user goals.jpg
Project 1 Micah Bennett - Mixtap copy.jpg

postmodern mixtape

Rapid prototyping for a single user 


postmodern mixtape

Rapid prototyping for a single user 


Nicole hasn’t discovered new music since the 90s, and she wishes there was a way she could explore modern bands with little to no effort. Nicole’s 16 year old sister Jill loves music and is the best DJ on road trips- Nicole wishes Jill could easily send her music at a moment’s notice.


There's currently no fun, simple way to share music amongst friends.


In a 3 day rapid prototyping challenge, I designed an easy, zero-effort way to discover and share music by chat.

user goals.jpg



ROLE: UX Researcher & Designer

PROJECT DURATION: 3 days, solo project as part of General Assembly's User Experience Design Immersive

METHODS: Qualitative User Interviews, Task Analysis, Competitive & Comparative Analysis

TOOLS: Paper, Pencil, Pens, iPhone

DELIVERABLES: Storyboard, Paper Prototype, Presentation


In a design challenge at General Assembly, I set out to explore a problem in one user's life she would like a solution to. Nicole misses the serendipitous discovery of a mixtape - handpicked songs, carefully arranged as a gift between friends.


It became evident that there were two primary user personas I would need to design for. The music-novice, and the music-savvy user. 

Based on my interview with Nicole, I prioritized designing for Persona 1: the Music- Novice, intending to explore Persona 2 more fully in the future. I mapped out the primary goals that would motivate Nicole to use the app, and set design-priorities accordingly.


A competitive/comparative analysis revealed that mot music apps provide some degree of:

New music discovery based on genre interest, mood & other musical interests

Social integration where you can see what friends are listening to

The inability to search for a specific track without paying


However, two main features were missing from all these experiences:


Genre-limiting discovery - music recommendations are based on user-selected genres and interests. This immediately limits the possibility for the user to be “surprised” by music she hadn’t tried before.


Social connecting, sharing - The ability to quickly & easily send a song or playlist w/ a friend is lacking in all existing apps. Social sharing is deeply buried in the interface, and requires multiple clicks to share.

While Spotify's discovery algorithm brings back the magic of a mixtape, the intimacy of personalized recommendations between friends and simple, easy sharing is still missing from the experience.



Following the user interview, I sketched a storyboard to explain my user’s journey.



I incorporated my research findings into sketches with key features that Nicole found desirable in other apps.

  • Social connectivity seemed to be the key first step. Because Nicole and Jill prefer to share socially with carefully selected friends instead of their vast Facebook network, I opted for a simple email and password sign up.
  • The social feed is generated by the user’s phone contacts, and they can select who they wish to follow or search for a friend by their handle.


I presented my sketches to Nicole. While she was excited about the app, she requested additional features, such as:

  • The ability to comment on mixes, adding to the social function of the app.
  • The ability to mute certain tracks on a mix, in case there’s a song she just doesn’t want to listen to.

I tested the sketches to five random users, outlining the flow and key features.

Rapid-Fire Feedback:

  • There were conflicting user requests for a home screen dropdown with main menu items, and those who enjoyed the swiping left, right, up and down for key features/app navigation. This could be further tested in A/B testing.
  • Users enjoyed the ability to create their own mixes, drag and order tracks, and share individual tracks easily with friends.
  • The concert feature was also very popular.
Project 1 Micah Bennett - Mixtap copy.jpg



With Mixt@p, sharing music is as easy as a tap:


next steps

  • While Persona 1 was quickly explored, additional user feedback and testing is needed.
  • Persona 2 is also equally important to develop for, as the app requires active users to generate content and share with their friends. User interviews, observation and feedback from Jill is essential.
  • Prototyping and testing — UI flow, functionality, and visuals should be further refined and tested.
  • Content development and legality — Explore music rights and regulations to make key app (individual track search) offerings possible.
  • Music as chat — explore and compare other messaging services and 3rd party app integrations (like giphy). Users would like to send individual tracks in chat conversations. 


Start with one —

You can learn a lot from talking to just one person.

And then look at the many —

Digital natives and digital immigrants come in all shapes and sizes - or rather, backgrounds and ages. Design must take into consideration both content creators and consumers. So many social apps have great UI, but if no one's using it, all they'll see is a blank screen.