overview

Apple Music Visualizer is a new feature in Apple Music that translates music into visuals for the deaf and hard of hearing.

Recognition

2019 Young Ones ADC - Bronze in Interactive : UX/UI
2019 ADAA by Adobe - Top Talent Award

focus

User Research & Experience, Concepting, Prototyping, Motion

team

Solo Project

Duration

3 months

There are 466 million people in the world with disabling hearing loss.
And it’s challenging for them to enjoy and understand songs.

Sign Language and Music

Case Study

Research

Competitor Analysis

There are tons of music apps out there. But one for the deaf and hard of hearing? Only a few exist. I felt that there's plenty of room for improvement in both design and functionality of these apps.

User Research

To get a general understanding of the music experience, I conducted a survey, asking people if they think they'll feel more connected to music if they visually saw it. And the results were:

76% yes
16%
maybe

Interviews

Due to challenge of finding a target audience, I decided to use Instagram to reach out. Using the hashtags #deaf #deafcommunity, I asked questions and found some of the most important insights through this process.

Some questions I asked:
1. Please tell me your full name/age/gender
2. Could you explain a bit about your hearing loss?
3. Could you explain your experience with music? Good or bad?
4. What is the most important thing you consider when listening to music? (Vibration, pitch, etc.)
5. Do you like music videos or those music related videos with visuals? Do they help you feel/understand music better?
6. Do you find deaf music interpreters helpful? Do you wish you can see them more often/more easily other than at concerts?
7. Do you use hearing aids? If yes, I heard that they get painful after a while of wearing. Does the same apply to you?
8. Do you feel the vibrations of sounds through hearing aids?And if hearing aids vibrated themselves, would they be more painful?

A huge thanks to everyone who kindly answered my questions so thoroughly.

The following are a few examples of the DM interviews.

Christopher

Hard of hearing

• I listen to music every single day. It’s plays a huge role in my life. It’s one of the few things that keeps me in my zone.

• The videos do help understand what the music is exactly about than my imagination.

• I use to use hearing aids but I got tired of the constant need of replacing them when they get dirty.

Lea

Hearing, ASL Music Interpreter

• The most important thing is to understand and interpret the context of a song.

• I think that everyone has their own way to interpret music.

Raquel

Hard of hearing at birth, currently deaf

• If the music isn’t playing on my iPhone, it’s definitely the vibrations.

• I just got a new cochlear implant recently where it connects the music I play on my iPhone directly into my cochlear, Bluetooth. I’ve been able to enjoy music now like never before. I appreciate it more because I can hear it directly.

• But if there are no lyrics, I love the vibrations of the instruments.

Insights

These are the insights that emerged most frequently throughout my research.

Videos with lyrics help build connections

Some people can hear certain pitches

Understanding the context of the song is key

Everyone interprets songs differently

Some people may not know sign language

Vibrations play a crucial role

Userflow

I. Enable/disable in Settings

Apple already has its own system for accessibility. With a simple addition to the hearing section under Accessibility, you can easily enable Apple Music Visualizer.

II. Inside Apple Music

Out of the 5 areas inside iPhone’s Apple Music, the hearing ability test will take place in the  ‘For You' section for the first time users.

After the user takes the test, the original ‘For You' features will return and users will be able to change the visualizer settings.

'For You'
'Visualizer Settings'

Wireframes

Features

Turn it on easily.

Easily turn on and off Apple Music Visualizer in Accessibility Settings.

Test your hearing ability.

Take the hearing ability test to inform yourself as well as Apple Music, and let it handle it from there.

Watch the lyrics.

Watch the sign language.

Visual Examples

Made with tears and laughter by Yewon Shin

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