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SoundCloud Case Study

SoundCloud Case Study


Victoria Leontieva

March 01, 2015

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  1. CASE STUDY Victoria Leontieva

  2. Design Strategy 1 3 2 4 BUILD LEARN LAUNCH IDEA

    My design strategy was inspired by Google Ventures’ design sprint. I tailored it to my own needs, since I didn't have enough time or resources to follow it with precision. I also wanted to add more steps in-between.
  3. 1. Unpack Firstly, I was supposed to “unpack” everything I

    know. In fact, I knew very little, and that made it hard to come up with an informed design decision. I had no access to any internal data whatsoever, so I checked what the Internet had to say about the existing SoundCloud app. I surfed TNW, The Verge, FastCompany, Wired and WSJ for thoughts on general reception, as well as the App Store to collect insights from users.
  4. 1. Unpack: Media “Still, as a creator, I’d love to

    be able to browse my detailed listening stats on the move from an app.” “As nice as the new SoundCloud looks, it's missing several features that today's users have come to expect. The new app has no comments or buttons for seeing who has liked or reposted a song, and no feed of who has recently followed you. There's not even a Repeat button if you want to hear your new jam over and over.” “But while the recording feature may be dead, other missing features will find their way back into SoundCloud's iPhone app once its designers find the most elegant way to include them. Playlist creation, comments, and offline caching are reportedly toward the top of that list.”
  5. 1. Unpack: App Store reviews

  6. 1. Unpack: User flow Next, I mapped the user flow

    of the current iPhone app.
  7. 1. Unpack: User testing I took advantage of Peek’s mini

    user testing and received a bunch of 5-minute videos (about half an hour of footage) of real people using the iPhone app.
  8. 1. Unpack: User testing “There is really nothing that tries

    to help me cater the app to my personal taste. I’ve used other music apps before, where from the very beginning it tries to figure out some of your own personal music tastes and offer you recommendations for them. And this one felt more plain and generic.” Ann “I feel like the first thing that came up first should have been the page of the artist.” Sarah “Sometimes though, you know, I want the regular old song from the artist.” Megan
  9. Next, I broke the data up into digestible pieces. I

    started creating post-it notes with ideas of features and improvements. 1. Unpack: Post-its
  10. Going through my findings, I realised the app is built

    for the listener’s utmost enjoyment. With its beautiful player, it’s supposed to provide a seamless listening experience. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work for everyone. There is no way to queue sounds. There is no offline mode. And although playlists found their way back to the app, there is no option to edit or delete them. Lastly, I feel like the app doesn’t give me a personalised experience. 1. Unpack: Processing
  11. Here’s where the fun began. I started sketching out possible

    solutions on paper. 2. Sketch
  12. At first, I explored the idea of a “queueing” feature.

    But I realised it wouldn’t work without re-architecting a whole bunch of screens. Luckily, I had a plan B. The feedback Ann (one of the testers) gave, resonated with me most. So I decided to go with making the app less generic by adding recommendations to the user onboarding flow. 3. Decide
  13. 4. Prototype Using Marvel app for prototyping, I created a

    basic click-dummy prototype. Forgive me if there are some inconsistencies when you go back and forth between the screens.
  14. Recommendations feature is for first-time users or users with an

    empty Stream. This data will be used for music recommendations only, regardless of the fact that an artist might not have a SoundCloud profile (e.g. Netflix suggestions based on movies that might not be available on the platform). 4. Prototype
  15. 4. Test I decided to go the extra mile and

    verify my assumptions by testing the prototype. I ran a guerrilla usability test with a couple of people in St. Oberholz. With consent forms signed, I recorded 5 videos of people interacting with the prototype.
  16. SoundCloud is a unique audio-streaming platform where listeners can explore

    new sounds and artists can easily share them with listeners. But the app is no longer a place to upload audio files — it’s all about listening. As pretty as it is, it’s missing some of the features users need. I am pretty sure you’re working on these improvements already. In the meantime, I tried to enhance a listening experience by making a music stream more personalised. I believe it can make the app more engaging and thus fit within the goals of the company’s business strategy. Clearly, this is a first take on the idea, and next steps would be to iterate on prototype, test, and repeat. Final thoughts
  17. THANKS All resources are available online.

  18. I’d love to hear from you! killnicole@gmail.com killnicole.github.io twitter.com/killnicole linkedin.com/in/victorianikitina