Research Synthesis Design Solution

Functional Needs 02


02 Functional Needs

In our user needs research we discovered five major themes that were central for music players aimed at our target user group: Appearance, Quality, Total Experience, Access, & Control.

We in turn consolidated these five themes into three themes to apply to our design: (1) The Coolness Factor, (2) Total Experience, and (3) Access and Control. Based on these three major themes and our user research findings we identified a set of specific functional needs for our music player. The needs relating to each theme are detailed below.

The Coolness Factor

This high-level need encompasses both the importance of device appearance and the quality highlighted in our user research. The bottom line is that young moderns want their possessions, especially electronics, to be slick and cutting edge, inspiring envy in their friends and coworkers.

In terms of design, we explored the idea of a central showpiece music player interface that could be featured prominently in a young modern's home. The form factor of a music player is critical to the aesthetic appeal, and based on our user needs research we knew that we wanted to explore materials such as brushed metal, cherry wood, and electric blue and orange glow.

Total Experience

Our research of media targeted towards young moderns highlighted an emphasis on experiencing life to the fullest. The images and text suggested that getting the most out of life meant stimulating all five senses and "complete immersion" in experiences. In terms of music use for young moderns, this translated to the fact that music was used to enhance experiences. In our shadowing and interviews with target users we found that music was selected based on activity or mood because it was meant to enhance the experience of an activity or to enhance or change a mood.

This suggested to us the need for activity or mood based music selection. In addition we wanted to incorporate as many senses as possible in the interaction and experience of the music, thus we wanted to explore the visual and tangible aspects of the interaction and, if possible, even utilize scent to enhance the listening experience.

Access and Control

In our interviews and shopping visits we noted that the ability to access large amounts of music from anywhere in the house, and the ability to control music from anywhere in the house were important to our target demographic. Thus we drew out the high-level themes of access and control. The specific functional needs we wanted to explore in our design were: music play in every room of the house, techniques for controlling music from anywhere in the house, accessing music by mood or activity, and finally guest interaction with music.


IID 2005 . Human-Computer Interaction Institute . Carnegie Mellon University