K E X P

Creating a more personalized listening experience

research, ux, ui, branding, prototyping | created as a student project at SVC

 
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WHO IS KEXP

Founded in 1972, KEXP-FM is a public radio station legend in Seattle, Washington, that specializes in alternative and indie rock programs.

 
 
 

THE CHALLENGE

KEXP has a loyal local following in Seattle, yet their app hasn’t had the greatest reviews.

How can we improve the in-app experience to help KEXP compete in the digital music market?

 
 
 

KEY GOALS

  • Understand key user pains with the current KEXP app

  • Identify user goals for an ideal music-app experience

  • Discover key features for re-design

  • Improve the brand expression across the app experience

 
 
 

TIMELINE – 9 WEEKS

  • User research

  • Brand research

  • UX & UI design

MY ROLES

  • Research

  • Branding

  • UX & UI design

 
 

 
 
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Music is a language that doesn’t speak in particular words. It speaks in emotions, and if it’s in the bones, it’s in the bones
— Keith Richards
 
 

 

Research

 
 

RESEARCH GOALS & PLAN

 

 
 

RESEARCH PLAN

To reach as wide of a user base as possible, I REACHed out to both current users of the KEXP app and users of other various music-playing apps like Spotify, Apple Music, and Prime Music

• Prepare a survey to distribute to current users physically and digitally

• Observe current users navigating the app, and identify pain points and moments of delight

• Observe non-familiar users navigating the app, and identify first user general pain points

 
 
 

RESEARCH GOALS

• Identify pain points

• Discover user journeys

• Identify possible user scenarios

• Test the app in different platforms (IOS and Android)

 
 
 

RESEARCH IN ACTION

 

 
 

1. WRITTEN INQUIRIES

for the written survey, I received results from a total of 5 users. Three of these users are KEXP listeners – one primarily on desktop, one primarily on a smart home device, and one that listens to KEXP on the radio, and then uses the KEXP app to identify songs.

 
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I framed my questions with the aim to not influence their answers and instead, help the users focus on specific moments in the app.

What do you primarily use this app for? What do you like about it? Do you save content to listen to later? Do you use other music players? What do you like or prefer about those?

 
 
WRITTEN SURVEYS

WRITTEN SURVEYS

 
 
 

2. OBSERVATIONAL SESSIONS

For the observational sessions, i observed a total of two users - one avid KEXP app user and one new user whom is an avid Spotify user.

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For these sessions, I let the users show me first how they use the app (current user) and general discoverability of interactions (new user). Then I followed up with feature specific questions using inquiries I’d gathered from the written survey results.

How do you get more info about a song? What does ‘jump time’ mean? Do you know how to add a song to a Spotify playlist? Other pain points you’d like to share? What do you love and dislike about the app experience?

 
 

 

Research & User Insights

 
 

WHAT USERS HAD TO SAY ABOUT THE APP

 
 

 
 
Being able to view archived shows and their playlists is the best part
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I can add songs to Spotify? I didn’t know that!
 
I mainly use it when I’m traveling
 
 
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I like that KEXP helps me discover new local music
 
 
I’m bored with Spotify playlists. I want new stuff
 
I use it to discover new artists, and then I look them up on Spotify
 
 
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EMERGING USER PATTERNS

 

 
 

Several users preferred the Spotify app because they want to be able to curate content for themselves and to have content curated for them.

Simultaneously – Spotify users also enjoy and use the KEXP app for the discoverability and exposure to new music, regular shows by favorited djs, and the connection to the Seattle area when traveling.

 
 
 
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Defining Who Our User Is

 
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THE KEXP USER PERSONA

 

 
 
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As a user, they want to personalize their music experience so that they can discover cool new music curated for them and share all their favorite finds with their friends.

 
 

 

Applying the Research

 
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ESTABLISHING CLEAR DESIGN GOALS BASED ON RESEARCH

 
 

 
 

To address the user needs gleamed from the research, I decided to create an easy way for our users to connect their Spotify accounts to their KEXP apps.

To make it even easier for our user , I included a feature option to connect their KEXP account to either Google or Facebook for easy log in across all their devices.

 
 
 
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PAPER AND PENCIL PROBLEM SOLVING

 
 

 
 

SKETCHING SCENARIOS & FLOWS

Sketching out scenarios and flows based on specific user related scenarios.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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REFINING A USER FLOW

 
 

 
 

I created an on-boarding flow giving user the option to connect their Spotify and KEXP accounts via Google or Facebook, or email, if they don’t wish to connect their Spotify and KEXP accounts to their global accounts.

 
 
 
 
 
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WIREFRAMES

 
 

Wireframes start in paper pencil before being brought to the screen.

 
 

EARLY SKETCHES

 

REFINED WIREFRAMES

 
 
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BRAND EXPRESSION

 
 

 
 

While the current KEXP app does a good job of using it’s iconic palette, I wanted to add a visual style more reflective of the keywords that encapsulate the KEXP brand.

CLASSIC, GRUNGY, NICHE, TRUSTWORTHY, ARTISTIC

I chose a fresh and vibrant palette to compliment the current color scheme. Additionally, I added some fun shapes and angels to bring in more of an artistic personality to the look and feel of the app.

CURRENT KEXP APP

CURRENT KEXP APP

 
 
 

MOODBOARD

 
 

 

Final Designs

 
 
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IN CONCLUSION

Today’s user not only is accustomed to on demand content, they have come to expect diverse content catered just for them.

By bringing in the elements that users love from their listening apps (on demand, diverse content) + the unique music experiences that KEXP has to offer – we can set ourselves apart and provide our users with something fresh.

A unique personalized listening experience not just allocated by an algorithm, but one curated by professionals with years of music history, listening, and archiving knowledge.

 
 
 

“Have no fear of perfection—you’ll never reach it.”

Salvador Dali