Smart playlists created for your mood and favourite genres
Artist galleries and listening stats
Scrobble* music to your Last.fm profile
See who’s on tour
*scrobble: skrob·bul (ˈskrɒbəll) [verb]
To automatically add the tracks you play to your Last.fm profile with a piece of software called a Scrobbler
If I’m not scrobbling the music I hear, it doesn’t count!
Following the iOS design principle of “do one thing really well” we decided to spilt the Last.fm service into three distinct apps which serve clearly different use: radio streaming, exploring and scrobbling your music collection, and finding events to see. This meant coming up with a family of icons that were different enough to be distinct, yet belonged together and clearly reflected the brand.
The solution was inspired in part by the style of exisiting brand illustrations, but simplified and using geometric shapes. Each icon has a loose concept:
Radio: (Obvious!) is personal radio, so radiating waves… no brainer. Scrobbler: The Scrobbler enhances your local music collection with Last.fm UGC tagging data and creates automated personal playlists. The icon shows inverted triangles, representing focusing lots of music down to the point of the tracks you really want to listen to. Events: The icon shows a horizon with points radiating out, representing the points of a globe where you can see your music live.
I’ve been working with our MIR team (Music Information Retrieval) on the new instant playlisting engine, designed to provide instant playlists from collections of any size.
The guys have created a playlisting demo which you can try out against your Last.fm profile. Please ty it out give us your feedback. You can also read Mark Levy’s background to the technology on the Last.fm blog.
My part in this has been to think about the user experience and ensure that the catagories we choose to create fit with the natural expectation and behaviors that people use when making their own playlists. This engine will form part of a new iOS product I’m designing for Last.fm.
In my last few months at Time Out I was asked to create some concepts for a Time Out London iPad app. The designs were intended as a discussion point for possible commercial opportunities such as advertising and paid-for content, but also to have something visual to get excited about.
Time Out are the best known for providing “What’s on” information for London to help people find something to do, but they also have strong editorial content on life in London, such as: opinion pieces, cultural commentary and reviews.
The brief I was given for this app concept was that it should feel like a magazine, but have a prominent search facility, however as started mapping out the use cases (below) I quickly came to the conclusion to that there should be a browsable magazine style app (this was a whole year before Newstand and Adobe’s iOS publishing tools), and a separate productivity app for finding things to do. In general, apps are best when they are focused on one purpose or solving one user goal, which makes for a simpler UI. For me, the use case of a productivity tool and a sit back and browse a magazine felt somewhat at odds with each other.