Playback Redesign

A music app of Seattle Public Library that allows users to discover Seattle local music and musical events.

DURATION
TEAM
MY ROLE
3 Weeks
Erfan Dastournejad
Beijia Wang
User Research
Wireframe
Prototype
UX & UI Design

BACKGROUND

Playback is an online music platform of Seattle Public Library. Every year Seattle musicians will submit their albums to Playback. The jury in Playback will select 100 best albums and put them on the platform for users to free stream and download local music. The goal for Playback is to connect local musicians with the general public.

However, through the research, we found that there is limited use of the service; out of 379,222 Seattle Public Library cardholders, there are only 2729 downloads from the platform.

Therefore, we came up with a “How Might We” statement:
How might we improve the Playback service to make the experience of discovering local music more interesting and engaging?

RESPONSE

A music app that allows SPL members to discover Seattle local music and musical events. They can also participate in the selection of 100 best albums. The goal is to enrich the bond between local musicians and the general public.

ONBOARDING PROCESS

LOG IN & set up
MUSIC PREFERENCES

After SPL cardholders using their library cards to activate their Playback accounts, they can select their music preferences so that Playback can better recommend music they might like.

MUSIC DISCOVERY

Like and dislike

A playful experience for users to explore local music. Users can like or dislike the recommended music. If users like the song, they can vote for the song by clicking the like icon. If users don't like the song, the system will learn their tastes and will not recommend similar music.

IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCE

DIVE INTO THE MUSIC

Users select the album to listen to the song in a more immersive way. They can see the artist's info, his/her albums, and related events. The star icon in front of the artist's name indicates this artist's album has been selected as the best 100 albums of the year, serving as a recognition to the artist.

EVENTS DISCOVERY

EXPLORE LOCAL
MUSICAL EVENTS

An exploratory way for users to discover more local music events, especially the ones hosted by Seattle Public Library. Users can also search and filter events based on their preferences.

EVENTS DETAIL

CHECK OUT DETAILS & REGISTER IN ADVANCED

Users select the album to listen to the song in a more immersive way. They can see the artist's info, his/her albums, and related events. The star icon in front of the artist's name indicates this artist's album has been selected as the best 100 albums of the year, serving as a recognition to the artist.

BADGE SYSTEM

RECEIVED RECOGNITION FOR YOUR MUSICAL TASTE

Users can access their liked songs, events and followed artists. They can also receive different badges based on their accomplishment.

primary RESEARCH

Insights

1

It is inconvenient for people to use Playback since it could only be accessed through the web application.

2

The redesign of Playback should be in the form of a mobile application so that users can access it more conveniently.

Interview with the Playback Project Lead

“… it's just people get excited to see national acts, but they aren't as excited to see local music.”

“(Local) artists have no problem giving their work out there; the problem is to distinguish themselves with the other artists.”

Playback Project Lead

Insights

1

The public should be involved in the album selection process, voting for the albums they like to increase public interests and participation.

2

The app should recommend music to users based on their preferences.

3

There should be some kinds of reward systems such as badges or free tickets to give users incentives to use the app.

4

There should be a distinction between the musician whose album has been selected as the best 100 albums and the other musicians.

Interview with Local Music Listeners

“ I have some favorite local artists, but I have trouble finding their local performance information.”

“ Spotify is like a hot pot, it has everything. I need to establish my own music taste before using its suggestions, which makes finding new singers more difficult. ”

Insights

1

There is a lack of connection between the local musicians and the event they are holding  

2

The Playback redesign should not only have music but also include artists' information and local musical events.

Secondary Research

Competitive Analysis

We first did a competitive analysis of existing music apps and other analogous platforms that allow people to discover and view events. Through the study, we identified the key features, pros & cons of each service.

Stakeholders

Before the redesign, it is important for us to acknowledge our stakeholders and their value propositions so that the redesign could better align with their needs.

Design Goals

1

Make the Playback service more accessible and easy to use to strengthen the bond between local musicians and the public.

2

Motivate the public to be more interested in and engaged with the local music.

3

Increase local musicians' publicity and promote their works within the community.

4

Make sure our redesign aligns with Seattle Public Library and Rabble (host of Playback)'s business goals.

First Iteration

In our first iteration, we positioned the app as both a music listening app and an event listing app. We added many features, such as music shuffling, event forums, etc. to enrich the experience for both sides. However, through user testings, we realized that too many features made the information architecture of the app too complicated for users to use.

final design

Therefore, for the final version, we condensed the information architecture into three main categories: discover, events, and liked. We wanted the user to have two types of experience: Discovery and Immersive.

Reflection

Design for Musicians

Due to the time constraint, we only design Playback for the general public. However, it is important to design for local musicians as they need to upload their works to enter the Playback competition and post music events on the platform. It could be a separate app, or a different entry point in the current Playback app.

Continue Tackling the Problem

The main challenge for the current Playback platform is the limited use of the service. The redesign of the platform is one of the solutions. We hope that through the redesign, the platform becomes more convenient and engaging, and therefore attracting more people to use it. To continue the project, I will also work with SPL marketing department to see if there are any other opportunities to promote local musicians and their work.

More Projects

OverviewPrimary ResearchSecondary ResearchStakeholdersDesign GoalIterationsFinal DesignReflection