Charles Kim
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Songkick provides a platform for music lovers to track their favorite artists on tour, buy tickets and to discover concerts nearby. With over 15 million users worldwide, their goal is to make sure fans never miss another show or festival.



As an avid concert goer myself I wanted to take a closer look at Songkick’s iOS app to discover any pain points or areas of friction. Within 2 weeks, I aimed to design and test solutions that would improve overall usability.




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Disclaimer: I do not work for, nor am I affiliated with Songkick. This was an exploratory case study purely for the sake of learning more about user research and design.

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I conducted guerilla usability testing with 6 participants in San Francisco, 4 of whom had already used Songkick. All of them said they had attended at least a few concerts in the past year. I wanted to make sure that the people I was handing the app over to had an interest in music somewhat. I asked users to do the following tasks:

  1. Find one of your favorite artists and track them.

  2. Buy a ticket to one of their shows.

  3. Explore some concerts that are near you.

  4. Discover some new music you might be interested in.

  5. Change your location and look for concerts in that area.


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Before analyzing my interviews, I created a provisional persona to ask myself, "who am I designing for?" I based their behaviors and goals off some of the people I interviewed and my own assumptions that I wanted to validate at the end of the process.


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After the interviews I went back on my observations and feedback from my participants to identify common points of friction they would encounter while interacting with the app. Below are recurring issues that frustrated or confused the users:

  • Unclear where the buy ticket button was

  • Users didn’t like having to scroll through a whole list to find a tour date near them

  • Users wanted a sample of music or access to it

  • Most users were unsuccessful in finding the setting to change location


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In order to identify which problems were worth solving, I plotted them onto a 2x2 matrix aligned by what would be the most important to the user and to Songkick in terms of their business goals.

  1. I prioritized users being unable to find the correct link to buy tickets as the most pressing for both parties.

  2. Only 1 out 6 participants were able to figure out where to see concerts in their location. They also struggled to find how to change/add locations.

  3. Users continually pointed out the lack of information on the artist pages. They delved into how it would be hard to really discover any new music within the app.


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With the main issues identified I began ideating possible solutions to implement into the existing UI. Here are the 4 main screens I felt would have the most impact with a redesign or quick tweak.  


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After a few iterations, I came up with final mockups integrating my redesign. Side-by-side comparison below. 



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After creating a prototype I ensured that redesigns improved usability through validation testing with 6 new users.


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This case study was definitely a challenge but gratifying in that I achieved the learning goals I set out in the beginning. During the research process, I realized just how much bias could sway what I thought were points of friction. What looks nonsensical to me could look easy to someone else. Ideating my own solutions also uncovered other problems I hadn’t seen, especially having to design for mobile. However I believe that the most creative ways to solve a problem are born out of having constraints in the first place.


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