Earlier this week, (Monday actually) was the defense for my thesis titled, “Observing Cassette Culture: User Interface Implications for digital Music Libraries“. Every thing went off without a hitch, and although I have a little ‘housekeeping’ to do on the final document before i can publish it, I passed! Today, I thought I would post up the powerpoint presentation I used to deliver the oral part of the defense. It hints at what is to come when i do post the final thesis. Although the outline below is quite abbreviated, it indicates the overall structure and ideas I presented. Thanks to all the participants who agreed to allow their photos to be published, and completed the survey. I am looking forward to continuing this research!
People construct their music listening experiences with the technology that is readily available, and the collection of recorded music they keep.
- Music collections, Tapes and MP3s
- Why cassettes are special
- Research questions
This Research Study
This research observed the images of peoples tapes, as posted on the social photo sharing website flickr.
- Online Ethnography – User centered design
- Bookmarked images on Flickr
- Analyzed images and conducted survey
iTunes and the other music players are not all that bad, I believe however the design of them has been more influenced by the capabilities of the technology, as opposed to the needs of users.
- Organization – Tapes could be browsed. iTunes is organized by default but the entire collection cannot be displayed.
- Personalization – Tapes embodied memories, relationships events. Could be shared.
- Digitization – Physical affordances are lost, such as the musical history.
The analysis of the results showed some behaviors that have not been accounted for in the design of digital music players.
- Images – Showed many examples of “piling”
- Survey – Stars rating system not used (over 75% no)
- Images – Many mixtapes in collections
- Survey – People still give and receive “music mixes”
- Images – Many narratives were documented, (almost every picture has a story)
- Survey – Tapes are kept for sentiment and nostalgia and fear the music will be lost
Indeed, many implications for the design of digital music libraries were noted.
- An un-organized view may be desirable
- Browsing needs better support – visualization
- “Coverflow” does this to some degree
- Tagging may support better playlists
- Playlists should also be customizable
- Sharing needs to be expanded
- Tracking music histories my be useful such personal music charts
- Snapshots of the state of the player at a given time may also be useful
- Where does music go to die?
- Tension between automation and user control