As the world’s leading social sound platform where people can create and share sounds, SoundCloud wants to expand the way users interactively share music.
SoundCloud would like to create a feature that allows users to collaborate online, DJing their select tracks with other users in real time.
Out of 10 streaming services, the collaborative playlist feature is only available on
Spotify via the desktop website only. Through user research we found that over 90%
of users had no idea that the collaborative playlist even existed.
Screener surveys, multiple interviews and user testing helped to inform us of
our personas and our decision on how to approach the collaborative playlist.
A screener survey was conducted to qualify potential users. We were looking for specific users, ones who listen to music, streaming music, who are DJs (amateur or professional). 84 responses were received providing answers to important questions relating to SoundCloud’s fundamental features. From those reponses we conducted 13 intervies. The interviews are an important aspect in the research process to gain detailed understanding of what we learned from the survey responses and thought process of potential users. We asked them questions such as “What does DJing mean to you?” “How often do you make playlists” “Do you share your playlists?” “Do you make playlists with others?”
Following the user interviews we gathered all of the data and created an Affinity Diagram. To determine who the main users were, either DJ, or general music listener, if they liked to combine playlists by collaboration or not, and if they wanted to do it live, we separated the map into four sections. (LIVE, PREDETERMINED, DOES NOT WANT TO COLLABORATE, WANTS TO COLLABORATE)
The results were conclusive, DJs have no interest in collaborating live/real time. We were able to validate that, that feature was unnecessary for SoundCloud to move ahead with, however, the average person or amatur DJ would be interested in that as a party type feature. Most people felt that music was usually very personal or private, and if they did share their music it was with friends in a living room or through social media.
We were able to organize our findings into 70 different data points such as motivations for making playlists, streaming music services they use for making playlists, how they like to collaborate, challenges/pain points, and pleasures.
PERSONA CREATION/USER FLOW
After interviewing the participants extensively, we looked for trends, motivations, habits and pain points to develop our two personas.
Brendan is our "Power User" persona. He's a playlist pro and loves to make playlists with friends while on the go.
Luke is our semi-professional DJ. He doesn't mind collaborating or taking requests but wants full control.
An extensive user flow was created to aid in mapping out the pages that need to be created within the website and app.
It also shows the content that needs to be created on each page and the decisions the user will have to make.
The flow demonstrates how Luke create’s his party playlists, set’s his party playlist settings and then how he would invite friends. Generally the Playlist will be created from a desktop/laptop computer prior to the start of the party as DJ’s as we found out from our user interviews. Then he will provide a link to various party goers and they will accept the invitation, join the playlist and contribute to the list via mobile device.
FEATURE PRIORITIZATION & MVP
Based on the pain points and needs of Brendan and Luke, we began brainstorming for the features that would best fit them. We came up with over 50 features that addressed Luke and Brendan’s needs and pain points, but we decided to focus on these Top 6 MVP (Minimum Viable Product) Features.
Collaborative playlist feature as a way to make playlists with friend’s, discover new music and contribute to playlists (MVP).
Integrating existing search (predictive search, find from likes, find from playlists) into our new feature (MVP).
“Like” icon next to each track indicating the number of likes, so Luke can gauge the popularity of tracks and validate Brendan’s music tastes (MVP.)
Duplicate track detection (MVP).
Party playlist collaboration is invite only for now, so that Luke can determine who he allows to add tracks (MVP).
Specify a cap on the number of tracks someone can contribute, as a way to handle audience requests (MVP).
A user journey was and scenario was created to illustrate the creation of a collaborative party playlist from the perspective of Luke and Brendan using the SoundCloud website and adding music using the SoundCloud app. Within each step, we indicated the design heuristics, plus the pains and needs of our personas.
If I had more time, the next steps would be to work on the desktop and integrate it with the updated
feature within the app. Test out the desktop and begin iterating. I would also work on the other features
that weren’t a high priority and would take longer for the development team to build.