The AURAL app enables music fans to share their music live with anyone, anywhere. Using Spotify, fans have access to vast libraries of music and their saved playlists as sharing sources.
Since Turntable.fm signed off in 2013, there hasn’t been a replacement that’s captured the audience and ambience of the original music sharing site. AURAL aims to revive this feeling and improve upon previous limitations by using Spotify as a music source and focusing on the core goal of Turntable.fm: live music sharing with friends.
Working with Turntable.fm veterans and other music lovers, I used the UX design process to create AURAL. I started with surveys and interviews to build out personas, and then facilitated card sorts to design the site map and build user flows. These were used to assemble wireframes and a clickable prototype; usability testing was conducted; and a high-fidelity prototype was created.
SURVEYS AND INTERVIEWS
To pinpoint AURAL’s target audience, I conducted a survey asking questions like, “How often do you use digital music sources?”, “Do you like sharing music with others?” and "What music sources have you used in the last month?"
Once I had a few potential users, I did in-depth interviews to uncover what they wanted and expected from this kind of app. These conversations helped confirm that the app should focus on facilitating live, easy music sharing.
How often do you use digital music sources?
Do you like sharing music with others?
What music sources have you used in the last month?
With data collected from the surveys and interviews, I compiled two fictional user personas that helped me keep real potential users top of mind, and, while designing wireframes and prototypes, put into focus how real users would use AURAL.
“Pete Particular” would represent the user who enjoys sharing music and getting feedback on selection, while “Sasha Social” would represent the casual user, preferring to listen to others' choices and enjoying finding new favorite songs for later listening.
To get a sense of the relationships between features and actions in AURAL, I conducted a card sort with 30 cards describing different actions with three potential users. Users organized the cards into piles according to what, for them, were similar actions and then gave a descriptive name to each pile. Seeing how users sorted certain cards into nearly identical piles made clear that there were logical associations between actions.
AURAL’s site map was directly informed by the strong associations between actions seen in the card sort.
To visualize how users would navigate AURAL, I built three user flow diagrams showing the primary user stories that need addressing. These user stories were selected by prioritizing those that helped design AURAL in its current state as a simplified, but core version of the app. Other user stories were saved for future iterations and improvements of the app.
With knowledge gleaned from the user flows, site map, and associations shown by the card sort, I sketched out wireframes. For the first round, I hand-drew the basic layout and design. After reviewing these with peers, I improved upon them with a digital wireframe in Adobe XD.
Following another round of revisions, I used Adobe XD’s prototyping tools to make the wireframe’s interactive. I mapped out the basic interactions and included example assets instead of placeholders to prepare the prototype for future testing.
Easy-to-read Roboto is AURAL’s font throughout and is intended to minimize distractions that might take away from the listening experience.
The monochromatic, purple-dominant color scheme is typically associated with mystery and creativity, fitting the themes of exploration and curation.
Doing user testing unearthed many ways AURAL could be improved. With this knowledge, I reworked the prototype and style guide as needed to address users’ major concerns which included:
Adding access to the “share room” functionality from the home screen
Redesigning and changing the nomenclature of “DJ Queue” and “Your Queue”
Redesigning navigation to address search not being nested within the “Your Queue” screen
Overall, the best feedback was that, despite minor navigation issues, all users expressed an interest in using the product. This means AURAL successfully addresses a desire that music fans have: to share digital music live.