Thesis Project 04: A Summary Of The Current Research

Context & Topic

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For amateur musicians, having a musical instrument skill not only means you can entertain yourself alone, but also brings you into one of the world’s largest hobby communities.

As a passionate amateur piano and violin player, my thesis project started from exploring how amateur musicians find and interact with the musical instrument community.

User Research

The User Needs

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During the user interviews of 14 amateur musicians, I discovered 4 mindsets of what they expect from their musical instrument hobby & skill. The insights include:

  • The majority of intermediate instrument players expect this hobby as a way to enrich their social life.
  • Most amateur musicians expressed the willingness or thought to play the instrument with other amateur musicians, to make friends, have fun together, and get a sense of achievement in their social life.

The problems

However, the current co-play process has a lot of hassles. It’s difficult to…

  • 🎹🎻🥁🎸find other amateur musicians with diverse musical instrument skills but a similar level.
  • 🌏🎭gather together to practice and play for fun because of the busyness and physical location limit.
  • 🎼find a suitable musical score that matches each player’s instrument type and level.
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As a result: Why the problems are worth to be solved

Although co-play is the most engaging player interaction within musical instrument communities, these problems make the current co-play experience complicated and time-consuming, which causes it to tend to be a more professional activity. As a result, amateur musicians spend most of their instrument time playing alone without having enough interaction with their contemporaries. The co-play experience needs to be reimagined.

Competitive Research

1/Competitors that help amateur musicians find and make friends with other amateur musicians.

  • Tabs, a community platform specifically for amateur musicians, featured in providing diverse musical scores.
  • BandFriend, a community platform specifically for musicians, featured in helping create bands or jams.
  • Facebook, the world’s largest universal community platform.

2/Competitors that facilitate co-play.

  • Zoom, a videotelephony and online chat platform that can be potentially used for online live distance co-play performance.
  • Gigtown, a platform connecting professional artists, venues, and fans for facilitating offline gig process.
  • Tiktok & Youtube, top universal video sharing platforms where musicians share their co-play clips to reach out and interact with more audiences.

3/Competitors that provide flexible musical score services for co-players.

  • Musescore, one of the largest online musical score library, featured in providing an on-demand flexible musical score service through connecting composers and musicians.

Although we can see there are competitors or potential competitors in each problem area, none of these competitors tackle these three connected critical problems in the co-play process at the same time. In conclusion, there’s a solid market opportunity in solving these three problems through holistically providing a simple but engaging co-play process experience in one place.

Tech Research

  • AI can be applied as the on-demand musical score transcriber, which can instantly generate the co-play musical score that can match each player’s instrument type and level. (Available now in labs, expected ready-for-market within 3 years)
  • 5G and High-speed internet connection infrastructure perfectly solve the connectivity delay issue for simultaneously online co-play activity. (Commercial available now, expected to mass-coverage globally within 3-5 years)

Design Goal/Value Proposition

How might we facilitate the holistic co-play experience to empower amateur musicians to make friends, have fun together, and get a sense of achievement through co-play within the musical instrument community?

Experience Principles

The co-play process experience I am designing should be:

  • 👋Easy & Simple & Casual.
  • 🎭🎉👏Engaging, with gig vibes.
  • 👍🎥Sharable & Memorable.

Besides, users should be enabled to see the 📈🏆growth of the sense of achievement and instrument skill from the co-play process.

Product/UX Designer | SVA IxD 21' | UX Design Intern at Logitech

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