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Product Design
Desktop App
Capstone Project

Empowering local music artists      
       through a community platform

OVERVIEW
This project is an initiative by the host of Hometown Heroes, which is a radio show based in Delaware Valley that showcases local music talent and helps them get visibility. We (a team of 5) worked with them as part of our capstone project to conceptualize and design a digital community platform aimed at facilitating the career growth of local music artists.

Sep 2023 - May 2024

9 Months

A team of 5 students

Product designer

User research

User interface design

Product design

DURATION

TEAM

ROLE

SKILLS

CLIENT BRIEF / PROJECT CONTEXT

The client wanted to extend his support to local artists beyond the radio show

"Hometown Heroes," hosted by Mark Rogers, is a radio show spotlighting local talent in the Delaware Valley. our client Mark wanted to extend his support for local artists beyond the radio show and its website, through strategies aimed at helping the artists grow professionally and enhance their visibility. 
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CHALLENGE

How do we help local music artists grow professionally through a for-profit sustainable digital solution?

FINAL SOLUTION

A community focused platform that provides mentorship and music gigs opportunities backed by a reputed radio show

This platform capitalizes on the robust local community cultivated by Hometown Heroes, offering dependable and nearby opportunities for artists. Moreover, it provides a platform for local artists to build credibility through verified and responsible interactions within the community.

FEATURE 01

Explore mentors and find the right one for you! 

FEATURE 02

Explore nearby music gigs and opportunity

FEATURE 03

Track and manage all your commt

RESULTS

Key Impact & Learnings

After doing the final usability testing of the platform with real artists in the area, we got user satisfaction rate of over 90%.
Over 90% user satisfaction rate
The project helped me understand how to perform efficient client communication and involve stakeholders in collaborative workshops to get higher client satisfaction as well.
Learned client communication & collaborative workshops
PROCESS

PROCESS MODEL

We collaborated with the client over 5 sprints

Interview studies

USER & DOMAIN RESEARCH

Competetive anaysis

Affinity & Journey Mapping

01 SPRINT

IDEATION AND CONCEPT VALIDATION TESTING

User survey

Wireframing

Concept testing

02 SPRINT

PRODUCT THINKING & REVENUE STRATEGIZING

Designing through product thinking

Revenue strategies

03 SPRINT

FEATURES INTEGRATION & VISUAL DIRECTION

Information Architecture

Wireframing of new features

Design system foundations

04 SPRINT

USABILITY TESTING & HANDOFF

Usability Testing

Hi-fidelity interactive prototyping

Handoff documents

05 SPRINT

Led user research

Led usability testing

SPRINT 1
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SPRINT 1 CHALLENGE

What are the real challenges of local music artists and how can Hometown Heroes support them?

USER RESEARCH

We interviewed 5 stakeholders to understand the holistic landscape of music industry and career journey of a music artist

3 local music artists and artist manager interviews
We interviewed 3 local music artists and an artist manager in a 1-hour long session each to understand their experiences & challenges throughout their journey.
Radio show host/client interview
We interviewed other stakeholders like the radio show host to understand the history of HH, Challenges, Show operations, Website details, Homey Awards, and Impact.

INTERVIEW ANALYSIS

We synthesized an affinity map to understand major themes

KEY INSIGHTS

Perception Gap between Local and National Music

Data shows a preference for national music over local music, contrasting with the positive perception of local foods, local wines, etc.

"....If you attach the word local to music, it has a whole other connotation which is not positive generally." - P2

Navigating the Industry is hard for new artists

Young artists face hurdles in finding the right guidance, gaining visibility, and maintaining relevance on social media platforms, posing a challenge in navigating through this industry.

"... a lot of them don't know. How do they get from playing guitar in their own house to playing on a stage somewhere, or they just don't know if they'd like to." - P1

Networking and Trust is very crucial for career growth

Artists struggle to connect with suitable managers, venues, and collaborators, facing difficulties in securing trustworthy opportunities and reliable connections.

"I always encourage them to get to know other musicians in the area so they can work together." - P1

"So I think community is very important. I think for them because they can always help each other out." - P1

Artists are always on the lookout for income Streams

Artists lack a stable income stream, relying predominantly on gigs, royalties, and merch sales, with minimal earnings from streaming platforms, prompting a constant search for additional revenue streams.

"Getting paid for shows, people are buying vinyl more now, merchandise like so if they have T-shirts, posters or things like that, that's a stream of revenue for them." - P2

"All they want to do is play on the weekends or and to them, if they're getting booked every weekend at a club. That's success to them." - P3

JOURNEY MAPPING

We synthesized a journey map to strategically identify opportunities where Hometown Heroes can help

HMWs for each stage helped us identify opportunities

COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS

We also looked into competitors to find the market gaps

Opportunities
  • Expansion into New Content Types
  • Better Monetization Strategies
  • Modernize User Interface
  • Safety and Trust Features
Possible threats for local based solution
  • Dependence on User-Generated Content

  • Competition from Larger Platforms

  • The existing big user base

  • Changing Industry Dynamics

  • Piracy and ScamsNegative Publicity

DEFINING THE FIRST FEATURE

We finalized the mentorship feature after analyzing importance and feasibility of HMWs

MENTORSHIP FEATURE
  • Supports both new and established artists
  • Helps new artists find the right mentor for them
  • Helps established artist to take a new step in their career and give back to the community
SPRINT 2
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SPRINT 2 CHALLENGE

How feasible is the mentorship feature and how can we support the needs of local artists in this process?

USER RESEARCH

We conducted a user survey to identify preferences and possible adoption of mentorship feature

KEY INSIGHTS (BASED ON 47 RESPONSES)

High interest in mentorship

Over 95% of survey respondents expressed interest in participating in the mentorship paradigm in some capacity.

Preference for collaboration and support

Respondents showed a preference for long-term collaborations and were open to various forms of mentorship, including one-on-one meetings, group and jamming sessions.

Areas of interest and values in mentorship

Networking, finding gigs and events, and representation and branding emerged as the top areas of interest among respondents. Industry experience, supportive attitude, and networking abilities were identified as the most valued attributes in a mentor.

DESIGN

We sketched out user flows and wireframes to shape the mentorship feature 

CONCEPT TESTING

We conducted concept testing with users to refine the mentorship feature further

KEY INSIGHTS

Copyright Awareness

Adding a disclaimer emphasizing the importance of copyright for shared music, ensuring only original content is uploaded, acknowledging our oversight on copyright issues in the music industry.

Non-Monetary Mentor Benefits

Considering non-monetary benefits such as featuring mentors on Hometown Heroes or interviews, expanding beyond monetary incentives for mentorship, opening new avenues for social recognition and appreciation.

Music law and business support

Recognizing the need for assistance in understanding music law and business among musicians, highlighting the importance of addressing this gap in our support offerings.
SPRINT 3
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SPRINT 3 CHALLENGE

How do we implement revenue strategies on the mentorship platform and make it a sustainable business?

REVENUE STREAM BRAINSTORMING

We brainstormed all viable revenue streams for Hometown Heroes and their feasibility

PIVOT MOMENT

After analyzing revenue streams, we realized the need for a new feature to generate more feasible revenue streams without asking artists for fees

Our client wanted to find ways that generate revenue without asking artists for money. So commission marketplace and subscription model were not feasible revenue models for the mentorship feature. However, we decided to leverage the ad-based model by incorporating related features.
SPRINT 4
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SPRINT 4 CHALLENGE

What kind of feature can help us generate a more feasible revenue stream as well as help artists with their career?

NEW FEATURE IDEATION

We went back to our journey map and identified opportunities/classifieds feature for more feasible revenue stream

The opportunities/classifieds feature helps artists find music gigs around them as well as find collaborators and band members by posting on the platform. The platform can charge third-party posters a nominal fee for generating revenue.

FEATURES INTEGRATION

We created information architecture to conceptualize a community platform incorporating all features

SPRINT 5
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SPRINT 5 CHALLENGE

Creating final designs by stitching together all features and establishing a design system 

VISUAL DIRECTION

We established a visual direction based on our moodboard of inspiration

COLORS

APPLICATION FONTS

Public Sans

MARKETING WEBSITE FONTS

Clash Display

Playfait Display

USABILITY TESTING

We conducted usability testing to identify usability issues 

KEY INSIGHTS

Allow users to add reviews from multiple points

Rephrase sessions into specific mentee and mentor session

Allow users to add cancel session message

Users wanted to review the mentor separately from their profile other than specifically prompting them to review a session.
Users often got confused between a type of session, and wanted to have different words for their session as different role.
Users also wanted to add a cancel message in case they have to cancel the mentorship session to leave no room for confusion and maintain a good relationship.

FINAL DESIGNS

The final solution is an integration of mentorship and opportunities features into a Hometown Heroes community platform

FEATURE 01

Explore mentors and book mentorship sessions

This feature of the platform helps local music artists find the right mentor for guidance. Mentorship sessions can be 1:1 or group with the option of its mode being virtual or in-person.

Reviews by mentees help mentors build their credibility. Eliminating the rating system in reviews keeps the community positive and fair.

FEATURE 02

Explore and post music gigs & opportunities 

This feature helps artists find curated music gigs posted by local entities as well as post a community opportunity when in need of band members or collaborators.

Quick glances with key information points help artists in scanning all the opportunities in less time

FEATURE 03

Track and manage all of sessions and gigs at one place

Track all sessions both as a mentee and a mentor at one place

We've also included trackers for mentorship sessions and music gigs that can help users manage all of their activities easily on the platform.

Track posted, applied, saved and all upcoming gigs easily

LEARNINGS

Importance of domain research before diving into designs

I was completely new to the music industry domain, let alone design solutions for local music artists. Primary and secondary formative research helped me uncover a lot of insights that drove our solution.

Leveraging team members' strengths for a better outcome

I realized how diving work according to everyone's strengths and having a lead for each area helps the project achieve higher quality and efficiency.

Setting scope for each task to stay on track

Having this big scale for a project often results in ambiguity and unnecessarily delays the final outcome. After working on such a project in a team of 5, I learned to set goals and scope for each task to stay focused and get important work done efficiently.
LET'S CONNECT

Get in touch for opportunities or just to say hi!

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