Soundcloud Collaboration Room

Soundcloud are the world’s leading social sound platform where people can create and share sounds. 
This project was completed during my time at General Assembly.


Overview

Client

Soundcloud are the world’s leading social sound platform where people can create and share sounds. Every month Soundcloud has 175 million unique monthly listeners and 12 hours worth of audio is uploaded every minute. 

Brief

Create a feature that allows users to collaborate online, DJing their select tracks with other users in real time. 

Challenge

This feature will work with an responsive website design that works well with iPad and/or iPhone and allows users to do the following:

  • DJs should be able to select tracks and take turns playing songs
  • DJs should be able to capture and share their DJ sets
  • Listeners should be able to join rooms and listen to live DJ sets
Team
Testing

Team

The team consisted of four people: Cherell Lynes, Gen Chow, Zhenjie Cai and myself as team lead.

We adopted an agile UX process over the course of the two week project. This method allowed us to carry out efficient and effective research to identify problems, understand potential solutions, test with users and design our final proposal.

Skills

Competitive Analysis, Survey, Task Analysis, User Flows, Site Map, User Interviews, Contextual Inquiry, Persona creation, Scenarios, Sketches, Wireframes, User Testing, Prototyping.

Tools

Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop & InDesign; OmniGraffle and Marvel.

Platform

Desktop, iPad and iPhone.


Research

contextual inquiry.jpg

Contextual Inquiry and User Interviews

To get a better understanding of how DJs currently work and collaborate together we interviewing many different types of DJs from semi-professionals to bedroom enthusiasts from London to New York through video calls or face-to-face. We also did a contextual inquiry where we watched a DJ use his own equipment and witnessed his normal routine of putting together a track or set. 

Ideally I’d like something like Google docs, where you could work on the same thing at the same time and be able to see what they’re doing.
— Bill, DJ

Survey

We conducted a survey to see what trends in DJ & Listeners habits we could identify.

Music Fans
2/3 of respondents said they would listen to live music online in real time.

Main issues with attending live shows in person were:

  • Expensive tickets
  • Physically uncomfortable
  • Ticket availability
  • Logistics 

DJs
We found that DJs were very open to the idea of online collaboration in real time as the top three problem areas for live collaborations were travel constraints (over 2/3), not enough time and finding a venue.

Would DJs consider collaborating online?

Would Music Fans listen to live music in real time online?

Persona Creation

We created three different personas from our research to act as representatives of our target users. We kept these personas in mind throughout all the other stages of the project so we always knew who we were designing for. 

Gabriella (Social Butterfly)

Jaz (Merry Maker)

Gabriella
Jaz
I want to relive Ibiza with the girls
Quality practice space is increasingly hard to come by

Steve (Aspiring DJ) 

Steve

Behaviour

  • Busy single parent
  • Very into his music
  • Wants to pursue music as a career opportunity

 

Goals

  • Wants to learn more about DJing in his spare time and develop his skills
  • Share his music and get a wider audience
  • Get some constructive feedback

 

Desired features

I like to learn tips and tricks from watching other DJs
  • Be able to communicate collaborators techniques
  • Platform for audiences to view him working and past work
  • Get in contact with other DJs — feedback from both viewers and professionals

Scenario

Steve has just put the kids to bed and wants to spend time on his music project, he wants to go online to learn some new skills and goes to see how his favourite DJ Nico Kass, has developed his latest set.

Steve's User Journey

Steve old user journey

affinity map

Prioritisation of Key Features

  • Communication between DJs
  • Visual / Video
  • Collaboration rooms
  • Notify when online
  • Schedule 

Sketching and Prototyping

We ran many design studio sprints where we invited different users of the service both DJs and Listeners as well as our design team to generate ideas for the features that we had already identified as the most important. We then tested these preliminary designs using paper prototypes.

Design Studios

Design Studios

Sketches 

Sketches 

Testing paper prototypes

Testing paper prototypes


Digital Wireframes

After testing with paper prototypes, we then created digital wireframes and continued to test and produce different iterations based on the user feedback.

Menu page of Collaborate feature

Menu page of Collaborate feature

Inviting DJ to collaborate 

Inviting DJ to collaborate 

DJ's view of 2 screens showing the other DJ they are collaborating with and their set up

DJ's view of 2 screens showing the other DJ they are collaborating with and their set up

Listener's view of 4 screens showing the 2 DJs and their set up

Listener's view of 4 screens showing the 2 DJs and their set up


High Fidelity Mockup Prototype

We kept the visual design very much intact with the current branding of Soundcloud to ensure it is not disruptive to the current platform but actually works as an added feature to enhance it’s enabling.


Key Findings

Steve's new journey

Steve's new journey

Communication was the most important issue for the DJs. They needed to be able to see and hear what the other DJ was doing at all times. And also user's like Steve can pick up new skills and further their DJing career. 

In potential future steps, it would be ideal for Soundcloud to start to work with one of the software companies to produce their own mixing platform. Users are very precious about their own set-up so they are very reluctant to change their habits but the promise of exposure that Soundcloud be very beneficial as all the DJs already use it.