Social Music Sharing Innovation

The task was to investigate the ways that people relate to music and each other, and use those findings to design a mobile product that changes the way people listen to digital music as well as addressing pain points that current products do not solve.


Research consisted of five face-to-face interviews with target users, as well as a survey placed on social media channels and music application online communities. Both the interview and survey questions were designed to elicit rich qualitative data. This allowed me to identify frustrations, delightful moments and goals when using streaming music services as well as an understanding of their emotional state . The research also helped me to narrow my focus to the specific type of persona I would be targeting.



One of the biggest frustrations is that friends use different services so you can’t share music directly with them


Almost all users share music by using the share feature on the app they are using then choosing a messenger app such as WhatsApp or FB messenger to share


People use music to get them in the mood for an event or play music based on their mood at the time


People feel rewarded when their friends like the music they have shared. They also feel ashamed if people don’t like their music


Users would like to be able to interact and comment on songs real-time and be able to see friend’s comments or reactions


People would find it interesting and valuable to be able to see what friends are listening to real time as well as get friends top playlists for the month


Users are frustrated when they can’t find a song on their music service. E.g. Apple Music tends to have only established artists


People want the ability to share any playlist from any platform easily with anyone while having control


People would like to be able to share music and interact using voice


Music is extremely important to set a particular mood, enhance a mood, energise, concentrate, relax, be creative, socialize

People like to get praise and recognition for sharing good music whether online or while at a social gathering

People are fearful of being ridiculed because of music taste

People have become accustomed to sharing a link to a playlist because everyone uses a different service

People are inherently lazy when it comes to finding new music. They want it delivered on a plate without having to sift through rubbish


Competitor analysis was conducted on multiple music streaming services to identify popular features and trends, and gather customer sentiment on a features and frustrations

The findings from user research allowed me to build a persona of the target audience. This process helped me to create a cohesive, empathetic view of the user and to gain insights into their emotional state when listening to, sharing and finding music.



Based on research I identified the key features that would solve the users' frustrations and improve their experience while travelling

platform agnostic sharing

The ability to share any music from any platform easily with anyone


Ability to create "hub's" of people that like the same genre of music and ability to share and talk about a specific genre


The capability to allow friends to contribute to a playlist that will be played during a “jam” session


Suggest party tunes to a group of friends going to the same party/event on FB or other social media app


Capability to see who is listening to what song in real time and also what songs were listened to most in a week/month


Real-time interaction such as commenting on songs and seeing history of comments by friends


Interaction with the music app using voice commands


Have the ability to Shazam a song then have it automatically added to a playlist in your music service


The ability to create a “jam” which is a digital event on the app where friends can listen to the same playlist in real-time

A technique called Crazy Eights was used to sketch as many ideas as possible. After multiple iterations the best ideas were used to create a storyboard to map out a scenario that a user would experience. This helped to narrow down ideas to a defined piece that would be solved as part of this project.



Firstly, Ryan Singer’s short-hand method for designing UI flows was used to get thoughts onto paper quickly. This technique is really fast, and it communicates the essentials of what needs to happen as I’m imagining it. Above the bar is what the user sees. Below the bar is what they do. An arrow connects the user’s action to a new screen with yet another action.

Next, a detailed user flow was created based on the storyboard that had been sketched out. This helped to visualise the flow and identify the interactions, decisions and screens needed before building wireframes.


Based on the storyboard and user flow, wireframes of key screens were built


The application map merges wireframes and user flows to create an artefact that mixes readable screens with flows and user actions and screen interactions

Wireframes were turned into an interactive prototype using InVision to be used for user testing. The prototype covers the use case explored in the user flows.

The prototype was tested with six users matching the target persona of music lovers. The goal of the testing was to identify usability issues, validate assumptions and ensure the design allowed users to achieve their goals quickly and easily.

The data was organised and categorised by participant, comment type and part of the process where the issue or comment occurred. Thorough analysis of the qualitative data was conducted allowing themes to emerge. The themes were used to inform the subsequent design iteration.


“I like the simplicity of the home page. The friend activity feed with likes and comments is great too”

“How do I navigate back to the main jam page?”

“I wouldn't be comfortable for just anyone to add songs to my playlist. Could we add permissions to jams and playlists where I could accept or reject songs?”

"It would be great to be able to see previous jams. Kind of like a jam history where I can go back and see what happened"

“There is a different icon for jams and add to jams. This is confusing - I would keep them the same”

“On the activity feed it's difficult to see the difference between likes, comments and shares. It would help to have icons to help differentiate"

"It would be great to be able to filter the activity by hub (group of friends)"

"The right-hand menu doesn't work for me. Is there another way you can get to the different parts of the jam section?"

The feedback from user testing was used to inform the design of high fidelity mockups showcasing key screens in the user flow.


The most important finding emerging from user research was that people use many different apps and services to find, share and listen to music. The ability to share and collaborate is hindered by this. It was based on this pain point that the idea for a plugin that integrates with all the major music apps to allow easy sharing no matter what platform you use.

In terms of process, the massive value of user testing throughout the process was evident. Even though concepts were vigorously tested and assumptions validated with users, there were many instances where users did not understand interactions and got stuck using the prototype. Changes become 10x more expensive as you move through the software development lifecycle. The more issues you identify early on in the process the better off you will be.

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