Tidal Turn Up
Feature addition to the existing music app, Tidal (Designlab Project)
Project for: Designlab UX Academy
Roles: User Research, UX Design, UX Strategy, Interaction Design, User Testing
Tidal is an online music service that offers subscription-based, ad-free streaming while boasting lossless audio and exclusive content. For this Designlab project, I designed a feature that would allow users to share their music listening experience with each other.
The music streaming service industry has been growing exponentially over the past few years. It has been reported that the number of audio-only music streams in the United States nearly doubled in the first half of 2016 compared to the previous year. Worldwide, Tidal has about 4 million subscribers and they are looking to increase their market share.
Tidal sees a huge market opportunity in implementing a mobile feature called ‘Turn Up’ because they believe it could revolutionize the music sharing and listening experience. This new feature would allow users to simultaneously play music on multiple phones while in different locations.
I was challenged to design the Turn Up feature in a way that would provide a superior listening and sharing experience for users.
I first formulated a hypothesis and narrowed the project brief down to one problem statement that would guide my research.
Users want to share the experience of listening to music, but currently are unable to.
Humans have been creating, listening to, and sharing music for centuries, making it an almost primal activity. In order to test my hypothesis, I came up with a research plan that would help me understand the behaviors associated with listening to and sharing music, and would allow me to empathize with the user.
- Competitive Analysis
- 5 User Interviews
- Survey of 20 users
Using the data gathered from my research, I created this empathy map to look for patterns, contradictions, and pain points that would give me insight into what my strategy should be in designing the Turn Up feature.
- Though 55.6% of users discover new music through friends or family or coworkers, 77.8% said that they rarely or never share music.
- Mood was a consistent factor across the board when it came to how users decide what to listen to.
- People identify heavily with the music they listen to and tend to take it personally if music tastes are not shared
- Users are interested in what their favorite artists listen to because they believe that their tastes would be similar
- Live shows are important to most users because it is a form of sharing an experience and they are more present.
- Users do not usually share music the first time they hear it, and sometimes have trouble recalling a song when they do want to share it.
Once I was able to empathize with the user, I created personas which would guide me along my design journey. Here is the main persona I referred to:
I created this UX Strategy Blueprint to organize my thoughts and create a guide to help me come up with a strategy. This is where the design started to form and come together. I decided that the Turn Up features should be designed similarly to social media, allowing users and artists could interact with each other during live sessions.
From this brainstorm session, I concluded that my design should have the following features:
- Fit seamlessly into Tidal's current mobile interface
- Easily accessible to new and current users alike
- The ability to create and customize Turn Ups
- The ability to invite other users and to join when invited
- The ability to easily add music to a live Turn Up
- The ability to listen live simultaneously with their favorite artists
- A way to interact with other users and artists within the Turn Up
I created an application map to figure out where the new Turn Up feature would best fit into the existing platform on a high level.
Next, I mapped out the user flow for both the DJ and the spectator to figure out what pages I would need to design and what features should be on them.
I first sketched out my wireframes on paper before creating digital versions of them.
I then mocked these sketches up digitally.
Prototype and Test
Using the low-fidelity mock-ups, I tested three users with a prototype I created using Invision and also performed click tests on Usability Hub as well.
My objective was to find out whether or not my design was intuitive and if users would be able to complete key tasks such as adding music to a Turn Up and inviting other users without error. I had users complete tasks for both the DJ and Spectator flows.
Usability Test Results
I had users familiarize themselves with Tidal’s current interface before testing my prototype and all felt that its interface was not intuitive and had a difficult time navigating the app.
Through in-person user testing and click tests, I learned that parts of my design were also not intuitive. All subjects had difficulty adding music to the Turn Up and navigating the screens. The click tests confirmed this issue.
Based on the results and feedback I received, I revised my design by simplifying it and putting as much as I could into one screen instead of having it scattered as it was before. I tried to conform to Tidal’s current interface as much as possible, but needed to make some revisions to eliminate confusion.
I retested with a revised prototype and had better results and more positive feedback. Users liked that everything related to the Turn Up was accessible on one page, and that the steps needed to complete the tasks were decreased.
User Interface Design
I used Tidal's current UI as a guide to create the UI for the new Turn Up feature. Most of the elements were kept the same so that they would fit in seamlessly, but I also created some new ones that would be required for the new feature.
From my research, I found out that people identify heavily with the music that they listen to and are interested in their friends' taste in music. This and a competitive analysis of Spotify suggest that later feature additions should allow users to have their own entity similar to a social media profile from which they can post and share music, and also follow their friends and favorite artists to stay updated and feel more connected to them.
I would also suggest more user testing regarding Tidal's current user interface because all of the users I tested had difficulty using it. If Tidal were to perform user testing with its current interface, I am sure the users would have some great insight as to how it can be improved.