Tools used: Figma, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe AfterEffects, Google Surveys
As I returned from my attempted around-the-world bicycle trip in Fall 2022, I turned my attention towards projects I could dedicate my efforts to off of the bicycle. Arriving home in Chicago, I spoke with some of my musician friends about what they were up to, asking if they had any shows coming up. In speaking with them about their schedules, I was taken by a question that kept coming up again and again: Why is it so hard to book live music shows?
What resulted from this simple question was a full-scale product design that hoped to address this age-old issue for musicians and venues alike.
Certainly, as a musician myself with some light experience booking shows for my own bands, I echoed this same experience – it always felt more difficult than it really needed to be to connect with venues and schedule shows. And anecdotally, a lot of my peers that I spoke to about this shared many of the same specific complaints – it felt like applying for a job, discouraged by a lack of replies, felt bothered by an inequitable power dynamic, et cetera.
So, I set out to shed some light on these feelings with qualitative research. I set out to answer some foundational questions; does the broader community of both artists and venues feel this struggle? And if so, what specific measures could be addressed by a product to help ameliorate the situation?
I designed a short survey in order to learn more about the answers to these questions, and shared it among my acquaintances in the local community as well as targeted communities of independent musicians online on Reddit.
Folks were passionate about fostering a sense of local community through playing shows, but 1 in 4 had abandoned playing a show purely based on the process required of them. They wanted clarity of communication, and to this point, weren’t finding it.
Synthesizing the results of the surveys, I developed a broad strategy for the goals this product would need to meet in order to be effective in its task – first through ordering their responses by frequency, then by analyzing their content.
With these goals established, I began sketching wireframes on paper to begin finding my way to a solution.
From there, I moved on to lo-fi wireframes in Figma, to allow for some more substantive prototyping.
This interactive prototype was brought to a small group of musician friends for moderated, in-person usability testing.
I synthesized their feedback into actionable goals heading into my hi-fi prototypes.
Musician users need to be able to include samples of audio – ideally linked directly to Spotify APIAction Item #1
Venue users need robust sorting and filtering features in order to navigate solicitations easilyAction Item #2
Musician users wanted to see their profile function as their ‘digital press kit’ – including rich media, pictures, and more.Action Item #3
I incorporated this user feedback into the flow in lo-fi wireframe format before moving on to branding and finalizing visual design in hi-fi prototypes.
Before diving into hi-fi prototypes, I focused on developing a memorable, vibrant brand with which to present these structurally sound user flows.
Leaning on the vibrancy of the local music scene as a metaphor, I chose a memorable, prominently orange palette with carefully considered complementary accents. An approachable set of typeface selections helped convey the ‘friendliness’ I hoped to portray in order to dispel some of the feelings of atomization and disconnectedness around booking shows attested to in my research.
Users can register as an artist or as a venue, but much of the functionality remains the same between types – you can tailor your profile with your promo photos, copy, and audio, even connect your Spotify artist profile. With a quick and easy set up, you can begin building your own bills and submitting them directly to venues, or join up with an existing show. A complete 180 from the days of sending an email and waiting for no reply.
And thus, concerty was born!