Wander Bristol’s cobbled streets and eavesdrop on the memories of its citizens. The Audience is a new experience by Matt Fenlon Creative that allows you to listen to people’s stories about what Bristol music means to them, and discover new things, people and places.
Download the app from Google Play and the App Store today and start exploring!
In my latest app that I’ve designed as part of the new Bristol Music: Seven Decades of Sound exhibition at the M Shed, you can now explore the streets of Bristol listening to user-generated stories about Bristol Music. To listen to the stories, you have to walk to the physical location displayed on the map, and once you get there the story is triggered automatically by GPS. The result is an immersive experience where you can be stood listening to someone’s story in the very spot that their memory was originally created.
You can also visit the new exhibition at the M Shed to record your own stories and add them to the app.
Plan your visit to Bristol Music: Seven Decades of Sound
For this application, I was responsible for everything from the original concept, UX design, UI design, development and user testing.
Here’s what the M Shed were looking for:
“Located at the end of the exhibition, the ‘Your Bristol
Music’ section is a space for visitors to respond to the content
in the exhibition by contributing their opinions, discuss
and share their own knowledge of music in the city.
“We want a way to connect this conversational space to
the streets of Bristol using the latest digital technologies”.
In response, I proposed the basic principle of the app that you see today, all presented in the form of a proposal document which included key project deadlines and deliverables.
The next step was to research the target audiences and create some user profiles. Creating user profiles allows me to draw together a list of potential needs and requirements for the end users, and helps me understand what they are looking for so I can line their needs up with the needs of the business. This step is always a key stage in making sure the user is at the centre of the rest of the design process.
Once I know who my users are, I can then start trying to design for them. Next, I put pencil to paper and started listing potential content that could be included in the experience in an effort to meet user requirements. Once I have all of my content, I start organising it into pages/sitemaps and wireframes. I like to start building as quickly as possible, so for The Audience, I put a quick prototype together using Adobe XD.
Armed with a functioning prototype, I then started testing my ideas, content and assumptions with real people. With no instructions, I handed the prototype over to potential users and started collecting valuable feedback, which I then prioritise into actionable work or changes for design and development. One piece of valuable feedback that I gained from testing The Audience was the need to add more contextual information at the start of the tutorial. Despite being taken through step by step on how the app works, users still didn’t really understand the general idea of the experience, and therefore an introductory screen was added for when the app is first opened to get around this.
Later in the design process, once I have a fully functioning prototype, I then take that prototype and test in real-world scenarios. In the case of The Audience, I needed to test the GPS functionality, and therefore I followed some potential users around some of the key areas in Bristol.
The main feedback I gained from this test was that some of the GPS hotspots weren’t big enough. In some cases, users weren’t able to trigger hotspots as they were placed inside venues that weren’t accessible outside of opening times. Therefore in this instance, I updated the code to make the hotspots bigger.
Once everything was ready, I then published the first version to Google Play and the App Store. The design process doesn’t end here though, as with this version, I’ve continued to receive feedback on the app through live user testing and I will continue to update the app. For example, the app currently only works when it is open. In the next update, the app will continue to be updated with the user’s location in the background, which means that a push notification can be sent to the user when they’re not using it, thus alerting them that they are near a story, and encouraging them to re-engage with the application.
Give the audience a try for yourself and let me know your thoughts!