Thursday, April 19, 2007
Observing Cassette Culture
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
Thursday, April 05, 2007
I have been immersered in this topic for months now, and its all about to be come to a conclusion at long last. Im pretty stoked. More results, pics, and the thesis itself will be posted here soon. For now I will will leave you with the abstract which I will be defending in 11 DAYS! :
Many people keep their collections of music on cassette tape even if they rarely listen to them. Images of these collections can be found online on photo sharing websites. What can we learn from such collections and what might they tell us about designing interfaces for new digital music libraries? The author conducts an online ethnographic study of over two hundred cassette tape collections, and over sixty participants with the aim of guiding future design of music collections. The author presents design heuristics and guidelines for interfaces of digital music libraries.
and yes... this is pretty much what I have felt like for the last 6 months. Ironically, as much as I am waiting for this to be done, I am equally looking forward to continue exploring and researching this topic. cassette nation!!!