A week-long UX design challenge for SoundCloud
I first reached out to SoundCloud users of different ages and backgrounds with an online survey. With over 30 responses, I was able to get a better understanding of their experience using the mobile app. Here are the results.
Identify a user need on the SoundCloud iOS app. Critique how well the app currently addresses this, and then design an experience that fulfills this user need.
After seeing the survey results, I was able to have more in-depth conversations with users. Here are some highlights:
“It’s easier to discover new artists on the computer. I usually use SoundCloud on my phone for passive listening, like when doing work, cooking, or exercising."
– Anna, 22
“When I want to discover new music, I find an artist I follow and look at who they follow, since I know I like their taste in music already. On mobile I can’t see who I or anyone else is following.”
– Jake, 29
“When I use SoundCloud on my phone, it’s usually to play music that I’ve already listened to and saved on the desktop version."
– Andrew, 17
Persona: Meet Akira
After collecting data and conducting interviews, I felt confident in my understanding of the typical SoundCloud user. Akira is a recent college graduate, and music lover. He loves using SoundCloud because he enjoys discovering new and lesser-known artists. Often on-the-go, Akira frequently uses the SoundCloud mobile app for convenience. However, when looking for new music, he finds the desktop version much more helpful.
How Does The Current App Serve This Need?
To assess how well the current iOS app serves artist discovery, I critiqued a handful of it's most prominent features: Trending Music, All Music, Stations, Stream, and Search. Here are some of my findings:
Users are most excited about using SoundCloud to discover new artists. However, they feel limited in their ability to do so when using the mobile app. Users need an easy experience for discovering new artists on the SoundCloud mobile app.
Discover is a feature that adds a method of artist discovery to the Search page. In addition to the existing search function, the page presents the user with artists that people they follow are following. The concepts of looking for artists and discovering new artists go hand in hand, and the personalized recommendations make Discover an appealing feature for the typical SoundCloud user.
An important part of Discover, is giving users the ability to browse from one of the suggested artists to another. I focused on making this interaction as simple and intuitive as possible. After experimenting and user-testing the different possible solutions, I chose the Carousel Card Solution for the final product.
I studied SoundCloud’s current mobile design, so I could create an interface that fits in seamlessly with the app. I paid close attention to layout, color, typography, and icons.
The SoundCloud Discover feature fits right into the apps existing search page. Users are presented with new artists that the people they follow are following. Users can browse through the artists and discover new favorites.