Thesis: User Scenarios, Naming, First Design Steps

The past two weeks have pretty much been split in half. The first half was a lot of doodling and spending time in my own head trying to untangle the design problems in front of me. The second half was spent on visual design and trying to make my ideas seem more tangible.

In short, I made decisions about what I want my app to specifically accomplish, I have a [working] name, and I have developed 4 User Stories/Scenarios that will help when I move more deeply into UX/UI.


After circulating the User Scenario Questionnaire, I had some decisions to make:

  • Generated vs. Curated One big question was whether I wanted Users to be able to search and add songs to locations anywhere or if I wanted to limit the experience to generation alone. Based on the hurdle I experienced with User Testing and people having a hard time 'curating' a mix tied to a location, I decided to focus my thesis on the generation of mix tapes. I.e., the app will track your location and music consumption data, tie it together, and then allow the User to tie tracks together into a mix, or send individual songs, both tied to a physical location.
  • Tracks vs. Mixes I got a lot of feedback about a mix maybe being too involved, both to generate and to consume, and a lot of people suggested that they'd like to get notifications based on their proximity to tracks that have been 'dropped' in specific places by their friends.
  • Network/User Base This is less of a design constraint and more of a back-end thing, but I've been thinking a lot about whether the activity of this app is sent to an entire network (Facebook or Spotify or something), or if it's something more intimate (shared amongst 5 friends or less). I've decided that my thesis will focus on the latter. This is both interesting to me in its possibility to fail, as well as a more feasible plan programmatically.

I have gone through a ton of brainstorming exercises for names for my app, and, at least for the moment, have landed on (read: Dig It). I bought the doman name '', because of it's lighthearted reference to the Tag Team song (Whoomp, There [My Thesis] Is), but also because of the reference to unearthing these buried tracks. Apps that use geolocation usually don't acknowledge it… it's 'invisible' data. Sometimes it's 'locked', like with Foursquare. I like the idea of something being buried, and dug up by the User.

Also, here's a working logo:


I first broke down my mobile experience into two categories: Mixer and Mixee, or, Sender and Receiver. This is consistent with the User Scenario Questionnaire I circulated. Then, I tried to imagine different Use Cases based on the decisions above. This resulted in 4 Personas/User Scenarios/Stories:

  • The Curator This is a Mixer who actively listens to tracks in a specific order and in a certain location as a way of curating a mix. In the docs below, this is Ryan.
  • The Mix Explorer This is a Mixee who receives and listens to mixes by exploring the map and unlocking tracks in a specific order. In the docs below, this is Ryan's girlfriend, Kelly.
  • The Commemorator This is a Mixer who listens to tracks in a specific location and commemorates the time and space by later sharing the track with friends. In the docs below, this is Drake.
  • The Track Discoverer This is a Mixee who passively consumes tracks mostly based on push notifications that there is a nearby track to unlock. In the docs below, this is Drake's friend, Will.

Rather than going through User Scenario docs and traditional wireframes, I skipped ahead to try to get what I was envisioning in my head down on paper. Maybe a disproportionate amount of work at this stage, but I've found it's been very helpful for me to be able to see this lumpy mass of ideas that has been my thesis so far. Here are my 'sketches' for each persona: