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User Interfaces for Music Discovery


User Interfaces for Music Discovery

Ashley Oudenne and Doug Turnbull

The user interface is an important component of any system. The interface must be easy enough for a user to master in just a few moments, but complex enough to meet all of a user's needs. In a music discovery system, the interface is even more important, because the controls it provides to users must encourage users to try out new songs and artists so that they will discover new music. People typically want more features and controls, but sometimes additional features can limit the amount of new music a user discovers.

This summer, Professor Doug Turnbull and Ashley conducted a user study to determine whether extra features and controls enhance or detract from the music discovery experience. They created a music discovery interface called Meerkat that allowed them to test different combinations of features on volunteer testers. These testers used Meerkat for one week and took introductory and concluding surveys about their experience while using Meerkat.