Client: Record Mob

Objective: Record Mob was a startup that wanted to create a new music experience for millennials. Their business goals were to attract a core group of indie music enthusiast and grow a user base through social media and social circles.


  • 4 weeks User Research
  • 6-8 weeks Development
Team + My Role:

  • 1 Product Designer (me)
  • 1 Product Manager
  • 2-4 Developers

I coached the client on Lean UX and executed user research, design, and prototyping/user testing.



The client had an idea of who the target user might be. Before starting any designs, there were open questions and assumptions that needed to be validated and clarified. I needed to understand and build a mental model of the target user by gaining insight in their current behaviors around finding new music, listening to music, and how they interacted with social media and friends. You can never be absolutely certain about a user’s future habits, but you can look at their past interactions to inform your decisions around any features.

I screened and recruited 10 participants ages 18-35 by canvasing social media, local music forums, and college campuses. All sessions were in person and conversational ethnographic interviews. Ethnographic interviews promote organic non-leading answers and generate genuine user stories/experiences. After conducting interviews, I noted common patterns and was able to validate the client’s assumptions and dig deeper in current user behaviors.


  • Wants to shop with socially conscious brands.
  • Shares music often.
  • Likely to create content.
  • Listens to > 1 hour a day of indie music.
  • Wants to be fair to artists.


  • Financially limited
  • Rarely buys music
  • Feels music is a lease
  • Goes to a lot of small cheap shows
  • Heavy/moderate posters on social media
  • Likely to have a close-net group chat
  • Likes watching videos online
  • Loves to be the first to share new music within group


After gathering my research, I paired with the client PM to created a persona. Personas are an average of your target user, gathered from insights from and common patterns from user interviews. They’re a great way for building empathy and keeping the user needs in mind with designing and developing.



Before I got started with any sketches, the client and I did a couple exercises around understanding the business strategy.

First we did a lean business model canvas which is a way to visually layout a business proposal, and can help businesses wrap their mind around the current competitive field, up front costs, and potential revenue streams, and what makes their product special and valuable.

Once we understood the business strategy, we did a team brainstorming session using a technique called a dump and sort. All participants in the room were prompted with how to solve a user or business goal, then given 5 minutes to write any ideas big or small on post-it-notes. Afterwards, we grouped similar themed ideas and dot voted ideas that we thought were the most feasible and creative. Each participant got 3 votes.

From there we prioritized top ideas on a 2×2 grid to find the features that were easiest to be built and provided the most user value.


The last step before getting started with the visual design was getting the colors, message, and overall tone of the app just right. I did a mood boarding exercise with the stakeholders to make sure we were all aligned and on brand.

Words that say ‘Record Mob’:

  • Edgy
  • Communal
  • Youth
  • Dark
  • Mono-toned

How we want ‘Record Mob’ to look:

  • Bold, clear, sharp photos
  • Pops of colors
  • Design that makes content the focus
  • Photography with an editorial feel
  • Speaks to the user


I did a visual exploration with layout, user interactions, and color palette.


I recruited a different set of participants to test the prototype before implementation kickoff. Using 5 participants, I showed a interactive prototype made with and loaded it onto an iPhone 6 to test the overall concept and key features.


  • All participants understood concept of app as a daily music discovery app with time sensitive content.
  • Participants seemed to like that a person was curating songs for them instead of an algorithm.
  • Most seemed hesitant to connect through Facebook, but didn’t see it as a barrier.
  • Most are likely to share a song through the app if they liked the song.
  • Most participants wanted a place to save songs they liked.

Participant Quotes:

  • “I usually don’t do that. I don’t like linking all my things together. I don’t really like Facebook accessing all my apps.”
  • “It’s cool that it’s a written interview cause then you can listen to your music and read the interview.”
  • “I like feeling like somebody, like a human, said this is good — listen to it… When it’s a person telling you, I’m personally more likely to listen to it.”
  • “If it was a popular app, I’d probably ask my friends to download it.”
  • “If I used it a lot, I’d probably want the first screen to be a recommended song based on what I like.”


Once features were validated, I paired with the PM and Anchor Dev to prioritize features and ensure 2 weeks worth of stories were in the backlog. We used Pivotal Tracker to manage stories, and we were ready for kick off.


Even though I handed off initial designs to the developers, my job was not done. As a full-stack product designer on this project, I continuously tested and iterated on features until the end of the engagement. Working side-by-side with the developers, I was also on hand to answer any questions related to design and interaction.

Open Questions

Newly enabled, the client PM rolled off ready to work on open questions. I helped him identify what else we needed to validate, noting that most of these questions could be answered with continuous usability tests and analytic data.

  • What does CMS look like from Admin POI?
  • Will fans like watching broadcasts?
  • Will fans like the first song of the day?
  • Will fans be likely to return and check out the next songs of the day?

Final Hand Off

We successfully shipped the 1st build to the iTunes store within six weeks from the start of development. The developers also enabled a client developer to continue building after the engagement. The client left with the knowledge of how to run usability tests, create lean features, and prioritize stories.




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