A mobile app to help musicians choose songs to play together.
I designed this app for Phil, a fellow student. Phil likes to get together informally with his friends to play music. They try to plan ahead and find at least three songs for each session, that everyone will enjoy playing. This isn’t easy, when the group has varying tastes and abilities. My brief was to make this discussion more fun, and less stressful.
I designed a mobile app that allowed Phil’s friends to suggest songs, and comment and vote on other people’s suggestions. I also included a feature that suggested songs for the group,based on people’s tastes and the instruments they played.
Techniques and tools
User interviews, task analysis, user flows sketching, usability testing, POP App (Prototyping on Paper).
POP prototype http://bit.ly/setlister
My fellow student Phil likes playing music with his friends. There isn’t a regular line-up or set list of songs to play; It depends on who’s available. Interviewing Phil revealed that agreeing what to play can be quite complicated.
At the moment, Phil and his friends have those discussions on Facebook. It takes a long time to agree anything, and can turn what should be a fun and creative part of Phil’s life into stress and arguments.
Task analysis and user flows helped me to clarify Phil's though processes, before I started to work on possible solutions. I began by sketching ideas for organising the whole music session: creating user profiles, inviting friends to a session, and a set list builder with song search and suggestion features.
Given I only had a week, I needed to narrow my scope. The set list builder was what differentiated this app from other calendaring tools, so that’s where I decided to focus. I continued to develop the app through more detailed sketches, reviewing the designs with Phil and adding additional features that came out of these reviews.
Prototyping in POP
POP is a quick way to create a clickable prototype from sketches. It made it easier to test with with users who hadn’t seen the design up to this point. This gave me lots of useful feedback to help me iterate the design.
New users found the app difficult to understand. I needed to add more text instructions to guide users through the workflow of creating a set list. They also didn’t understand the mechanism for showing how many musicians had voted for/ vetoed each song. The card-based suggestion feature as however easy for users to understand and use.
If I come back to this project in the future, I’ll continue to evolve the set list builder, and return to the invitation and user profile features. User testing threw up a few more avenues that I’d like to explore with this app:
Musician history. Songs they’ve played before could feed into song suggestions.
Venue finder. Locate spaces to play by area/ budget, and allow the group to vote up their choice.
Musician networking. Find new people to play with based on location/taste.
Add original songs. This would help regular bands to use the app for organising rehearsals and gigs.
See the full POP prototype http://bit.ly/setlister