Preparing for the User Tests
Once I had planned dedicated days to meet the users and have them go through the test, the next step was to recruit participants, and prepare the equipment I would need to make sure the tests followed the same protocole.
I posted an invitation on a Facebook group page for musicians in my area. The profile I was looking for was: electric guitarists or bassists who play, write and record music, alone or in a band.
Controlled Test Environment
The equipment was the same for each test session:
– A camera to record the smartphone screen
– The WireTap pedal in its box, with its Quick Start Guide
– An android or iOS Phone
– An electric guitar with guitar amp, headset and cables
Who Were the Participants?
It was only a week between my post to find users and the days I had marked for the test. My goal was to have at least 5 users. In total 6 musicians participated. They were men between 25 and 35 years old and as musicians they’d been playing for over 10 years. Also two common habits came out of the interviews: they all use desktop tools to create & produce music, and they all use their phone’s dictaphone and camera to record ideas on the fly.
``Where is the stuff I just recorded?!``
``Has somebody played with the pedal before me? There are songs that are named already!?``
03. ReDesigning the App
a. Current Information Architecture & Features
To have a better understanding of the current app I drew its Screen Flow chart.
As we can see, it is a very simple app. To facilitate my work I added the list of actions the user can take from a screen, and I also added a colored button to indicate the gesture needed to access other pages/sets of actions.
b. Inspirational Benchmark of Features
To start the creative process I benchmarked other apps to get inspiration for features that I wanted to add. One important element I thought was clearly missing from the WireTap app is a music player. The user today can only play one track at a time from the track play button. It prevents the user from doing anything else while the music is playing and also each play button on each track takes up a lot of real estate on the page.
From the apps I benchmarked:
I really liked Qobuz, Bandcamp and Apple Music and Podcast for their music players. I thought they were legible. I liked the folding player that shows more information if needed, and also the fact that the players did not prevent navigation while listening.
Also, I was particularly interested in finding a way to display 2 devices (pedal & phone) with their own sets of songs and so I found Spotify very inspiring with their clear and legible sections navigation display.
Having 2 devices displayed at the same time was a challenge. I looked for ways to clearly indicate which device’s track was playing and where. I also wanted to make sure that the recording and listening process were not confused.
So I looked into dictaphone and recording apps and I liked the legibility of Apple’s Dictaphone, and the tools of the app Twisted Wave.
d. New Information Architecture Suggestion & Features
Paper Prototyping allowed me to set the foundations of the new app structure, based on a new actions hierarchy. Firstly, based on my first use case test scenario. Secondly, I imagined other use cases to help clearly identify actions and flow.
I must mention here that the iterative part where I sketched on paper, defined the new architecture and started creating High-Resolution Prototypes all happened in a non-linear way. New ideas and feedback were constantly being integrated in the prototype so I adapted my screen flow as I was working on finalizing the High-Resolution Prototype.
e. High-Resolution Prototypes
I kept tc electronic WireTap Graphic Chart to create the High-Resolution Prototype.
This process itself was as iterative as the sketching. I had to make sure that the user interface (UI) reinforced the experience (UX) and that the interaction between elements was solving the main problem I had defined. Was navigation improved? Was the cognitive load lessened? Were actions more easily performed? Was the overall experience more pleasing?
With the help of the Adobe XD app on my phone, I could conduct Guerilla User Tests of the High-Resolution prototype and confirm that critical problems were solved and that the app offered a much nicer experience.
Here are the current app screens and my redesign suggestions: