Project Overview
A case study that started with this prompt: Create a music sharing app. With a background in music production, I decided to create a music sharing space for audio engineers, producers, foley artists, film composers, etc. People who work with audio have to look in many places to find unique sounds. This takes time and can be frustratingly slow. My goal was to help people easily find, share, and use sounds; effectively speeding up their audio workflow. Among other things, through user research, testing low-fidelity mockups, and analyzing collected data to make appropriate changes, I was able to create this mobile application. This was a lot of fun, a great learning experience, and there is future hopes to develop this into a viable product!
Timeline
06.07.21-09.12.21
14 Weeks
Current
Finished Case Study
Further Development Soon
My Role
UX Design

User Research
The primary focus, as with most designs, was on the user. Particulary, how to get them moving through the app quickly. Creating empathy maps, user journey flows, personas, and conducting interviews allowed me to understand my target audience and really design for the user.  
Pain Points
1: Slow Process
The process of sampling can be long and slow, often drawn out for longer than necessary. Searching for the right sound could take hours, and years to develop a catalogue of your own saved sounds. 
2: Equipment Barriers
Few people have the analog equipment available to them to sample records "correctly," often losing the warm vintage tone, being replaced by a shallow tinny sound.
3: Hard to Find
Though some might say this is the fun of it, not many people have access to thousands of records anymore. There are tons of places and ways to sample online as well, but no real  one-stop-shop. 
4: Community
The music community is grand, but it can be daunting to find samples and ask others to use their sounds. We want to build a positive community that lifts artist up for their work while letting others collaborate with them safely.
Persona: Kayla Williams
“When you sample you can take an old sound to a beautiful new place. I love the warmth that it can add, but I don’t always have the time to sit down and find something that I really, really like and want to use.” - Kayla
Background
Kayla is a 25 year old living in Port Arthur, Texas. She splits her time between nannying and helping at a recording studio, as an audio engineer, pianist, and singer. When she’s not on the clock, she likes to stay at the studio and work on her own music. Kayla loves to sample unique bits of songs, but finds the process very time consuming, which conflicts with her busy schedule.  
Problem Statement
Kayla is an aspiring audio engineer working multiple jobs, who needs to speed up her audio workflow so she can maximize her time in the studio. 
Goals
‣ Speed up the sampling process
‣ Share her own sounds with the community   
‣ Find unique audio without having to dig so deep for unknown songs, riffs, vocals, etc. 
Frustrations
‣ Lacks time to properly find and use audio samples. 
‣ Doesn’t always have access to recording equipment. 
‣ Dislikes any sort of advertisement within mobile applications. 
User Journey Map
Takeaways:
‣ Remove any filler and get the user to the main function as quickly as possible.
‣ Make sign-up easy and non-intrusive. The "barrier to entry" should be low.
‣ Highlight the main features and pages being used.
Action
Get App
Create Account
Select Interest
Find Audio
Use Audio
Task List
A: Download app
B:  Allows mic access
C: Declines notifications
A: Enters personal information
B: Creates username
C: Clicks through quick tutorial of app
A: Chooses from a list of interest 
B: Wants to skip following popular users 
C: Doesn’t upload any personal media
A: Searches for snare sounds
B: Sorts by new 
C: Clicks through new snare sounds and finds her favorite
A: Downloads mp3
B: Shares mp3 through google drive
C: Re-downloads on computer to use in Pro Tools 
Feeling Adjective
Excited to check out all the new free sounds available to her
Bored with always having to enter information
Interested, wants to speed through to actually using the app
Happy and Intrigued, gets to sort through new samples
Excited to play with the new sounds but going through the typical motions to get them into her Digital Audio Workstation
Improvement Opportunities
Free download, only ask for mic and music permission once she needs it 
Nix the tutorial and let users learn naturally to quicken immediate use
Allow for an easy skip option or get rid of completely 
Add more quality search filters
Allow airdrop and direct emailing of audio to quicken experience 
Competitive Audit:View
Takeaways:
‣ Strong search bar feature makes navigation easy for experiences based on finding content.
‣ Unfamiliar navigation patterns can be interesting and fun, but will waste time for this. 
Ideation
After figuring out the basic information architecture, I began to sketch paper wireframes of the necessary pages. Selecting the best layout (or two) for each page, I then brought the designs into Figma to make low-fidelity digital wireframes and a prototype. Shortly after, a usability study was conducted.
Paper Wireframes
With the paper wireframes I explored many different formats. Things like horizontal vs. vertical features, navigation bar variations, etc. The main structure figured from these was to keep a fixed navigation bar with the primary pages attached, and a simple layout to help quicken our users flow. 
Digital Wireframes
Moving through the digital lo-fi wireframes it was important to maintain an emphasis on speed and simplicity. "Featured Creators" is one of the only casual browsing features kept in. This should help build a better sense of community within the app. 
Low-Fidelity Prototype
The main function of this user-flow is to get people listening to and exploring for sounds fast. Users should be able to search and find specific/new sounds quickly, check their collection, and browse around if they choose. 
Usability StudyFull Report
This study was conducted with five participants. Each participant took an unmoderated usability study and was then interviewed about their experience. After finding themes in their similar responses, actions, and personal observations, it was possible to derive actionable insights that were then implemented in the next wave of prototypes.    
Major Findings & Insights
1:
Theme found: Users want to go back to sounds they have viewed, listened to, or downloaded.
Insight: Add a recently searched function/history to the search section, “my collection” will cover the rest of liked and downloaded sounds. 
2:
Theme found: Quality and particular search options are important to users.
Insight: Add specific filters for users to search within, such as: new, most liked, most downloaded, genres, length, etc.
3:
Theme found: users are interested in the community aspect of the app.
Insight: Show the artist or user who created/posted the sound they are viewing and be able to navigate to their page.


Affinity Diagram
Development
Low-fidelity prototype refined and worked into high-fidelity mockups.
Example A
During the study it was found that users wanted to view the artist page. There was a barebones “profile page” that wasn’t all that exciting. It was hard for people to recognize it as a “profile page,” and was also combined with the “more details page.” The answer was to split these two, and give the artist/user their own profile page to showcase their name, photo, uploads, and a bio. 
Example B
While searching, it's now possible to see your recent searches. This was a problem users addressed during the usability study and a want that was often mentioned. It will save users time to add this feature.
Mockups
High-Fidelity Prototype, created in Figma.
Accessibility Considerations
1:
For those with light sensitivity, a dark theme with a contrasting orange (the orange will be softer than current mockups for better legibility) is used. This improves the time users take to navigate and makes it easier on the eyes.
2:
Icons have added labels to help with voice assistant software. A help assistant can also be found in settings.
3:
Multiple language options, so users all over the world can have access. The current plan is to have 23 different languages available. 


Going Forward
What I've Learned
Throughout this project I was continuously reminded of the importance that user research has. That we should make most, if not all our design choices based on research in some sense. I would be stumped, thinking of a way to add/remove this or that, and almost every time, the solution to my problem was waiting for me in the research. Also, this study further helped me develop my skills with prototyping programs and think about my design efforts within them.
Next Steps
1:
Test the Hi-Fi prototype with users and conduct another study. 
2:
Make necessary changes based on more actionable insights from the Hi-Fi test. Mute the orange.
3:
Work with engineers, marketers, and artists, to get the product functionally available and build hype around its release.