I was challenged to ‘change behaviour through design’. Through my research I decided to create a motivating application that would help musicians to practice their instruments.

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Design an application interface which changes behaviour through design.


A digital application to prompt and help people maintain their music practice.

My Research and Findings

I began this project by facilitating a brainstorm session with university students to find about some of the problems they face. One of the ideas that I decided to research further was ‘Turning sheet music into sound’. Upon further investigation I found that this problem had already been solved.

As I inquired further into the issue, I observed a person while they were practicing their musical instrument. During this session I investigated how they practiced and how often.

I used the 5 why’s technique to ask about their problems deeper as the original problem was too narrow and specific. After completing this I found that the primary goal of music is to ‘create music enjoyable for the listener’ and that most activities resolve around achieving this goal.

Next, I generated some interview questions and interviewing people who play instruments regularly. I found that one of the most frustrating and hardest parts of playing an instrument was practicing and maintaining practice habits.

These findings led me to creating an app which helps a musician with their practice.

My Ideation and Inspiration

After researching the problem, I began to think about a solution. I investigated the hook model by Nir Eyal, which uses rewards and investment to create habits and encourage behaviour. Many well-known applications such as Facebook and Instagram use similar models to keep people using their apps.

I also took inspiration from Memrise and Duolingo, which are two applications to help you learn a new language. Learning music is similar to learning a language. These applications use rewards and strategies to keep people practicing daily. 

My Development

I designed and prototyped the interface using Adobe XD.

I designed the application with two use cases. One use case is if the user doesn’t know how to play an instrument, the application would provide educational images and quizzes to assist the user with learning an instrument. The second case is if the user knows the basics of their instrument but needs assistance with their practice.

I like to to test early and quickly in case an idea is not working so I tested the prototype’s usability with my target user group.

Some insights I gained through this phase was that there should be an experience or mastery page which informs the user of where they are currently in terms of their progress. Other areas of the application were ambiguous and needed further textual clarification.

I progressed developing the fidelity of the application.

For my final testing I used emotional evaluation methods such as AttrakDiff, Preemo and Affect grids to measure the emotional experience of using the application. These tools are used to gauge the emotional experience of using the application, the ideal experience is one where the users are engaged with the task at hand and find the experience enjoyable.

After testing using these tools to I uncovered many insights into how to improve the functionality and emotional response of the application. This included changing the colour scheme, adding a karaoke styled effect, a consistent navigation bar and increasing complexity of the daily tasks.

The final design was found to be a positive experience.

My Takeaways

Do your research, the first problem that was given to me was either already solved or wasn’t that impactful due to its implementation previously not taking off.

Test early and often, early testing showed me important concepts that should be implemented. This was important to contributing to my research and project direction. Testing also directed me and assisted me with making design decisions.