nov - dec 2022

4 weeks

experience design

zoomed in image of the dedicated soundcloud search page

As an audio-hosting, streaming and sharing platform that allows users to be both listeners and creators, SoundCloud houses a variety of niche genres original to the platform and unheard of anywhere else.

Despite this, the platform repeatedly recommends songs from the Hip Hop and Rap genre to all users regardless of their listening history causing users to choose other platforms instead. This proposal augments the current music discovery methods offered by introducing a community-driven way to browse through music relevant to the niche music listener’s ever changing tastes and interests. This project was created during a senior experience design course.

  • Copywriting, Research, Content Strategy, Visual Design, Interaction Design
  • Nick Cheung, Firm Kongthong, Michelle Kurniawan, Oscar Waizel
why people use soundcloud

Opportunity to discover budding genres and up and coming artists not yet established in the music industry.

Ability to engage with other users through commenting on specific areas of music tracks, direct messaging and song reposts.

problem space
how users currently find music

Through secondary research and 8 user interviews with current SoundCloud users and artists, we narrowed our target audience to listeners with a preference for music from niche genres.

User Behaviours

“How might we increase the likelihood for hidden gems to be discovered?”

This lead us to the framing above with the goal of extending the social aspects of SoundCloud to facilitate community song recommendations and increase the level of personalization for each user.

final intervention
updating the visuals

While designing and implementing our proposal into the existing SoundCloud interface, we referenced secondary research and interview responses to focus on making adjustments to the existing website.

Dark mode was introduced to complement the vibe of the community and the time of day users were most active on the platform.

Track covers were further highlighted in the track pages and heavily utilized in our proposed discovery features.

community-driven music discovery

We propose two new ways to discover music through SoundCloud that extends the current discovery methods available:

Dedicated search page enabling users who don’t know what they’re looking for to quickly browse and preview tracks like tune scrolling through a radio, allowing users to actively discover from a collection of recommended tracks resulting from their friends’ most recent listening habits.

User suggestions of other songs that a listener could check out after finishing the current song they’re enjoying, resulting in the exploration of a larger variety of songs that could potentially align with their music taste.

audio-first searching & browsing

Hover over tracks to hear a preview snippet from a section with the highest engagement.

Shuffle recoommendations to receive a new batch of tracks to sift through.

Extended hovering over a track will show song details, providing more options to explore, such as an option to filter the batch by genre or view the profile of the user a song suggestion was pulled from.

user-curated recommendations

Add your own song suggestions directly to track pages to help other listeners discover more music they might like to listen to afterwards and also check out songs that others have highlighted.

Recommendations are linked to the user profiles that make track suggestions and a user can listen to more from a recommender by viewing their suggestion history.