Band Lab
An online platform that helps musicians find and evaluate bandmates.

MICA UXD Master’s Program Capstone project


Introduction and my role

This project was developed as part of the graduation requirements for the Maryland Institute College of Art MPS UXD program. Activities and roles included business strategy, product management, UX strategy, primary and secondary research, analysis, UX/UI design, prototyping, user testing, and visual design.

Project timeline: 01/15/22 - 05/05/22. 


Identifying the opportunity

Many musicians want to collaborate with other musicians but lack the network to do so. At the same time, the pandemic has uncovered the potential for remote collaboration:

  1. It expands networks beyond a geographic location, increasing exposure to diverse perspectives.
  2. It exposes artists to a collaborators fan base, and vice versa. 
Larger audiences = greater chance of getting discovered.
  3. It opens doors to further opportunities: more gigs and possible industry contacts.


Problem statement

How might we help musicians who lack in-person networks find 
and evaluate collaborators?


Desk research

Desk research and a competitive analysis were performed to gain a better understanding of the problem area and existing solutions. 


Link to full competitive analysis:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1wEBxqFBsJo89fsomPJFdFDhj8yBfuhemGX-sJpUhVW8/edit?usp=sharing


Services offered by 5 key competitors:



Key findings:
  1. many existing solutions are targeted on specific genres and skillsets. (Soundtrap and Vocalizr)
  2. many existing solutions are targeted to professionals, not amatuers. (Landr and Vocalizr)
  3. there are existing solutions that attempt to solve the same problem for amateurs, but they could be better organizied. (reddit)
  4. many existing solutions require the purchase of proprietary DAW technology. (Avid and Soundtrap)

Opportunity:
While the number of products on the market indicate a general interest in the topic, there is an opportunity to specifically develop an organized database for amatuer and aspiring musicians that helps them develop networks and identify potential collaborators.



Primary research

Information was then gathered about users in 1:1 interviews and a survey. This created a better understanding of their behaviors and helped refine the initial design hypothesis. 

Primary research methods:
  • A total of 5 1:1 user interviews with professional and aspiring music makers.
  • A google survey of 33 aspiring music makers.
Link to Google survey:
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1Ax0SyMfJGc2CvZqeuottpvYrP22HuiiFE1_QMCsoLmk/edit

Analysis and synthesis

Key insights from the interviews and survey were uncovered by breaking down the content into data points and organizing them into an affinity map.  




Analysis and synthesis of the interviews revealed the following key insights:
 
Personas and user flows

Personas and user flows were then developed from the primary research which identified behavioral patterns and consolidated the goals, needs and pain points of the target users.





Storyboarding

To gain a better understanding of the target users experiences, storyboards were crafted that eventually lead to the products touchpoints and features. A range of scenarios were developed, from a broad use case to more granular task-based stories.

From this activity it became clear that a profile page and search tool would be critical in helping users find each other. 







Task flows and mapping the goal

Task flow and user flows were developed to understand the steps a user would need to create a profile page and search for collaborators. 

This process uncovered a new key step in the user journey: once a set of results has been produced from a search, how would users evaluate profiles? And how could the platform help make the evaluation process easier and more efficient for them?  



User flows

A detailed user flow helped dissect the important wants and needs of the users. It connected each user task together and further fleshed out the features of the design solution. It became apparent that the solution would require an onboarding questionnaire which would identify a users tastes, goals and skillsets. The platform could then use these attributes to create a profile and match compatible users via a search.

In total 4 key pages were identified through this process:
    1. Onboarding questionnaire: used to identify a user's personality, goals, taste/vision, skill sets, and technological capabilities.
    2. Profile page: A public facing page created from the questionnaire.
    3. Search page: used to search profiles by genre, goals and skill sets.
    4. Search results page: used by users to evaluate profiles.


Wireflows

Wireflows were developed to further understand the interactions needed for a user to complete the questionaire, create a profile, search for and evaluate other musicans.  
Sketching and ideation

The search for simple and easily navigatable solutions sometimes requires generating many ideas before the best one emerges. Part of this stage involved looking at existing products to find established patterns and frameworks so that users would have an easy time understanding the interfaces. 

 
Soultions, wireframes and user testing

From the wireflows and sketches, wireframes were created that could be used to test ideas. Initial testing indicated that the key features were understood and well received; however, it was discovered that many aspects of the interactions needed improvement and clarification.



nathan.sinclair@gmail.com / ph. 201.286.9132