SoundCloud is an online music distribution site that allows anyone to upload, record, promote, and share their originally-created sounds. I was tasked with improving the ability to for users to discover up-and-coming artists and new songs on the site.
To begin this project we conducted a heuristic evaluation of the existing SoundCloud site, and made a list of assumptions based on what we learned about the site and its capabilities. From there we created an interview guide and conducted interviews with people who are heavy consumers of music and are already familiar with SoundCloud. We wanted to learn what other sites they use, how they discover new music, and how they share recommendations with friends. After conducting interviews we conducted a competitive analysis to see how SoundCloud stacks up against other sites and how it differentiates itself as well.
After completing the research phase we were tasked with creating the redesign individually from the research we gathered as a team. With everything I learned from the research phase I created some user personas to help guide my design process. The first persona was based on your typical album collector, contrasted by the second persona being more of a track-based listener. With them in mind I began sketching ideas for how to implement new features into the site that would meet both their needs, while working out ways to maintain existing SoundCloud features that make the site unique.
After finalizing my ideas for the new site I began creating mid-fidelity wireframes in Adobe Illustrator. This new site contains many of the features the users I talked to said were lacking. For example: I added an ability to see the current playing track and added an ability to view previously heard songs, I created a more distinct featured section for new tracks to be promoted on the site, and I also curated the sidebar recommendations to better suit the user’s personal tastes. Also the main content on each page was distributed into more specific categories that feature drop-down menus to more easily sort results.