With the promise of a new decade around the corner, I decided to head back to school and pivot into the world of product. In registering for the full time User Experience program at BrainStation Vancouver, I set out to learn the valuable research methods and practices absent in my current production process.
Throughout the term, students had to research and prepare a personal project, called a capstone, to present at the end of the program. Headroom is the fictional application I submitted as my capstone.
Some of the best musical ideas happen at the worst possible times to capture them. Half awake in the bleary hours of the morning, in the shower, on the train or treadmill, many ideas hit when there isn't opportunity to record them in a meaningful way. Even with a notepad or recording device on hand, much of the fidelity from the original idea is lost when transcribed.
Headroom is a digital product experience for capturing and consolidating musical ideas. Using future-forward direct brain-to-app technology, a chip placed in a wearable monitors users brain waves for new sonic content, capturing and saving into a paired mobile device.
The goal is to make sure no sound gets forgotten in the noise of daily life. This product is designed for musicians actively writing and ideating new soundscapes and experiences, who may not be able to capture all their ideas before they fade.
Informed by user testing, several rounds of design have taken Headroom from sketch to screen. Early prototypes quickly showed their flaws, and each new iteration led to insights on designing a more human-centred experience.
Assumptions of user behaviour were at first assumed incorrectly, but quick iteration allowed for constant tweaks and pivots. By the end of testing, user feedback was positive, with most enjoying the experience.
Headroom wasn’t built in a bubble. User research was conducted on local musicians to get a broad understanding of what primary motivations and pain points arise when ideating a song. Common sentiments quickly cropped up and were taken into consideration in the early stages of design.
Musicians interviewed feel driven to act on their musical thoughts in order to keep producing new music.
To execute well they feel an obligation to get ideas down with as much clarity as possible.
Losing both new ideas and past recordings has been a primary pain point for these artists.
Not being able to execute on an idea before a loss in fidelity of the thought is more an issue for the less experienced artist.
Musicians get most ideas while alone. Ideas come best when relaxed, in bed, or in motion.
Musicians are at their most happy during the first spark of an idea and at the very end of the production process.
Every good app needs a business strategy, and with Headroom it’s no different. For a monthly fee, users have access to collaboration functionality, as well as unlimited captures, media, and asset uploads.
This freemium model allows casual users everything they need to get the most out of their wearable, while equipping the pros with powerful new features.
Are you passionate about your mission-based initiative, or working in an impact driven organization? Are you community minded, or employed in music or the arts? Let's touch base to find out how I can help make your next digital project a success.