at a glance

Five mockup screens of Soundmate app


Linh Nguyen & Efrain Ramos


UX Researcher, UI/UX Designer


Figma, Maze, Adobe Illustrator


Jan - April 2022



The music streaming industry has been rapidly booming over the past few years with the impact of Covid-19. In 2020, most countries imposed lockdowns to control the virus from spreading. People spend more time at home and stream content than ever, leading to an increasing number of subscribers on music streaming platforms, such as Spotify, Amazon Music, and YouTube Music.

Moreover, platforms such as Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube significantly increased subscribers who engage in live streaming. In the U.S., video content containing music audio has been streaming more frequently. In conclusion, music is a way people connect, and it is constantly shared through various social media platforms.

| Music Streaming Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Service (On-demand Streaming, Live Streaming), By Platform (Apps, Browsers), By Content Type, By End-use, By Region, And Segment Forecasts, 2022 - 2030 |

The problem

Music streaming giants such as Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube Music lack social interactions in their apps, while the demand for social connection is high due to the pandemic.

The solutions

In this fiercely competitive industry, we are considering creating a music streaming app that integrates with an add-on feature related to the social spectrum, which brings the user experience to the next level.




FOLLOW Friends who HAVE the same music taste

  • Connect with their friends with the same music taste easily.
  • Follow their friend's activities which helps to form users' decision-making based on friends' preferences.
  • Interact with their post, such as commenting, like, and sharing.

Recommend & get recommendations

  • Send recommendations easily about the song, album, or podcast to users' friends without hoping to use another platform.
  • Recommend their liked music that matches the mood and trend, when the excitement is still fresh.
  • Get recommendations from people users trust and love to reduce time spent finding what to listen.

Custom your own playlist based on your favorite

  • Users can easily customize their playlists. Add their new favorite songs to playlists from the search bar or their friends' sharing.
  • Easy to remove the ones that users don't like anymore.

Design thinking framework

This is how I came up with the solutions, let me walk you through.



Market Research
Competitive Analysis
User Interview & Survey
Affinity Map



User Persona
User Journey
Problem Statement
Brainstorming Feature





prototype & test

Usability Testing
High-Fidelity Prototype
Affinity Map
Final Prototype

01. empathize

Understand the market & users

I begin the project by conducting research to get more context of the landscape & understand people, their needs, and their motivations. Before diving into research, I set out a research plan for where I'm headed including research goals, assumptions, questions, and methodologies. The research finding plays a crucial role in laying a foundation for ideating solutions in a later stage.

market Research

I started with analyzing the market to get a better understanding of the music stream industry, how it has changed since the pandemic, and who is the target audience of the market.

Due to Covid-19, people spend more time at home and stream content than ever, leading to an increasing number of subscribers on music streaming platforms, such as Spotify, Amazon Music, and YouTube Music.

competitive analysis

Spotify is the top competitor within the commercial music app community.

Through my research, I found:

  • Majority of the demographic is young people under 35 (26% from 18-24 ad 29% from 25-34).
  • American is the main audience, but it is also very popular globally.
  • Dark user interface makes UI components stand out more. The typeface is basic san-serif that is easy to read.
  • Users can easily customize personal playlists on Spotify.

User Research

  1. Gain insight into people's experiences, pain points, and needs with music streaming.
  2. Determine the impact of people's social life regarding music streaming.
  3. Gain a better understanding of how people share their music with others.
  • 4 participants
  • Age range: 21-34 years old
  • Country: the United States and Vietnam
  • Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube Music active users, who have their own accounts
Key findings
  • 4/4 of the participants mentioned listening to music is their favorite way to entertain.
  • 3/4 of participants mentioned that reviews and ratings, friends' recommendations, social media influences, and favorite songs are primary factors when it comes to deciding what to listen to because they feel seeing suggestions on platforms couldn't enough attracting.
  • People tend to share or recommend content with their friends and family after finding something good.
  • Most participants frequently share with their friends about the song they like through message apps (Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat) and normal conversation.
(Details of research finding was documented here.)


Concreting the problems

User PERsona

After having a clear portrait of who target users are, I created the user persona to represent key audience segments. It helps me tackle the most critical problems and address the significant needs of the most important user groups.

User Persona for Soundmate appUser Persona for Soundmate appUser Persona for Soundmate app


With the user journey, persona, and insights from the research stage, I generated a series of How Might We questions to fuel my process for a solution brainstorming session later on.

  • How might we help users effortlessly discover new music on the music streaming platform?
  • How might we help users get recommendations on what new song to listen to from the people they trust in a seamless and convenient way?
  • How might we provide a way for the user to easily share or recommend what she has listened to with friends and family within the app?


Next, Efrain & I started a brainstorming session together with the listed How Might We questions. We spent 2-3 minutes brainstorming the solutions for each problem and replaying the process with a second round to develop as many solutions as possible.

We want to create a music app that blends modern streaming with social media. Music is a way in which people connect, and it is constantly shared through various social media platforms. Our app would allow users to share the music they are currently listening to, engage in friends' music share posts, and send music directly to other users. This app targets young adults who frequently use social sharing music will become a much easier and more enjoyable experience under one platform.

03. ideate

generating solutions to the problems


After deciding what features to include, I created a site map to define the overall content structure of the Soundmate app when integrating the new social feature. The goal is to make a logical and easy route for users to navigate while shying them away from being overwhelmed when my persona is in the mood for entertainment and doesn't want to waste time to obtain the goals.

Sitemap for Soundmate app

Wireframing & Prototype

I created a wire flow to represent the layout of the pages in tandem with communicating ideas regarding interaction design and user workflows. These designs focused on social interaction, recommendations, and privacy settings to help users stay engaged with their loved ones within the app and have complete control over their activities.

Wireframing & Prototype for Soundmate app

initial prototype

04. Prototype & Test

Building representation of ideas & refining

Usability Testing

With the initial prototype ready, I then drafted an early usability test plan by defining the core tasks for users to complete, questions for them during testing time, and the note-taking template. Wireframe testing helped my design evolve in a way that made it more usable and functional. I also found errors early on in the process, saving me time and energy when building high-fidelity.

User Flows

hIGH-FIDELITY prototype, ready to test

It is time to test my design choices and assumptions that have been made about the navigability, the screens, and the actions associated with different tasks. I then added interactions & animations to the high-fidelity wireframes to generate a prototype.

I used Maze to test with other 8 users, and here is the result:

  • 100% of users completed Log in, Sign up and Edit profile tasks.
  • 87.5% of users could Play a song.
  • 87.5% of users are familiar with engaging in a sharing post.
  • Only 25% of users know how to remove a song from the playlist.
Usability testing result


The demographic of our initial interviewees are young adults who are students or have careers, and who use both social media and music streaming quite often in their day-to-day lives. For that, we decided to blend social media and music streaming into one platform, an app that focuses on the sharing of music. After testing our high-fidelity mobile app, one of the challenges that users faced was being able to remove songs or edit playlists. We fixed that issue by adding a tooltip indicating the action that allowed the removal of songs.

Something surprising about the testing was that some users felt unfamiliar with it because they were Apple Music users and not Spotify users. However, some users felt that the app was very intuitive because of its similarities to Spotify. Although we used Spotify as our main inspiration, we tried to create an app layout that was not entirely related to Spotify. Something we learned about the experience was the range of mobility within screens and the amount of interactivity that pages needed to create the best user experience. We also learned to recognize the major aspects of both music streaming and social media apps to create a good blend in one app.

Wanna say hey?

If you’d like to talk about a project, collaboration, or just to say hello over coffee, please feel free to drop me a line here or email me at
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