJ’s are interested in exploring the concept of using online music platforms to mix music with other DJ’s.
We sought to understand the existing customer processes and developed user flows and experience maps.
User research provided us with several insights which we grouped into affinity maps to understand emerging themes.
Pain Points that emerged for DJ’s from our research were:
- DJ’s are frustrated with complicated layouts of music systems.
- The various DJ systems on the market are complex to learn and very different. DJ’s do not wish to use new systems they are not familiar with.
- Building up their network and finding other DJ’s to collaborate with.
We assessed the competitive landscape and found out that none of the competitors addressed the DJ pain points or provide virtual collaborative mixing.
Based on our research, we segmented users into the following categories, each of which had common characteristics.
We focused on the personas of Samantha, an aspirational DJ, who wants to enhance her DJ skills and Johnny, a music explorer, who is interested in live music experiences. Both of these personas are most likely to be interested in the new SoundCloud proposition.
We mapped out the user flows for DJ’s and listeners to understand existing processes and experience.
During the discovery stage we had found that there were many features that could be included in the prototype and prioritised the ‘must have’ features that had to be included in the prototype based on user feedback.
In the ideation phase we conducted design studios to sketch out various possibilities for design.
We iterated our sketches and wireframes and tested with users and made changes based on their feedback.
Testing with users revealed that navigation has to be made clearer. DJ’s were confused about where to go to start the process of collaboration as this was included in the user profile and not in the main menu. DJ’s expected to be able to initiate this process under the ‘live rooms’ menu in their home page, instead of from their profile. The home page ‘live rooms’ sub menu was originally designed for listeners to join into the DJ live sessions. We found from testing that we had to include the DJ collaboration option in the main menu so that DJ’s about were clear where to go for creating live DJ sets.
We also found that the language ‘live rooms’ was confusing for and that DJ’s were also confused about the term ‘create room’. We changed the language to ‘Live DJ sets’ for listeners and ‘Live DJ sets’ for DJ’s.
Testing also revealed that DJ’s were not clear about the steps they needed to take to create live DJ sets.
The DJ interface design for selecting music tracks had to be modified as DJ’s wanted key controls such as giving controls to other DJ within easy reach and the process of selected and loading tracks clarified further.
When I get more time to work on this project, I’d like to focus on:
- Detailed screens for listeners to join in the DJ session
- Responsive mobile version