In an effort to increase user voting engagements & social shares, Music Meets Video (MMV) contacted me to audit & refresh both their platform and mobile experience. The project included multiple design phases: Research, Strategy, Design & Validation, and Detailed Design.
MMV, at its core, is a promotional platform for rising musicians to engage and connect with their fans. They host sponsored music video contests where artists compete head to head, and users vote on their favorite videos to determine the winners.
"Understanding the Challenge"
“[The responsibility of the designer] is to step out of their own perspective, to really exercise their empathy and really completely immerse themselves in the point of view, and the psychological state, of the person who will be using the product.”
― Jesse James Garrett (Co-Founder of Adaptive Path)
The project officially kicked-off with a series of in-depth interviews between the MMV Leadership & Product team, and seven MMV users. After conducting the initial Stakeholder interviews I was able to better understand where the team saw areas of challenge and opportunity.
The user interviews consisted of a group of seven users: three musicians who had previously submitted videos to the platform, and four more casual voting users. The interviews uncovered many valuable insights, some of the most inspiring being:
Users, artists, and Stakeholders alike thought the voting environment was too arduous and convoluted. Interviews and analytics uncovered many users quit the engagement before finishing the contest.
Users and artists both felt a sense of detachment from each other and wanted better means to engage with one another. One user described MMV’s Artist/Fan interaction abilities as “trying to have a conversation with someone on the other side of a one-way mirror.”
From there, I drafted Persona Profiles based on the interviews and MMV analytics to help facilitate a deeper sense of empathy around the motivations, desires, and aspirations of the different Music Meets Video users.
I began to refer to our personas by name when speaking to the MMV team to foster this same level empathy for the user and help drive consensus moving forward. Our conversations changed from ‘I feel a user would like...’ to ‘this is what Jessica needs.’
"Solving the Right Problems"
“Design strategy is about serving people… The real challenge is in trying to solve the human problem. It’s about understanding their needs, their aspirations, and then meeting them in some way.”
― Chris Hosmer (Co-Founder of Aetheris)
I mapped out each of the individual personas' user flows to better understand MMV’s architecture. After analyzing each user flow, the redundancies and other areas of challenge were made clear and presented to the MMV team. These personas’ motivations became use cases, their frustrations recontextualized as areas of opportunity, and their desires and aspirations led to informed feature sets and areas of focus.
In order to gain more understanding and to avoid others’ pitfalls and failures, I began to seek insight from Music Meets Video’s competition; both direct and indirect. Analyzing each company based on the needs and desires of each persona, patterns in user flow, interaction standards, and pain-points became increasingly clear to the MMV team and myself.
"Building a Better Experience"
“Behavior comes first. Always. The quirky, the obscure, the vain, the annoying, the wonderful. We need to observe human behavior if we are to support it in design.”
― Joshua Porter (Director of UX at HubSpot)
Focusing on the critical user paths, I conducted several iterations of rapid prototyping/wireframing with lean user validation after each round. Each round varied in fidelity and participants were given simple tasks to complete while I observed, took notes, and dug deeper into the “why’s” of each interviewees pain-points and delights. Insights gathered from each user testing session were synthesized and used to make informed design decisions for the next iteration.
"Designing for Delight"
“Without aesthetic, design is either the humdrum repetition of familiar clichés or a wild scramble for novelty. Without the aesthetic, the computer is but a mindless speed machine, producing effects without substance. Form without relevant content, or content without meaningful form.”
― Paul Rand
After completing the Design & Validation phase of the project, the MMV team tasked me with crafting a modern, sleek, and captivating User Interface that resonates with their user base and showcased the company as forward-focused, and a serious contender in the music promotion market.
Designed to be striking, bold, and energizing, the new visual direction firmly establishes MMV as the marketing space for independent and established artists to attract new followers and engage with their existing fan base in a unique and creative way.