ATX Music Collected

Background

ATX Music Collected is a prototype website designed for the community to share and catalog items related to Austin music history. The site serves as an interactive way for people to browse this history, share their stories and items, and contribute their expertise on the subject through crowdsourced description. This site was created as part of a user-centered research and design project for the Technology Innovation and Strategy department at UT Libraries.

This project was completed as the capstone professional project requirement of my Master’s degree in Information Studies at the University of Texas. My supervisor for this project was Jennifer Hecker, a digital scholarship strategist at UT Libraries.

Initial Concept

The idea for ATX Music Collected grew out of the goal to enable users to community catalog an ephemera collection donated to UT Libraries from a recently closed Austin music store, venue and community gathering space called Trailer Space.

Process

The ATX Music Collected project employed a human-centered design process that considered potential users at all stages of initial requirements gathering, research, ideation, and iterative design and testing.

Brief

With the goal of enabling the community to catalog the Trailer Space Ephemera collection in mind, I met with my supervisor to discuss needs for the project. In our initial meetings, we examined the Trailer Space Ephemera collection at the UT Fine Arts Library. The collection consists of multiple types of media, such as posters, drawings, and in some cases historic trash - like a Powerboy Donuts wrapper.

Our first steps were to draft tool requirements and define an initial metadata schema for the collection. The initial requirements were that the tool allows for user’s crowdsourced contribution and description of ephemera from both Trailer Space and Austin music in general. The initial metadata schema focused on posters; however, later in the project, I realized multiple schemas were necessary to apply to the variety of media types users would potentially contribute.

The action items from this project kick-off were to examine the Raiders of the Lost Archives site and perform research to gather requirements directly from users through launching a survey and conducting interviews.

Research

In the research phase of this project, I performed a heuristic evaluation of the Raiders of the Lost Archives site and a competitive evaluation of several crowdsourced collections applications. I sought to gather requirements directly from users through launching a survey and conducting interviews.

Heuristic Evaluation

The first phase of research included performing a heuristic evaluation of the Raiders of the Lost Archives tool, which revealed some limitations in the platform’s functionality to collect metadata for various formats and work as an interface outside of in-person events. The focus of the project shifted to design of a new tool (what would become ATX Music Collected) that would allow for greater flexibility and incorporate the input of users earlier on in the design process.

View heuristic evaluation with annotated screenshots here.

Competitive Evaluation

I then looked at 8 existing crowdsourcing applications through competitive intelligence gathering. I examined these applications for their task flows, audience, visual design, and strengths and weaknesses.

View competitive evaluation here.

Survey, Interview and Card Sorting

This presentation summarizes the 90 survey, 4 interview and card sorting results conducted for this project. The survey and interview questions were designed to gather information about user’s current and past experience with the Austin music scene and features that would support them in this space.

View presentation here.

Ideation

I took the data acquired in the user research phase and created deliverables such as an affinity diagram, usage scenarios, a storyboard, user task flow, and metadata schemas for the various formats of user-contributed items.

Affinity Diagram

In order to make sense of the data collected from the surveys, interviews and card sorting, I created an affinity diagram to understand user’s current experience, wishes, and features to support user needs.

Website Features

Based off of the primary features identified in the affinity diagramming exercise, I drafted the primary ATX Music Collected website features that I would focus on designing in the initial prototype.

Scenario and Storyboard

In order to stay connected to the desires of the people I surveyed and talked with in my research phase, I created a scenario and storyboard to understand how and why they would use ATX Music Collected.

Task Flow

I created an initial task flow chart to define the site architecture and clarify a path for going forward into the design phase.

Design and Test

I took the data acquired in the user research phase and created deliverables such as an affinity diagram, usage scenarios, a storyboard, user task flow, and metadata schemas for the various formats of user-contributed items.

Prototype

I created three versions of prototype design for this project. The first round was a hand drawn sketch that was made interactive using Marvel. The second round was a medium-fidelity prototype created in Illustrator and made interactive using Invision. The final round was a high-fidelity prototype created in Illustrator and Axure.

See below slides for the progression of design for the Home and Item Detail pages.

Site Style Guide

Following the creation of the medium-fidelity prototype, I created a site style guide to ensure consistency of fonts, colors, icons and layout for the high-fidelity prototype. View full site style guide here.

Test

I tested the ATX Music Collected website prototype versions with 15 total users. I performed iterative design and testing in this phase of the project. Following each version of prototype, I tested it with 4-6 users, generated design recommendations, and incorporated them into the next round of prototype.

Deliverables

For this project, I created a website prototype and a poster describing the project for the University of Texas School of Information capstone open house.

Website Prototype

Click here to view the high-fidelity website prototype of ATX Music Collected.

ATX Music Collected screen

Open House Poster

I presented the ATX Music Collected project at the University of Texas - School of Information Open House on May 6th, 2016. This is the poster that I used as part of my presentation to display my project overview and overall process.

ATX Music Collected Capstone Poster

Looking Forward

The creation of a site like ATX Music Collected would serve as an interactive means for community engagement around an essential aspect of Austin, TX - its rich music scene and history. The collection of such community-sourced items and their surrounding metadata would result in excellent source material for digital humanities oriented projects such as data visualization and digital mapping. This particular phase of the project concluded with recommendations for existing open source frameworks to use for actual site development and a draft of features for future design consideration.

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