Duration: 1 month

Responsibilities: Rebranding, UX, Research

Team: Individual

Soundcloud

Tools: Figma

Challenges

1.

2.

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Identifying the types of user pathways
What are the most common features used in the app? What makes the company stand out amongst competitors
How to avoid making the app seem busy while still meeting all user needs?

RESEARCH

Competitor Analysis

In order to construct a concise and solid foundation before redesigning Soundcloud, I ventured out to see the current leading music streaming companies and how they compare to Soundcloud. Then, narrowed down the competitor research to focus on their biggest competitor, Spotify and understand why it's deemed as big competition so Soundcloud can capitalize on its competitive advantage. I evaluated several features deemed vital from user surveys and identified which ones Mimic could capitalize on to have a leg up over other applications

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Research Methods

30 participants partook in the user research through the various research methods used during the process to uncover the applications user goals and personas. These are the highlights of the information gathered.

3 types of people who use Soundcloud

80% of participants use Soundcloud at least 5 days a week

100% of participants say the website is much experience than the app

88% of participants say their first Soundcloud experience was difficult

Meet the Users

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Curator
Name: Langston Fong
Age: 28
Content Creator
Name: Steven Smith
Age: 32
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Langston Fong is a curator for Soundcloud who builds playlists for users based on their tastes. From the moment listeners land on their home screen, new playlists are based on their tastes are shown to help them explore the diverse communities that make up SoundCloud. His playlists allow fans to interact with other fans and stay up-to-date on new tracks, emerging creators and more.
Steven Smith is a content creator who produces and records original music and podcasts. He uses the Soundcloud platform to gain exposure of his work at a low cost and build a growing group of dedicated fans in hopes of getting noticed by major producers and music influencers that can take his career to the next level
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Dedicated Fan
Name: Jessica Walker
Age: 19
Passive Listener
Name: Jeremy Stuart
Age: 30
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Jessica Walker is a dedicated Soundcloud user who seeks for the new and upcoming releases. Whether it is from new and young artists that use the Soundcloud platform to gain exposure and build a fan base for their craft or famous artists whose demos aren’t being released on a larger scale, Jessica is dedicated towards her favourite artists.
Jeremy Stuart is a passive listener on Soundcloud. He uses the platform to explore and expand his tastes by listening to featured playlists, stations, and recommended tracks that the application has algorithmically sought out for him based on his previous likings.

Reflection on Personas

Moving forward, instead of catering to the needs of both creators and listeners in a single app, we realized that making SoundCloud accessible for an increasingly mainstream listener audience was a huge undertaking given it’s creator-focused roots, unique content, and unique feature set. We had to find that one clear profile that we were primarily designing for. A solid definition of who was at the core of the product.

We decided to completely focus the project on
listeners with the aim of building dedicated mobile creator experiences down the road. And after years of building features and functionality catering to both creators and listeners — we put the listener in the front seat.

Problems and Imposed Solutions

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Problem 1: ICONS

Problem

Users are able to navigate through the app using the menu bar located on the bottom of the screen. However, new users experienced confusion and a lengthier overall journey through the app as they were forced to juggle between pages to find what was being located. This was a result of the unrecognizable icons used to dictate tasks on the menu bar.

Imposed Solution

Design icons that are universally recognized and are used within other popular music apps. We also will add titles pertaining to each icon so a larger audience can be targeted such as those who wouldn't have been to recognize just the icons alone.

Problem 2: PROFILE

Problem

The profile page provides easy access for the user to their songs, playlists, customized and personalized stuff. However, through user research, it was clear that the profile page was difficult to reach too. Users are taking too many steps to reach to the profile page which overall resulted in frustration and a lengthy unnecessary journey.

Imposed Solution

Design an icon that represents the profile page and place this icon amongst the others on the bottom menu bar. This enables easy and quick access to the users customized and personalized song choices, audios, artists, albums, playlists, etc.
Step 1: Library
Step 2: Your profile
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Step 3: Profile icon
Step 4: Reached Profile
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Problem 3: GENRE TABS

Problem

Users are unable to create a new personalized playlist without finding a song that they want included first.

Imposed Solution

Designed a button that allows users to create a playlist first and then add songs afterwards.
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Problem 4: SEARCH

Problem

The search page is boring and very basic. The page also does not promote discovery which takes away from the Soundcloud authenticity

Imposed Solution

Designed a button that allows users to create a playlist first and then add songs afterwards.
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Information Architecture

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SOLUTION

Low-Fidelity Wireframes

Before moving onto high fidelity wireframes and mocks, I wanted to get a feel for what the core of the app would look like when put in front of me so i designed the low-fidelity wireframes of the rebranded Soundcloud application.
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High-Fidelity Wireframe

The high-fidelity wireframe is interactive!

A simple user journey is outlined to guide the journey of the viewer as they navigate through the interactive prototype

Sign up
Stream
Search
Hip Hop Genre
Go back to previous page
Profile
Create playlists or "Good Vibes"
Feel free to navigate freely, select songs and albums to get a feel of the proposed new experience 

CONCLUSION

Key Takeaways

Throughout the 4 weeks of working on this individual project, I realized the importance of conducting user research in order to properly incorporate user opinions in into redesign choices. Various methods for research were used, however i found the user surveys and interviews were more difficult than expected because I wanted to keep the questions open-ended while also discovering specific information about user interactions. However, sometimes found that I was not getting the answers I was looking for, therefore, be prepared with follow up questions to guide the participants towards the right direction. All in all, this project was challenging and satisfying to bring a new life towards an application which I use often as well, therefore I believe that have me the upper edge here as I am personally attached to this app.

OVERVIEW

Background

SoundCloud is the world’s largest open audio platform, powered by a connected community of creators, listeners and curators on the pulse of what's new, now and next in culture. Founded in 2007, SoundCloud empowers the world’s audio creators with the best tools, services and resources to build and grow their careers. 

As a lover of music and frequent Soundcloud user, I was well aware of the apps user experience, its strengths and its weaknesses, therefore, I challenged myself to rebrand the current Soundcloud mobile app with a user experience that is enjoyable, easy and engaging. 

Problem

Spotify and Apple music have taken over the market of streaming music services. The Soundcloud business is not exercising what is best known for, therefore resulting in a slow downfall. The Soundcloud website provides a seamless user experience while the app differs immensely.

Solution

The Soundcloud app needs to strengthen its loyalty amongst users by exercising its competitive advantage to its full potential. They are best known for qualities that their competitors don't offer, therefore, highlighting them in an enjoyable experience.