Busker – UX Design

Busker is designed to be a virtual platform on which musicians can meet, collaborate, broadcast, and record in real time.

You can access Busker’s interactive prototype here.

A promotional flyer I put together for the project

The Prompt

While attending the inaugural Austin UX Design Immersion class at General Assembly, my team was tasked with providing Guitar Center with tools for musicians to connect and collaborate with one another.

my involvement

During the course of this project, I was responsible for the overall concept, the primary user persona, as well as the wireframes, prototyping, and user testing for one of the three user flows. I also collaborated on the affinity diagramming, a design studio exercise, and an on-site contextual inquiry.

The End Result

It took a long time for the idea for Busker to crystallize, but once it did, the realization of the project quickly followed. Eventually, I set about creating wireframes for the above user flow in which a musician finds collaborators based on shared musical tastes as well as from their already-established friends list. They then agree to collaborate and broadcast their session. A video of the user flow can be found here.

But there were a lot of steps before we had an actionable idea.

How did we get here?

User Interviews

We started researching for the project by conducting interviews with the professional musicians in our network. In Austin, this is not super difficult.

Most of the people we interviewed compared the process of finding bandmates with dating. They relied on their own networks, chance encounters, personal chemistry,and geographic proximity to facilitate collaboration in their lives.

We wondered:

How can we create more opportunities for serendipity amongst musicians?

Affinity Diagramming

We kept unfolding and refolding this thing over the course of two weeks.

We took our findings from the User Interviews and assigned each item a Post-It, then arranged them into categories. This proved to be an extremely valuable document.

Contextual Inquiry

We felt it was important for everyone on the team to experience Guitar Center firsthand.

We went to Guitar Center in the middle of a weekday, but still managed to find a great many customers and employees willing to talk to us. We recorded and analyzed what they said. The Contextual Inquiry directly led to the formation of what became the primary User Persona, as well as refocusing the scope of the entire project.

User Persona

That's a picture of Pantera's Dimebag Darrell from high school, by the way.

I synthesized our findings from the Contextual Inquiry and our initial User Interviews into a cohesive document that crystallized into our Primary User Persona. I had a great deal of help in formatting the Persona.

We were getting closer to arriving at a solution that would accomplish Guitar Center’s stated goals while also addressing the actual wants and needs of the company’s customers.

Design Studio

Our instructors led us in a timed, rapid-iteration Design Studio session. While we didn’t get any usable material out of it, we did seem to purge ourselves of some of the ideas we had been clinging to.

Breakthrough

Immediately after the Design Studio, I had an idea that emerged almost fully formed: What if we provided a platform, in a virtual space, for musicians to meet other musicians and collaborate with them in real time? From there, they could chose to broadcast their collaborations, form bands, accept “tips” from fans, and make recordings. Guitar Center could take a percentage of money earned, and recommend products to fans based on the gear the musicians themselves were using.

I called it “Busker,” a word which typically refers to the street musicians who play for tips from passers-by.