Feature addition

Playlist Addition to Bandcamp's Mobile App

Year
2021
Role
Product Designer
Project Type
Case Study

Bandcamp is a music distribution company whose main goal is to support musicians by providing them with an online "record store" where they can sell their music and actually see profit.

The Challenge

Discovering and designing for what the user wants from an online music service, while balancing the mission of the company.

Play with the final prototype.

Background

Bandcamp is an online record store that ensures that artists see the majority of profits made from their music. They provide digital streaming and the listener can purchase music and merch directly from the site.

When I decided to add a feature to the Bandcamp App, there were a few initial ideas that I used to create my user interview research script.

The goal was to learn about peoples' streaming habits and from there, determine what feature addition might make someone more likely to choose bandcamp as their primary listening application.

Research

I performed a competitive analysis on Notion of other online music platforms. This helped me see what types of experiences other applications were providing their users.

I then conducted user interviews with 6 music enthusiasts aged 21-35. I organized the findings with an affinity map and made all decisions based on what I had learned.

Empathize with Natalie

Using what I'd learned in my research, I created a persona to help put myself in the users' shoes.

Natalie loves music and supporting the music community. She is motivated by the experience of shows and friendship.

I created a POV statements and HMW questions based on patterns in the research, to create actionable steps from research to understanding the users needs.

The questions above provided the framework for brainstorming.

I decided which features were both do-able and desired by creating a priority matrix, which I used to determine the breadth of this project.

The features that the research showed as important were playlists, sharing music, discover and recommend artists. Bandcamp already makes discoverability a priority.

I then used these features to create stories about how the user would work through these new features. Based on these stories, I created a user flow for the application.

I analyzed the bandcamp app and created a sitemap based on where the playlist feature would be added.

Design

I created some detailed sketches that included sketches of competitors' features, so I could see what worked for the bandcamp app and what didn't. Then I sketched out how each page would look for the new feature.

Below is the initial prototype used in user testing.

Test

I conducted usability tests with 5 participants who were avid music listeners. Each user was asked to complete four tasks within the application while observed over Zoom.

I also created a usability test via Maze, in which 6 users completed the four tasks and extracted insights from that study as well.

The objectives for testing were to discover context, pain points and insights about how users interact with the prototype.

Using the findings from each research method, I created another affinity map to search for patterns that provided insights as to what needed to be adjusted to make the experience as easy for the user as possible.

Iterate

I summarized the patterns that became visible in the affinity map and found that there were some navigation issues found in user testing.

4/5 research participants had trouble finding the playlist feature.  This meant that the feature placement needed to be rethought completely.

For the initial prototype, I decided to move the profile into the bottom navigation and create a separate screen for music collection, wishlists and playlists. I chose this path to keep similar categories together: collection, wishlist and playlists.

The reason this didn't work was because the heart iconography was too ambiguous for the user to know to find all of those categories within it. Users were used to Spotify's pattern of heart = like.

The iconography led to more confusion when adding a song to a playlist. This was due to the inconsistency of the location of playlists (within the heart icon) and the icon to actually add a song to the playlist. For the revision, I opted for an accordion menu with words instead of iconography.

In order to fix both issues, I placed the playlist option in the bottom navigation and moved the profile to a less dominant place on the home screen, the upper right corner. This change would allow the user to become acquainted with both icons and their meanings on the homepage, distinguishing between the two categories right off the bat.

Play with the final prototype below

Next Steps

A/B testing of the iteration to see if the iconography works or if people truly prefer words to icons.

Continue testing the new navigation to ensure that the user understands the iconography.

Fortify the onboarding process to help the user understand how to interact with the application.

Consider moving the messages into the profile category. Users felt it was personal and therefor should be grouped within the profile section.

Reflection

What went wrong and why?

Users found the navigation difficult. Perhaps I should have went back to the drawing board and created another sitemap after I had conferred with others to observe the implications of that decision before moving forward.

What did I learn?

I experienced how non-linear the design process can be. With a complex problem, I was forced to think about the issues in a different way. This way of thinking helped me understand the purpose and importance of deliverables.

I also learned how to work within someone else's design system.