Take control of your sound.
For a user-centered design course, my team and I worked through the design process from user research to high-fidelity mock-ups over ten weeks to develop a mobile application for hobbyist musicians.
First, my team and I chose hobbyist musicians as our user group, who we defined as people who play music in their spare time and don’t make a living by performing, but occasionally play at small venues.
I interviewed three of six hobbyist musicians my team spoke to about their performances and practices to gain a better understanding of their characteristics, problems, and desires.
It's a hassle [to record with a professional mic] compared to using our phones, which are very convenient.
Miking is the most frustrating part of performing. At one competition, you could not hear us, and the soloists overpowered the backgrounds.
With information from the interviews, we created two personas to represent our user group. We also mapped a band's experience during a performance and identified the performers' confidence declined as a result of poor sound.
Based on our research, we created the following goals for our design. Our solution had to:
My team and I created storyboards, with solutions ranging from an app to a wearable to a physical device. We decided a mobile application would be the simplest and most accessible technology for a hobbyist musician.
A storyboard I created with an app-based solution.
To establish the structure of our app, we created the information architecture.
As we refined our concept, it became clear that the app would utilize machine learning to give users better suggestions over time. We decided that giving an identity to our AI would help us brand and explain our product.
Thus, Roadie was born.
To explain how Roadie creates suggestions, we created the following graphic.
We created low-fidelity mockups of a few screens then used the paper prototypes to ask users to complete three key tasks with Roadie.
Using feedback from our usability tests, we created wireframes, which were critiqued in class.
The visual design of Roadie was informed by two key principles: simplicity and context of use. Roadie's interface provides a hobbyist musician the settings they need. The dark grey background and bright amber accents were selected to allow users to easily interact with the app in dimly lit venues without distracting people around them.
The home screen displays the user's active profile as well as their automatically identified current venue. From here, the user can switch profiles, edit their location, generate new settings, or use settings from a previous performance.
To create familiarity, we mimicked the visual design of advanced music production software, such as Logic Pro and Ableton Live. This simple screen provides functionality while allowing more advanced users to tweak the settings to their liking.
To organize feedback, I combined a watchOS-style UI with a pop-up to allow for specific feedback on each instrument or vocalist. The numbers indicate the number of comments selected, and the stars measure the overall rating.
Given more time, my team and I would have conducted usability tests with our high-fidelity mockups to further refine the user experience. Additionally, we would have interviewed more hobbyist musicians to have multiple perspectives on the performance experience.
This project was my first deep dive into the design process. Through Roadie, I had the chance to sample the experience of creating a product from start to finish, and I realized that my true passion lies with design rather than research. I have always been a hands-on learner, and this project further reinforced my desire to create.