Starting from scratch.

Vibe was created during an 8-week project during my time in BrainStation's Full-Time Immersive User Experience Design course, covering UX/UI design from start to finish: defining and understanding a problem through secondary research and user interviews,  empathizing with users to gain key user insights, solution ideation through wire framing and lo-fidelity mockups, constant refinement through user testing, and culminating the process into a high-fidelity prototype adhering to fundamental principles of design.

As with all new things,
there may inherently be kinks to work out,
or opportunities to explore..

THE PROBLEM
In determining the design problem to solve for this project, I looked at the exciting emergence of music streaming. Music fans are trending towards the digital consumption of music through music streaming subscription services. Users' music libraries are often tucked away hidden in smartphones and laptops, solely for private enjoyment. How might we enrich the lives of music enthusiasts by facilitating shared and social music experiences?
RESEARCH
SECONDARY RESEARCH

Through research online, I looked to confirm or deny any prior assumptions (consumers trending towards music streaming services for audio consumption).
Source: http://www.nielsen.com/content/dam/corporate/us/en/reports-downloads/2018-reports/2017-year-end-music-report-us.pdf
PRIMARY RESEARCH

Held user interviews to understand the motivations, behaviours, pains, and gains of current music streaming service subscribers.

Upon a number of user interviews, patterns started to emerge. See below for quotes from user interviews held (replaced user interview subject portraits with stock images for privacy reasons):

Dive into the mind of a typical user,
& empathize with their experiences.

PERSONA
With the secondary research and user interviews in mind, I synthesized the key insights into a persona who could represent the users.

Using the research and persona to inform a design solution,
envision a product that would solve the problem
while meeting the wants and needs of a user.

SOLUTION IDEATION
After toying with a few ideas (including: listening to music online with friends in real-time, cooperative playlist making, and music events coordination), I determined the product that would best serve Alina's wants and needs would:
• provide a way to share and discover music with friends, leveraging users' existing music streaming subscriptions.
• provide a dedicated and appropriate platform for users to easily and conveniently interact socially over the topic of music favourites.
• follow Jakob's Law (a UX law coined by Jakob Nielsen, which states that users prefer and expect products to work in the same way that other products work that their familiar with), taking inspiration from Apple Music, Spotify, and Instagram.
TASK FLOW

A user would have a constantly refreshed stream of music in their music feed, populated by songs shared by people they follow (a la Instagram).  By connecting to their existing music subscription (via the permission to access their account via the Apple Music or Spotify API), users could share their songs from their music library to their followers' feeds.  Users can add songs discovered in their feed directly to their own music library, and interact with others via comments, likes, and messaging.
SKETCHES
LO-FI MOCKUP & USER TESTING

I created a lo-fidelity mockup using Sketch, and put the design through a number of user tests.

Music feed iterations:
Final Lo-Fi Mockup Screens

Aesthetics is a form of communication.

HI-FIDELITY MOCKUP
After hammering down the functionality of the app through the low fidelity prototype and user testing, I converted the designs into a higher fidelity mockup.  Colour decisions were based on trying to match the feel of music. Music is as diverse as the people that enjoy it, so I chose a main colour, and two secondary colours. A deep navy blue, a sunny bright blue, and an energetic red. Navy was chosen as the main colour, as to not take away from the colours of the album artwork in the feed that often represent the feel/mood of the music.  A word-mark using a "handwritten" font was chosen as to reflect that music can be very personal (an insight gained during the user interviews).

A house won't last without a solid foundation.

CONCLUSION
After completing the 10 week full-time UX design course at Brainstation, I feel prepared to kickstart my career in UX design. I learned a whole lot in what felt like a short period of time. I got a solid foundational understanding in a number of UX topics, and was able to apply them with the creation of Vibe. I'm grateful for what I've taken from this project, and I'm excited to continue my growth as UX designer.
Browse other projects:
Stay on the ball with everything NBA.
(Coming soon!)
A look into my user experience design work with development/design agency Focus21 Inc.
A redesign of Amazon's checkout flow UI.
A design sprint to redesign Loblaws' self-checkout screen.
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