I designed and developed a prototype application for songwriters in the final year of my undergraduate degree. I presented it to my lecturers as part of my Digital Arts Creative Portfolio, and they suggested that I turn it into an official Max 7 app. It has since become a passion project which I try to improve in my spare time.
Check out how it all started here!
I am in the design zone thanks to my UI/UX internship at Dataworks Ltd. Since January, I have been perpetually busy doing exciting design things that I can't tell you about because I signed an NDA (my first ever NDA, if you don't count my year of Nightline!). However, I can tell you that the experience has had a big impact on my approach towards Inspirator.
Since my last post, I've conducted a few brief interviews exploring the current design/functions of the Inspirator prototype. I also dedicated my Christmas present sketchbook to the Inspirator development process and compiled a list of apps to look into as part of my market research.
My original plan of design attack was to develop the questions and themes explored in my initial interviews so I could thoroughly survey my songwriting friends and online songwriting communities. However, if my internship has taught me anything, it's that market research is vital to creating a successful design, let alone product.
I already know a fair bit about how songwriters approach songwriting, but I don't know what apps they might use to assist their creative process. I could learn a thing or two from those apps, and I could certainly learn a lot more from my users if I talk to them about the practical tools they use to record musical inspiration on a day-to-day basis. More concrete questions for my users means fewer romantic, generalised answers about their creative practice. I'm interested in technique, not theory.
In October, I joined a UX Design Learning group based at SHE Software. Being part of the group means joining weekly meetings to discuss and share our understanding of user experience, a subject defined by my UX Fundamentals course as: "the establishment of a philosophy about how to treat people". Essentially, UX is all about developing a product with the user in mind. If the user has a good experience with a product/service, they will continue to buy things from that company.
I developed my app prototype before I had even heard of terms like "UX" or "design thinking". However, now that I am aware of them, I'm using the weekly meetings to hold myself accountable for making user-friendly progress with my app development. I learn best through doing things, after all!
I've decided to start off with thoroughly researching my app's target audience. Initial app feedback (both from my songwriting friends and my MA research into amateur lyric writing) highlighted how spontaneous the creative process is. This implies that it may be more useful to capture musical inspiration through a mobile app instead of a desktop app. This means that it's time to start designing for a different kind of screen, and to delve further into how creativity fits into a songwriter's daily routine. User interviews here I come!
The purpose of Inspirator is to provide songwriters with an integrated platform to record compositional ideas. If you're anything like me, you start writing a song and end up with bits and pieces of it everywhere and in different formats. Inspirator cuts through that mess by letting you record video, audio, lyrics and notes about your composition in one place. The video demo below shows you how to use the application, and briefly discusses the improvements that I plan to make to it.
Check out the making of here!