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Background

Timeline

Sep. 2022 – Nov. 2022

Role

Interaction designer

Team

1 pm, 2 engineers, 1 AI engineer

Overview

An app that helps people relax by feeling music and massage synchronously

We aimed to build a digital solution to help people get rid of the daily grind with better accessibility. FeelSound is an Android app that can translate any Spotify music to our Bluetooth-connected device and offers gentle massage based on the beats of songs. With the help of our trusting partner, Seroton, we launched a minimum viable product (MVP) within 3 months during the project at Digital Product School(DPS) by UnternehmerTUM.

Process

Design Thinking + Lean Startup + Agile

Problem space

“Wouldn’t it be great if getting a good massage would be as easy as playing a song on Spotify?”

During DPS, we cooperated with our startup partner, Seroton, which has newly stepped into the massage hardware industry, to build a better solution for people who need relaxation. With our partner’s early-stage massage prototype, we were challenged to explore an innovative aspect of enjoyment.

Photo: We visited Seroton’s office and laboratory in Gunzenhausen, Germany to better understand their technology.

Research

First, let’s listen to users and understand what they think about “Massage”

.Interview

To discover more insights, we conducted several user interviews first. We used free massage as a trigger in a co-working space to recruit interviewees. The followings were what we learned:

1. People tend to use massage machines for well-being or to relieve light pain rather than resolving severe physical pain.

2. Lack of accessibility is one of the main reasons people don’t do massages often.

3. Customising service is one of the key points.

.User Journey map

We integrated the insights and came up with the user journey map for the office use case to help the team better understand and empathize with users.

.Other tools we used

Lean Canvas and Bull’s Eye

Brainstorming

Challenge: What value can we offer when the hardware is still at the early stage?

Our partner’s massage hardware was not strong enough. The word ‘Massage’ gave users a certain physical expectation. Our research showed us that there were many hardware-related problems, so we needed to brainstorm an available approach based on what we had.

Tipping point: Focusing on mental well-being

With our partner’s different types of hardware prototypes, we conducted some user tests to help us dig into users’ pain points and define users’ needs.

Our team came up with the following results:

We put the mattress topper on of big speakers and received very positive feedback.
  1. For well-being, providing an immersive experience with music was a very engaging and innovative feeling.
  2. We could create value by improving mental relief and make it our unique selling proposition(USP).

Hypothesis

“Developing an immersive solution(MVP) that music and feelings are in sync will help users have a better relaxing experience.”

Turning our WBG question into: “Wouldn’t it be great if breaking away from everyday life would be as easy as playing a song on Spotify?

Instead of focusing on good massage, we thought offering a solution to get rid of the daily grind was more valuable and feasible. We decided to build an app, namely FeelSound, that could transmit music information to real feelings on the device. We used Spotify’s open data as a music resource because Spotify is one of the most popular streaming music platforms in the world. Due to some technical restrictions of current hardware, we created a “mini” prototype from scratch by putting six bladders that our partner provided into a cushion to quickly test our ideas in our MVP.

Prototype

Rapidly: Build → Test → Iterate

From wireframe to hi-fidelity mockups

Based on our research, there were some features we implemented on our FeelSound app.

1. Music types/playlist suggestion

Even though we would make all music from Spotify available to transmit to bladders, we offered recommended playlists to help users match their needs faster.

2. Clear adjustment interface

Users needed clear and intuitive access to adjust different functions, such as sensitivity level, on/off button, changing music list, etc.

3. Focusing locations

Users cared about the usability of changing focusing locations.

Usability test

We conducted usability tests with 10 users to get feedback and iterated for the prototype.

1. Quick start, clear adjust options while experiencing it

We found out that users were impatient before they felt the massage. Therefore we decreased the setting steps and showed adjustment options on one page when the massage started. Users needed to modify options according to their feeling at the moment.

2. Appropriate copywriting

Because it was an innovative experience for users, the copies we provided needed to be concise and clear. For example, we used ’match your mood’ in the previous version of the prototype to ask users to choose their purpose for massage, but some of them misunderstood that it meant to show their current mood. Therefore we learned the wording we used should be understandable and obvious.

    Deliverables

    Our result

      Clear adjustment options

      All the adjustment options are integrated on one page, and the focusing area can be easily chosen by clicking within the reach of the thumb. Since the user is adjusting while enjoying the massage, the interface should be clear and intuitive without too much effort to explore.

      Easy to control playlist

      Users can simply view the list of songs they are experiencing, and can also easily switch to other categories. It’s all as easy as listening to music on Spotify.

      Easy to control playlist