Feed - Tipping Software Feature

OVERVIEW

In a world where the profitability of the music business for the individual artist is steadily shrinking, we designed a feature for streaming services that cultivates the sustainability of music creation by more fairly compensating artists.

PROBLEM STATEMENT

Fans do not have a way to directly contribute to their favorite artists. Artists need more mechanisms to earn money on streaming services. We aim to find a solution and build a workable prototype.

USERS AND AUDIENCE

We aim to benefit the millions of artists streaming their music on digital streaming platforms as well as the listeners.

RESPONSIBILITIES

As a UX design student at Springboard my responsibilities included: secondary research, conducting surveys, user interviews, usability testing, presenting ideas, information architecture, sketching, wireframing, and high fidelity prototyping.

 

CONSTRAINTS

I was given approximately six months to learn the fundamentals of UX and build a working prototype. I met weekly via Zoom with my mentor (who resides in Dublin) to check my work.
 

RESEARCH

I conducted secondary research and validated what I learned from my own experience. With the current payment model set around $0.004 per stream, an artist on Spotify would need to generate 377,000 streams per month (4.5 million per year) to earn a minimum wage income.

I conducted secondary research and validated what I learned from my own experience. With the current payment model set around $0.004 per stream, an artist on Spotify would need to generate 377,000 streams per month (4.5 million per year) to earn a minimum wage income.

I conducted secondary research and validated what I learned from my own experience. With the current payment model set around $0.004 per stream, an artist on Spotify would need to generate 377,000 streams per month (4.5 million per year) to earn a minimum wage income.

I conducted secondary research and validated what I learned from my own experience. With the current payment model set around $0.004 per stream, an artist on Spotify would need to generate 377,000 streams per month (4.5 million per year) to earn a minimum wage income.

USER INTERVIEWS

Next I created a screener survey and selected five users to interview. My target user was anyone who owns a smartphone and pays a monthly subscription for a streaming service.

My interviews validated my hypothesis that users are aware of the discrepancy between streams and artist compensation and they feel a level of culpability as supporters of a system that has turned its back on artists:

“Yeah, I use Spotify. Yeah, I’m not proud of it.”

“Philosophically, I don’t like how it works… as far as how they pay the artist.”

Interviews also revealed that users would be happy to pay more if it meant benefitting artists:

“Ok, I will say this: I would pay more if I was guaranteed that more artists would be making more money.”

Multiple users offered tipping as a potential solution:

“Maybe there should be an option to tip, or throw in some extra money, like whatever you think is fair.”

This research showed we were on the right track and even pointed us in the direction of a solution.

EMPATHY MAP AND USER PERSONA

Based on my user interviews, I was able to create an empathy map and a user persona to better understand my potential users.

IDEATION

After better understanding my users I had to come up with possible solutions and decide on the best one. Ultimately I decided on a virtual tip jar option in which users would be prompted to tip an artist after listening to them for certain number of hours.

USER STORY

I wrote a fictional one-sentence story from the POV of my user to inform and inspire my design decicions:

“As a streaming service user I want to receive a prompt to tip artists I listen to frequently so that I may direct funds to artists.”

INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE

I built a sitemap to keep track of the screens I would be building for my prototype.

USER FLOWS

Next I designed user flows for the red routes of the feature to visualize the flows that are essential.

SKETCHING

I made some quick sketches of my red routes so I could do some guerrilla usability testing.

WIREFRAMING

After testing revealed some needed changes, I built low fidelity wireframes of my red routes, as well as a tipping icon route for the artist page and some edge cases such as making sure the format still worked with a spanish translation.

WIREFLOWS

I built a wireflow to help document the various interactions users might make on the same screen.

STYLE GUIDE

I designed a logo and built a style guide to foster a consistency in interactions, aesthethics, and tone as I built the prototype.

HIGH FIDELITY MOCKUPS

Now I could get to work building the high fidelity mockups for the two red routes of my app.

LISTENER RED ROUTE

ARTIST RED ROUTE

USABILITY TESTS

I conducted two rounds of usability tests using the prototype. No severe issues were detected. The messaging on the contact page was confusing to some users; they weren’t certain if they were contacting the app or the artists themselves.

Two users found the entire aspect of modals too annoying, however since the feature itself requires a certain amount of friction to be successful there would be no way to work around it, at least in the early stages of the feature.

TAKEAWAYS

With the iterative design process as our guide, we came to a solution that would be successful in the real world and benefit millions of artists. At first we weren’t sure if Feed would be a streaming app itself or a feature to install on popular apps like Spotify. Ultimately, we decided the feature would be the best solution because it would be the easiest to implement in a real world setting and therefore more quickly benefit those artists who are out there struggling today. Every step of the process from research, to interviews, to testing validated our work and showed the need for our product.

When I started this project in January 2022, Spotify did not have a way for fans to tip artists. On May 26, just as I began building my high fidelity mockups, I received an email from Spotify for Artists that they are adding that feature to their app soon. I’m glad to know we were both on the right track.