SquareOne Piano was a business idea of mine to help people who learn to play the piano by themselves i.e. self-learn. Since it was a self-initiated project, the problems and objectives were not predefined. However, the idea started early before the project. As a classical pianist, I have always been interested in helping others to learn to play the piano because of all the greatness that my music training has brought to me.
Starting with Observation and Experience
I like to spend my free time on YouTube videos. Particularly because of my music interest, I go to watch videos of people playing the piano or educating about music. Then I started to realise that many pianists there are self-taught. By posting their performance, they would like to share progress and receive feedback from viewers. Moreover, some popular channels would extend their community beyond Youtube to other media platforms such as Discord. People spontaneously interact with each other to discuss their experiences of self-learning.
1. The Problem
The reason why people go self-learning is that they find it more flexible and budget-friendly over traditional and regular piano classes. The main methods of self-learning are video classes and interactive learning apps. However, both have underserved their target. Video classes such as Youtube separate their learning from the hands-on experience, while interactive apps are not able to pinpoint the implicit yet important qualities such as musicality and posture. As the result, although self-learners are often characterized by being self-driven, their overall learning experience has been incomplete to help them pursue their goals.
2. Solution & User Research
The initial idea put forth an integrated platform that includes an interactive learning program, curated content, and social media function. While users learn to play a piece using the interactive program, they will be able to invite friends to their room to have a chat. Apart from playing there will also be much other content for them to look at.
The survey findings tell that respondents are interested in the comprehensive platform, and see the need for change to the current self-learning methods.
3. Competitor Analysis
As the validation to the hypothesis, the environmental scan shows there are no products that could include all-on-one in-depth music knowledge, interactive program and community features. Which makes SquareOne Piano a unique and plausible idea to develop upon.
The primary users are intended to be young adults as they are more likely to spend long hours in a day on the internet and to learn new skills. I created the persona of Kevin, a college student. On the other hand, the secondary users will be music educators, content creators and influencers who provide curated content.
5. User flow & Journey Mapping
It is imagined that in the real use case of such a new product, the main happy moments come from the clear indications of the product functioning right and they are having progress on their learning. What they do not want to see is the product fails without them knowing or not getting instruction on what to do next to improve their piano skills.
6. Wireframe & Prototyping
The simulation of the use case in the prototype does not require the user to go through a lot of different pages, that is also what we wish to avoid in our design to bring them a smooth experience. More focus is on the interactions that allow the user to get feedback from the system.
7. User Testing & Modification
The user test on the first version receives generally good feedback. Some of the testers pointed out their concern about the size and proportion of text and items. Therefore I make changes accordingly to result in the final version as shown below:
This user flow has shown how the user Kevin sign in to reach the homepage. Then he decides to choose a piece to learn from our recommendation. The user is taken to the information page of the piece to have an understanding before adding it to the practice room. As he starts practising, he invited his friend John to join the room. He got some tips from John then started practising. The program is able to tell what could be wrong in his playing and generate reports for him to understand how to improve before he finished a use session
SquareOne Piano is such a large project that could have only existed in my imagination. But as I picked up my skills and knowledge of UX design, I was able to execute and visualise the project to a certain extent. This is a very unique experience for me, especially considering my entrepreneurship education background, moving from just ideation to hands-on work is a giant step in my learning.
The prototype is not perfect, there were some more transition screens that I wish I included to feedback to the user more clearly. There is as well many parts of the product that I was not able to prototype in the given timeframe. Nonetheless, I was satisfied with the growth of my design thinking and skills.
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