Rhythem is a social networking mobile app that allows users to find matches through shared musical preferences. Users can link external music profiles such as Spotify or iTunes to import their listening data and playlists.
My role
UI/ UX Designer
Team
Quinn Tully-Doyle - UX Designer
Nico Iglesias - Software Developer
Duration
Sep-Oct 2019
Rhythem was a passion project created as an alternative to the standard matching algorithm for social and dating app platforms. Our team created hi-fidelity wireframes and worked with engineers to design concepts for a feasible integration of user data across Rhythem and music streaming apps such as Spotify, iTunes or Tidal.

Current Problem

"Dating is hard, especially with the advent of the internet and more recently, dating apps."  - Real user quote
Users looking to use dating or social networking apps often feel overwhelmed due to the number of platforms available to them, and the number of profiles on each app. A sore spot for many users is that even with all these options available to them, most apps behave like mirror copies of one another with only a handful of distinguishing features.

The Solution

After exploring numerous option, our team decided on developing a dating app that would enable users to find partners through shared musical preferences.
As a product of multiple sessions of brainstorming and topic mapping, we decided to focus on the ways in which music interacted with digital and social spaces. Our team's objective throughout the design process was to prioritize a personalized and creatively engaging user experience.

Research and Design Strategy

Competitive Analysis

The surplus of cookie-cutter options for social networking apps gave my design team an interesting lead into the problem space that is our current online dating market.
The most popular platforms for social networking on the current market offer an almost identical algorithm to generate matches for their users. On Tinder, Hinge and Bumble, users can often only set their search preferences for basic physical attributes (i.e. height, age, body type) or personal details (i.e. political beliefs, religion, etc.).

The relatively recent introduction of required prompts/ answers has improved the online dating experience for many users through the personalization of online profiles. Tinder, in partnership with Spotify, also enable users to share songs from their music account on their dating profiles. Despite the cross app integration on Tinder, there is currently no option for user to find matches based on shared musical interests.

Screener Survey

Our team created a screen survey when recruiting qualifying participants to gather insights from in our user interviews. Our survey contained questions about their current process navigating online dating, and other social behaviors.
To begin our user research, our team distributed screener surveys for the purpose of finding relevant and potential users. Some of the assumptions we generated about our users were heavily based on competitive market research, and our screener questions were used to filter out for the ideal user base.

Some qualifying factors for our participants were current or past usage of dating social networking apps/ websites, a strong interest in music or concert attendance, and the use of an online profile for music streaming

User Interview Insights

We conducted user interviews with 5 users who fit our ideal demographic. These users were active on dating apps, had a strong interest in music, and regularly used a music streaming platform.
After creating transcripts from our user interviews, our team used the process of affinity mapping to synthesize repeating themes into key user insights. Our team observed recurring goals and pain points across all users interviewed.
Below are some key observations and insights extracted from the synthesized user data regarding the use of dating apps and online dating.

Users found it hard to make meaningful or real connections based on online dating profiles. They also found they spent too much time on dating apps because they were unable to quickly find compatible matches. However, most user felt hopeful about dating apps because they knew someone in their social circles who had found successful relationships using apps.
Certain habit and opinions were shared amongst all users, as well as several recurring themes. Below are observations our team noticed about user behaviors and sentiments regarding music.

Most of the users interviewed mentioned bonding with friend and loved ones by sharing music. They believed shared musical interests could play a significant role in connecting with people. They described themselves as being open about the kind of music they enjoyed, as well as bearing strong opinions about certain types of music they found offensive.

User Persona

Our team synthesized the data and insights collected from user interviews to create our persona Samuel, a representation of our ideal user.
Samuel, our persona, was an important tool when prioritizing which features were most needed by current users. His scenario also gave my team a point of reference for potential road blocks and frustrations users might encounter during their use of dating apps.
Samuel, Software Engineer
Age 31
Samuel is an avid music lover working in NYC, who has grown discouraged due to his lack of success at meeting new people on dating apps.

“It feels like a waste of time spending hours trying to meet someone online and then they end up having completely misrepresented themselves, and what they like to do".
GOALS
Develop meaningful relationships through dating and social apps.
Find people who share a passion for similar music.
FRUSTRATIONS
Many apps make it difficult to filter out searches for specific preferences.
NEEDS
A partner with shared interests and a passion for music.
A more efficient way to meet compatible people.
BEHAVIORS
Connects with people over shared music interests.
Periodically uninstalls dating apps from their phones due to a lack of success finding matches.
User profiles on social and dating apps feel generic or superficial.
Samuel, Software Engineer
Age 31
Samuel is an avid music lover working in NYC, who has grown discouraged due to his lack of success at meeting new people on dating apps.

“It feels like a waste of time spending hours trying to meet someone online and then they end up having completely misrepresented themselves, and what they like to do".
GOALS
Develop meaningful relationships through dating and social apps.
Find people who share a passion for similar music.
FRUSTRATIONS
Many apps make it difficult to filter out searches for specific preferences.
User profiles on social and dating apps feel generic or superficial.
NEEDS
A partner with shared interests and a passion for music.
A more efficient way to meet compatible people.
BEHAVIORS
Connects with people over shared music interests.
Periodically uninstalls dating apps from their phones due to a lack of success finding matches.

Design Development

Core features

Our team prioritized the development of features that addressed pain points in the current user experience of online daters.
We focused on possible improvements for various processes involved with online dating, such as personalizing a user profile, searching for matches, and finding in-person opportunities to meet potential dates.
Linking existing music streaming profiles (e.g. Spotify, Apple Music) to import music data.
Searching for other users based on favorite shared artists, songs, or albums.
Viewing the type of music events (concert, festivals, jazz bars, etc.) a user likes to attend.

Initial wireframes and prototype

A low fidelity, clickable prototype was first produced for an initial round of usability testing.
All users tested felt comfortable with the design and function of the prototype, and found it intuitive and learnable compared to similar apps. The results of the first round of usability testing can be found in the section below.

Usability Testing

To test our initial design, we reached out to 3 different relevant users to determine if they were able to navigate successfully through our initial prototype.
The tasks given for our usability test participants were to create a new account by linking a Spotify account, find and begin a chat with someone who attends rock concerts, and edit profile information.

Usability Findings

3/3 users succeeded in setting up an account by linking a Spotify profile
3/3 users succeeded in finding someone interested in going to a rock concert.
3/3 users succeeded in editing their Profile page

Analysis

Users found the design to be clean and easy to navigate
One user mentioned that it was refreshing to see a format that was different from the typical ‘swipe’ mechanism of dating apps.
One user mentioned being confused as to which page they were currently on.

Recommendations

Make it clearer to figure out what page the user is currently on.
Changing the “Discover” page label into something more specific about people.

Colors and type treatment

The color palette and type treatment of Rhythem was designed to convey a light and playful tone, with inviting retro elements.
Below are the official color palette, basic type treatments for logo and usage, and other assets.

Hi Fidelity Design

After gathering the results from the first round of usability testing, our team decided to implement changes and feedback to the key features in our high fidelity mockups.

Feature 1 - Linking Music Streaming Profiles

Using Spotify to Create a Profile
The search refinement filter was an extremely requested feature from digital marketers during user interviews. A consolidated catalogue of media from a variety of content creators necessitated a powerful and intuitive search filtering tool.

The filtering system for Curastory's marketplace platform enables buyers to view advanced search results by sorting through relevant categories such as influencer following, price, media type, genres and past performances.

Feature 2 - Viewing Music on Profile

Personalized Music Profiles
Alongside a regular profile view containing basic personal information, users are able to toggle to a potential match's Music Info profile.

This profile contains data imported from the music streaming platform that is synced with a user's account. Information such as most listened artists, playlists and albums are visible. Users are shown potential matches who share common musical interests or genres.

Feature 3 - Events Tab

Viewing Events
A feature that our team considered adding to Rhythem was an Events screen, which users can access through a bottom navigation tab. Users would be able to view local events near them, attended or recommended by other Rhythem users.

Potential matches can also display which upcoming Events they plan to attend in their Music Info profile view.

Next Steps

future opportunities

The combined contributions of the designers in my team help to create an interesting concept and starting point for a potential product.
Translating our ideas for Rhythem into a mobile app platform was an exciting design challenge. With the assistance of designers and software developers, my team and I are looking forward to conducting further user research, and also considering a minimum viable product launch of Rhythem for the App Store and Google Play.

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