MUSIC APP UX Project | My Role: UX Designer | Duration: 4 Days| Project Status: Ongoing
The project that ultimately became Virtuoso began as practice of the double diamond design process, “Design the right thing and Design things right”. The first piece was research, interviews and data synthesis. There was a lot of insight gained from each interviewee which ultimately let to a redefined problem statement. The simple design of the Virtuoso app took shape thereafter and was finalized after two small iterations of the initial Marvel Prototype.
The initial problem statement
It was very difficult to create a new music app that would entice music consumers. Market competitors offer libraries of millions upon millions of songs that are available at the touch of a button and the apps available all posses a plethora of useful features.
Spotify is definitely among the top of what users prefer and with the likes of behemoths like Apple and Google in the mix there’s not much room for a new player.
Initial problem: With so many music apps available in the market, how may we provide an alternative app to users which encompasses the best features of all of them in one place?
Six 1:1 Interviews were conducted. As each consecutive user mentioned their strong preference for Spotify over any other application it became evident that a new app would have to remedy any shortcomings of Spotify.
Users also seemed to be in agreement that they loved Spotify for feeding them new music. Some of the other likes:
• Algorithm for suggesting songs
• Curated Playlists
• Radio Feature
”I love to listen to music that‘s uplifting and puts me in a good mood.”
• “…if I’m running to the train or a class the last thing I need is to fumble with the phone to play some music.”
• ”If there were any other app there should be some AI that knows what I’m likely to listen to. If I hear Adele I’ll throw the $#!t out. But I like a wide variety.”
The last two quotes sparked the idea for a different kind of app than what the initial problem was implying. An app that would solve issues mentioned therein as well as some other ones like cumbersome searches for new playlists and poor integration.
Synthesis » Refining the initial assumptions
What became evident is that people are too vested with their current app, be it Spotify, Apple Music or any others. There are favorite song lists, specific playlists that took time to compile and subscription commitments.
Music is an integral part of people’s daily routine. It is a soundtrack for getting hyped up for the gym, passive listening prior and during a work day, as well as a way to pass the time on a commute. People love discovering new music and having music chosen for them according to their taste.
New problem statement: Since many users feel they are too busy to look for new music or go through new playlists themselves, how might we simplify their interaction with their favorite music apps and increase their daily engagement?
The Concept for Virtuoso is a virtual assistant for music. Once your calendar, favorite music app, podcasts and audiobooks are synched, Virtuoso will curate playlists to your day. You will receive a prompt to play a 30 minute podcast once the app determines your daily commute or an inspirational playlist prior to a 10am Monday interview.
This is where sketching Virtuoso began. The design idea is for a very simple interface. Users didn’t want to fumble with their phones, so the goal is for a “set it and forget it” app. Once a user syncs their calendars, music apps and devices there will be voice prompts henceforth.
With this concept in mind the Main Screen only contains three buttons.
SYNC ME — Which lets the user sync calendars, agendas, smart home devices, music apps like Spotify as well as podcasts and audiobooks to the app on setup. Ideally this should be done once.
RATE PICKS SO FAR — Tells Virtuoso how close to your tastes its music picks are. As time goes on the user should be providing feedback less and less frequently.
FAVORITES — A list of favorites for when the User really wants to hear a song again.
Usability Tests » Resulting Iterations
Usability testing began with 2 testers. Although Tester #1 completed the tasks of navigating the app flawlessly, Tester #2 had some trouble with the app feedback function.
On the initial iteration, the “how am I doing?” feedback button was confusing to Tester # 2. The noun in “how am I doing?” was not referring to the tester, but instead to solicit feedback on how the app is effectively curating playlists. There was also some confusion about the label “past favorites”. For Tester #2, the User translated this as a feedback button, instead of a collection of the songs you have marked as a favorite.
Reiteration: From the feedback received from Testers “How am I doing?” was replaced with “Rate Picks so far” and “Past Favorites” was changed to “Favorites”. A “Done” button was also added to every screen which had selections. As per Tester # 3 there was confirmation button needed that choices were saved.
Prototype — you may find the Marvel prototype at
Each piece of the design process has its own very important merit. What can be learned from this project is that there are likely to be a few iterations to both the problem and the solution. User feedback is extremely important in shaping the problem statement; in this case reiterating it. Usability feedback was key in implementing changes to button labels that would prevent confusion from any users following. I believe I synthesized the data well and identified the problem correctly. I look forward to working to develop the idea and prototype further.