Coming from a family of professional dancers, I decided to tackle a problem they experience.
|Initial Assumption||Dancers have a hard time connecting with each other|
|Magical Solution||A social platform|
I discovered that dancers do not have this problem after conducting a few user interviews, as Facebook and Instagram already covered that.
Professional dancers expend time and effort into rehearsals.
I wanted the solution to be a painkiller and not a vitamin like social media. A painkiller is what dancers will reach out for when they are stressed. The 2 major pain points I discovered from careful observation of rehearsals was:
- Disruption of rehearsal flow to interact with music player.
- Time spent rehearsing sections of tracks that are difficult to master.
Users & Audience
The target users of Tempo are professional dancers who take part in focused rehearsals. They are heavy users of Spotify, Youtube and Apple Music, ideally they will prefer something that feels similar to those experiences, and heavily mobile focused.
I coordinated and led all design processes, this includes: user research, competitive analysis, user flows, information architecture, user task flows, interaction, visual, branding, product and prototyping. I engaged in interviews, focus groups and observations in order to address user behaviours and practices.
I began by conducting 10 user interviews with participants ranging between 20 and 60 years of age. The questions were focused around general pain points that dancers had:
- What is your day like?
- What technology do you use throughout the day?
- What tech do you use while dancing?
- What websites or apps do you use for dance?
- Where do you go to find events, updates?
- What are your challenges as a dancer?
- How do you meet other dancers in your community?
- How do you initiate collaborations?
- How do you decide someone is a good dancer?
Their problems varied between coordinating practices and perfecting movements/expressions. To understand further, I spent 2 days shadowing dancers in their regular activities. The highest observed stress level was during rehearsals. I wanted to take a closer look by assembling target users and observing their rehearsal strategy.
As most performers are extremely busy, they try to maximize their rehearsal time together. They want to improve the overall quality of performance.
During rehearsals, steps are taught and learned in blocks, this is the best way that dancers absorb the routine. Challenging sections of a song may be learned at a slower pace. Professional performers will rehearse this part repetitively to perfection.
Majority of dancers use Spotify and Youtube to play their music during rehearsals.
A significant time waste factor was when the instructor had to stop the dance practice to interact with the music player.
Based on the user research, I created my user personas.
I focused on creating an MVP that would help dancers with these 2 problems.
A lot of people have turned to Siri, Google Home and Alexa to reduce their physical interactions. These existing technologies are unable to connect to your personal music playlists and cue them on request. So this made me think about using voice commands to cue tracks on a music player.
In order to address routine rehearsals, I considered using markers to tag sections of a track to allow users to break their music into sections.
I looked into several rehearsal and music assistant apps, such as Go Music+, Deezer, Spotify and analysed the customer reviews. One that stood out was Soundhound. I used this app for 2 months to understand the interface and user experience. There was no onboarding process, and the interface can be very confusing for someone who isn’t tech savvy. However a lot of customers liked the ability to connect to their spotify list from soundhound. Most of these apps had tool tips, which were very helpful for the users, so I made sure to implement that for Tempo.
I mapped out the user flows based on the data collected. During this time, I had some prospective users go through the flow to identify any loopholes or missing parts that I could incorporate into the design.
Some users didn’t understand the concept of Tempo syncing tracks from Spotify. I decided to make the request for access more clearly in the manner of a notification. Users above the age of 50 didn’t understanding the marker tool, so this was introduced earlier during onboarding to address that concern.
Based on the user flows, I constructed the information architecture and paper prototypes to ensure there was minimum difficulty to access playlists, tracks, etc.
As I began to explore the user interface and visual design, I used a variety of media such as pen and paper, Sketch and Illustrator in order have rapid iterations on a wide variety of ideas. It was important that this app will remain familiar enough to users.
Dance + Music
I was already familiar that “Tempo” is a term used in both, which reminds someone of keeping up with the rhythm.
However, the logo was a challenge. I was trying to keep it close to the brand and not make it too detailed. It should be something people will easily remember and relate to, similar to Sony and Spotify.
User Interface Design
The objective of the interface was to keep the app unique, sleek with a similarity to music players. This was accomplished through use of thin strokes, vibrant gradients, and retro icons.
The background is a dark blue/grey gradient, which stays consistent. This was complemented by a neon light green/blue/yellow gradient, which appears on the music player and accents (icons, library). My inspiration for colours came from a concert I attended.
I chose the font Montserrat, which is close to Spotify’s font-set to maintain the familiarity.
The navigation between the primary screens uses a left/right swipe and tap interaction, which is very similar to apps such as Spotify and Youtube. The colours and iconography set a youthful, vibrant tone.
It’s pleasant for users to eliminate creating another app account, hence they’re given the option of signing up with facebook or email.
Users can easily move from the player screen in to the marker tool, to mark their tracks. Using the tap gesture, they can section the track for rehearsals, which auto-saves and replays upon request.
While the app is yet to be developed, it was well received with prospective users. They appreciated the interface and the onboarding, which gave them more comfort with the app. I learned that user research and feedback is best to receive earlier in the project as it really helps the overall flow and increases confidence in the solution.
- I first had 3 features on the bottom navigation bar. However, it seemed redundant and confusing to have a separate player and marker tab. It would make more sense to access the marker tool while the track is playing. This was minimized to to 2 icons.
- The marker tool was originally meant to be a splice. Discussing with my mentor (Ahmad), I later understood that with a splice tool, the problem of organizing splices would arise. Hence, I used inspiration from an app, Traktr, and decided on a marker tool that will allow the users to cue their music
- Integration of Siri’s API into the voice recognition part of Tempo.
- Countdown and having the app respond to dancer, similar to how a choreographer uses cues.