Very valuable insights from my audience

Throughout the week, I interviewed six people and asked them to interact with my prototype.

The study aimed to use concept testing to identify the strengths and weaknesses of a location-based music discovery concept that uses time-based memory triggers.

Methods & Approach

I used Zoom to conduct the interviews and Google Forms to collect input and analyze them.

I interviewed six people. 3 Male (21, 24, and 28 years old). 3 Female (22, 26 37 years old). All live in New York.

Insights about Memory

Props like pictures help people remember things.

Nearly all participants said seeing a picture from the past made them remember the day and sparked an emotion.

Some Quotes

“So today I opened up my photo app, and I saw a picture of you and me, out in the water lobstering. It sparked some good emotions….”
“Pictures of my little brother that my mother sent me…”
“In the family group chat, there was this picture of my dog shaking her hand…”

Emotions and being present help generate memories.

Participants said that they remember moments if they were present at that moment or/and had strong emotions.

Some Quotes

“Definitely emotions you experience during the memory. Emotions you experienced after the memory. It ferments them.”
“You are not thinking about anything else other than what’s happening at the moment.”
“When I think of memorable, I tend to associate it with positive emotions. If there is something sad, I wouldn’t call it memorable.”

Songs attach to memories and help us to recall them.

All of the participants said they associate a song with memory or event recalled whenever they listen to that song.

Some Quotes

“Driving every day to school with my sister. The song was called live version of Flying Horses by Dispatch that she would play on her iPod every morning; it makes me think of those times when I listen to it now.”
“A song from one of my favorite video games, and when I hear that song again, it brings me back to that day, even remembering the weather and temperature.”

When I played those songs to them at the end, they gave detailed descriptions of what they recalled.

Some Quotes

“I’m 13, I am on a train, I can smell the cafe food, I can see the trees outside, it’s so weird. Memories are so vivid. It’s cool how it works that way. I would otherwise not think about being on a train; now I can remember with this song.”
“Driving around the streets, getting some quality time with my sister, which didn’t happen too often those days.”
“It brings back the tingly feeling of younger years.”

Many people don’t remember how they discovered a song.

I asked the participants to scroll on Spotify and pick a random song they discovered.

Some Quotes

“Carolina by Eric Church. I don’t remember anything, but I like this song. I don’t remember how I discovered it. If I knew when are where that would be sick.”
“It’s Unwell by Matchbox20. I don’t remember how I discovered this song; maybe my sister had it on her CD or something.”
“Last Embrace by Makeup. The band has an album, and I think I probably found this song there. I don’t have memories attached to it.”

People have mixed feelings about Google Photos.

Participants said they enjoy getting reminders about the past, yet it could be sad when the nostalgia takes over.

Some Quotes

“Honestly, sometimes it makes me a little homesick, especially the summer pictures, how much fun we had, knowing I won’t be able to have a summer like that again, but it’s also cool to have that memory readily available.”
“I get sucked down on the rabbit of nostalgia and start to feel sad since there are too many memories.”
“When it’s a photo with someone I don’t talk to anymore, I don’t like it.”

“I think sometimes it (revisiting old photos) can help to understand how far you have come, if you are healthier, or you accomplished things. You can see the progress.”

Insights about the Prototype

Discover Button

People noticed the “Discover” button; however, they had very different opinions on what it would do when they tapped on it. Some thought it would take them to a screen where they discovered new music; some thought it would give them similar songs; some thought it would help them discover five new things about the artist. [Needs a significant design improvement]

Songs Card

Most people didn’t notice the distance indicator (30 feet) and didn’t make any connection to the songs being listened to in their vicinity. [Needs a significant design improvement]

The number indicator (5) on the corner of the card had different interpretations; some thought it was there to show five songs from the same artist, five songs that match your style the most, and some people had no idea what it did. [Needs a design improvement]

The card gives enough information about the song; however, some users mentioned they would like to see the year the song came out, and maybe a story why the band wrote the song, something that would make them listen to it. [Needs a design improvement]


All users quickly learned how to navigate swiping left and right.

Instant Song Play

When users swipe to another song card, the music starts to play right away. Most users found it a valuable and easy way to browse through songs quickly. A user mentioned it would be cool to have the option to turn on/off the autoplay. [More testing needed]

“Discovered in Union Square” on Home Screen

Users who are regular users of Spotify noticed the new element on the home page. Most of them had questions about why this particular location was highlighted. Was it because they were there recently, or was it algorithmic. If they scroll up, would they see other sites? [Needs a design improvement]

All users said they would see songs they discovered in Union Square if they tapped on the element.

Revisiting a song user discovered on December 16, 2021

They would tap on a song, scroll horizontally, or click on the date to see the playlist. [Needs a design improvement]

Songs Page (Discovered in Union Square)

All users said this page shows where and when they discovered this particular song. They mentioned that the exact date and hour would be helpful. [Needs a design improvement]

Most users didn’t see the background image as a place snapshot. They thought it was random. [Needs a significant design improvement]

The snow gif on the background was unclear; some thought it was a video clip of the song. [Needs a significant design improvement]

All users loved seeing where and when they discovered a song.

“I think it’s great if you can associate a song you love to a place, it could be comforting.”

When did they want to see this information?

Some users were cool with seeing it whenever they listened to that song; some wanted to option to choose whether they wanted to see it or not. [Needs a design improvement]

Discover button on that page

Users found it very confusing what it does. Does it give you more songs from that place? Does it provide you with music around you right now? Overall, not intuitive. [Needs a significant design improvement]

It would help recall memories

All users said seeing where and when they discovered this song when they listened to it again would help them recall the memories of that day.

Users said having photos from that place, the weather, and perhaps a map that shows other locations you’ve been to that day. [Needs a design improvement]

Safe radius

Most users thought 30ft to 50ft was a safe radius to feel comfortable sharing their songs. Anything below 20ft would be uncomfortable.

Things users liked on Version B

Please loved having a playlist option. Users said having cards is nice if there were not many songs around them, but it would be hard to browse 100 songs in card form. [Needs a design improvement]

The shuffle button was well received.

Overall, I think it was a successful user testing where I learned about the flaws in my design. It was very humbling to go through this process. I will now start to think about how I can make my product more user-friendly and less confusing with the help of this valuable feedback I received from my potential users.



mfa candidate @svaixd, experience design @gallagher, psychology alumn @whitman, portfolio:

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Gökay Abacı's Thesis Blog

Gökay Abacı's Thesis Blog

mfa candidate @svaixd, experience design @gallagher, psychology alumn @whitman, portfolio: