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Shazam Redesign

Role: Project Planning Lead | UX Designer

Timeframe: 3 weeks

Industry: Music Recognition Mobile App

Tools: Figma, Zoom, Slack

Project Overview

This is my case study on how I led a design team to build solutions that allow users to save time, share music cross-platforms, and increase their overall engagement with Shazam.

 

We created an online community for deeper connections, and easy access to their music playlists as they discover new songs.

The Topic

Introduction to        

21

Years

Billion Song Recognitions

Million Monthly Users

Since 2002, Shazam has used its unique technology of audio fingerprinting to identify songs and artists. There have been over 2 billion lifetime installs world-wide. In 2018, Apple acquired Shazam.

Shazam’s mission statement:

To help people recognize and engage with the world around them

The Challenge

The Project Goal

Shazam was created to be a musical search engine that utilizes audio fingerprint for identification purposes. However, a typical Shazam user uses the app for less than 30 seconds before leaving the app. The typical user will switch to their streaming platform to collect or listen to the song.

Our project goal was to increase the amount of time users spend on the Shazam app by finding new ways for Shazam users to connect to their music.

The Role I Played

Project Planning Lead

As the Project Planning Lead, it was my responsibility to create the project timeline and ensure all deadlines were met within our tight 3-week time frame. I facilitated all discussions through Slack and Zoom and delegated tasks based on interests & strengths to maximize our team efforts. I implemented project planning techniques such as a Gantt chart and daily stand-ups. When certain phases of our design process took longer than expected, I readjusted the timeline to make sure all deliverables would be completed on time. I collaborated with a Research Lead, an Interaction Lead and a Documentation Lead.

The Project Plan

Working Agreement and Timeline

As the Planning Lead, it was important to orient the team and set the groundwork. Our working agreement including personal goals, team communication plan, decision making protocols and a project timeline.

The Constraints

Technology Difficulties

Communicating over Zoom and Slack had its challenges at times. Internet connection is fickle - there were a few times technology slowed us down. Another technological constraint was the fact that only half of our team had access to an iPhone. Our target population was for iPhone users with a paid subscription to Apple Music. Only one out of four of our team members met that requirement. This added another layer of challenges because we had to discover work-arounds to visually communicate with each other by sending screenshots or video-record the screen. 

The Research

Heuristic Evaluation

We conducted a heuristic evaluation to understand Shazam in its current state. We discovered that there are some inefficiencies that could impact a user’s satisfaction.

  1. Shazam creates only one playlist of a user’s entire history of Shazams

  2. Users are only able to share a single song at a time

  3. Users are required to pick one streaming platform (cannot be signed into both)

Competitive Analysis

Screenshot 2023-08-17 at 8.49.54 AM.png

We looked at other music industry companies to find opportunities for Shazam. 

  • We learned that all four competitors offered opportunities to curate the user’s listening experience. Users were getting a musical experience of personalized recommended music.

  • Three out of four competitors allowed interaction with others through the platform. Users were able to share and collaborate with their loved ones. iHeartRadio allowed users to see what their favorite artists were listening to.

All of these competitors were using their platforms to create an experience for users and connect them to their music.

 

The comparators we looked at were: Facebook Memories, Google Photos, Pinterest and Instagram to look at sharing capabilities. We noticed that these companies allow users to share items in multiple formats and customize who a user sends it to. 

User Interviews

We talked to 12 Shazam users to understand their relationship with music. 

  • We found that music brings people together.

  • We found that users can connect with strangers through music. 

  • Users seek connection with loved ones as motivation for sharing music. 

  • We found that users don't have a lot of time to organize their music. 

“Music is a communal experience.”

User Interview Quote #1

“I feel like I can relate to people who listen to the same music as me.” 

User Interview Quote #2

“I share music with my friends and family to let them know I am thinking about them.” 

User Interview Quote #3

“I used to organize my music, but now it’s too time-consuming.”

User Interview Quote #4

Affinity Map

We utilized an affinity map to help us discover themes in our research. We created “I” statements as representations of our themes to guide our understanding of users’ motivations, needs, and pain points.

1. I view music as my inspiration and a way to connect with others
2. I don’t want to spend a lot of time organizing my playlist
3. I like having options to adjust my playlists, even if it’s generated by the application
4. I like to engage with others in the online music community.

The Users

Primary & Secondary Personas

Both Amanda & Michael frequently share music with the same group of people and are looking for easier categorization. However, they differ on their method of organizing, Shazam use frequency and motivations for categorization.

zumba.jpg

"I view music as my inspiration and a way to connect with others."

Needs

Behaviors

Frustrations

  • Needs to be able to categorize new songs for her class

  • Needs to share multiple songs at once to her students

  • Switches to Apple Music to sort music into playlist

  • Creates a playlist through Apple Music to share multiple songs at the same time

  • Shazam only offers one “My Shazams” playlist sorted by recency

  • Shazam only allows sharing of one song at a time

Amanda, 27

Dance Teacher in San Francisco

michael_edited.png

"I'm overwhelmed at the thought of organizing my musical library."

Frustrations

Behaviors

Needs

  • Needs an easier way to be able to add new songs into his Liked Songs Playlist

  • Needs an easier way to categorize songs to create his band’s setlists

  • Manually adds to his Liked Song playlist in Spotify

  • Has one “liked songs” playlist that he shuffles through

  • Additional steps required to complete this task through another app

  • Too time consuming to organize his music library

Data Analyst in Boston

Michael, 44

User Journey Map

We created a journey map to help us build empathy for our user and identify where the problem exists.

 

  1. Amanda cannot customize a playlist in Shazam

    • Amanda is frustrated that it takes additional time to switch to her Apple Music and she must remember to sort the song at a later time.

  2. Amanda has difficulty sharing with non-Apple Music listeners.

    • Amanda is frustrated because she wants to connect with all of her students and share songs for them to practice at home.

The Key Findings

Discovered Insights

  • Users were seeking connection with others through music

  • Users want ways to find and access songs quickly

  • Users want to share the excitement of new music with others

The Problem

Problem Statement

We synthesized our research into a single statement to align our team and focus our efforts on a specific problem. 

Amanda, a private dance instructor, needs an efficient way to sort a song she just discovered because she wants to curate and share new music with her students to keep her classes interesting. 

If she doesn’t have an easy way to curate and share her music on Shazam, then she will only use Shazam for less than 30 seconds for song recognition and then leave the app altogether.

The Brainstorm

How Might We's

We began to ideate multiple solutions through How Might We statements. 

  • How might we make Shazam more interactive so that users could share their excitement when they discover new music?

  • How might we explore ways to maximize the current connectivity with their streaming platforms?

  • How might we allow users to save time so they could focus on the things that are important to them?

The Solution

Features

We found an opportunity for Shazam to connect more people to the world around them. We focused on two features to improve a user’s enjoyment when discovering and sharing new music.

Improved connectivity between Apple Music and Shazam


With this feature, users save time and have easier access to music since they will be able to immediately categorize their new songs into a playlist

 

Currently, Shazam exports information into Apple Music, but the connection is not visualized both ways. This provides frustration as it takes more time to categorize music


 

Community feature

within Shazam


With this feature, Shazam will provide more opportunities to connect with people by acting as the bridge between streaming platforms and allow users to share music cross-platforms

 

Currently, Shazam users are required to sign into one streaming platform at a time. If a user is signed into Apple Music, they need to disconnect in order to sign into their Spotify account. This provides frustration for users to share cross-platforms

Userflows

We created two user flows to visually represent a user’s decisions and actions while using our Shazam features.

The first flow is for discovering a song and categorizing it into a synced Apple Music playlist. By syncing, Amanda can customize playlists within Shazam and access the changes in Shazam or in her Apple Music.

The second user flow is for sharing music with others. We took into consideration the many variables of Amanda wanting to share with a single student or multiple students, as well as a single song or multiple songs.

Wireframes

We spent individual time sketching designs and decided as a group what specific affordances and signifiers we wanted to use. We turned those into digital wireframes to visualize the page layout.

 

We focused on a mobile app since Amanda is typically on-the-go when she discovers new music and focused on an iPhone because of Apple’s affiliation with Shazam. We built our prototype to follow Apple iOS and the current Shazam user interface so that users would be familiar with the gestures, affordances and signifiers for easier navigation.

The Test

Usability Test Plan & Findings

We conducted a moderated usability test of our initial prototype as a learning opportunity. We wanted to learn more about our users’ thought process as they navigate the affordances of these new features.

 

Scenario:
The users were asked to imagine themselves as a dance teacher who wanted to add a newly discovered song to her playlists. She also wanted to create a playlist and reorder the songs in the playlist before sharing the playlist with her students. 

Discoveries:

  1. We discovered that 3 out of 4 users had difficulty adding songs to their playlists. 

  2. We also discovered that 3 out of 4 users had difficulty reordering the songs in a playlist and required multiple attempts to find the function.

Original Design: A counter that increases as a user clicks on a new song. Our idea was that it would notify the user how many songs are added to the playlist and then the user could click “Save” when done adding songs. 

 

Test Result: Users attempted to click on the “Add to Playlist” counter as a button. One user said, “Why would it be big and blue if I can’t click it?” 

 

New Design: We redesigned our UI so that the counter became the button and removed the “Save” link.

Adding Songs to Playlists


 

Original Design: An “Edit Playlist” function in a kebab playlist menu. We thought that this would make the UI looked consistent with iOS and intuitive to find. 

 

Test Result: Users attempted to hold & drag the song directly or utilized the song kebab menu. One user said, “It kind of seems like there’s extra clicks.”

 

New Design: We redesigned our UI to add a pencil icon near the title of the playlist as a signifier for easier edit access.

Editing the Playlist

The Lessons Learned

Main Takeaways

Overall, this project was a success as we were able to bring efficiency, customization and enjoyment back to the user so that the user can connect with their music & the world around them. The project provided a great learning opportunity for me to apply the design process and lead a design team. Collaboration is a gift - every team member brings a different perspective and different strengths to the project. The goal of the Planning Lead is to discover those strengths to maximize team efforts in order to meet tight deadlines. I learned how to navigate different communication styles in a team setting and how to provide space for each voice to be heard. I learned how to facilitate discussions regarding design decisions and learned the importance of articulating the rationale behind those decisions to ensure all team members are on the same page. These valuable lessons will be carried with me going forward. 

The Next Steps

Android Development & Further Research

We would like to develop the app to address Shazam’s entire user base by developing an Android friendly app and linking to other streaming services (i.e. Spotify). We would also need to work with developers to see if this is feasible and how to account for technological changes (i.e. phone version upgrades).

We would also like to dive further into researching other topics such as music & memory and gamification to find ways to keep the new Community feature of Shazam interactive and allow users to form deeper community, making them want to return.

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