The Origin Story
Untz...Untz...Untz...Electronic Dance Music (EDM) has made it's way into music lover hearts since the 70's. Although the sound has evolved over the years, EDM has become more than just music, it's an experience, a community.
An avid EDM listener myself and event attendee, to my surprise, there are limited social apps dedicated to the rave community despite the growing popularity and a strong global presence - the three largest EDM festivals in the world welcomed well over one million attendees in 2019.
Why hasn't this niche market been tapped into just yet?
RaveFam is a social media platform connecting the EDM community.
It is also my final mobile case study/ passion project done while completing the User Experience Design Course at General Assembly.
The Design Challenge
The intention for this project was to design a mobile social community that created deeper connections between ravers where they can connect after events with like-minded individuals and feel comfortable sharing their experiences, insights, and freely express their creativity and unique individuality.
My goals were to:
Build the foundation of the beginnings of an online Rave community
Have an events calendar to keep track of upcoming events and artists
Develop a way to share various forms of media
Create a fun and whimsical environment similar to that found at EDM events
I was the sole designer on this project gathering feedback from ravers, classmates, and my instructor.
My tasks included the end-to-end design process: User Research, Wireframing, Information Architecture, Visual Design, Prototyping, and Usability Testing.
(Above) A final prototype screen. Keep scrolling through my case study to see how it all came together!
Within the past decade, EDM has taken on the music scene by storm with a rise in popularity. The proof is in the numbers.
Virtual Live Events
Physical events came to a halt once the pandemic happened in 2020 - but this opened the doors to virtual events - and the EDM community's demand was very present.
Virtual Music Festival
Secret Sky Festival 2020
Rave Culture is a Lifestyle
Looking past the hard numbers, rave culture is much more than just attending events, it is a lifestyle. The rave community brings people from all walks-of-life together, supporting positivity, creativity, and uplifting each other.
In a world structures around so many societal confinements, electronic music provides a magical escape without judgment or limitations. The only requirements for joining the EDM community are good vibes, PLUR and a love for the music.
-Mariann Roberts, iHeartRaves
Planning out the Research
Having done the research, I was pretty set on choosing raving as a topic and it was time to hear out and see what ravers had to say. To help stay on track - I created a research plan prior to conducting user research interviews.
Discover how to better connect ravers outside of EDM events.
What can allow ravers to feel a part of the rave community?
Young at Heart
What is the rave community lacking?
What do users need out of the community?
How do users stay connected?
What, How, Why?
I've conducted dozens of user interviews in the last year with millennial ravers (ages 20-28) varying in rave experience from decade ravers to first-time ravers.
The user interviews allowed for direct insight from ravers that actively engage with the community, via physical events and social media, enabling me to understand potential problem areas they face.
28, Client Services
Los Angeles, CA
14 years of raving
“I have three separate accounts.. I don’t want my interests to mix or.. having to sift through just to see rave related content..”
8 years of raving
“It’s hard to feel the community once you leave an event”
Los Angeles, CA
2 years of raving
“I try to avoid posting rave related stuff on my public account because I’m afraid someone.. will judge me”
They Feel Part of a Greater Community
All interviewees mentioned they felt a connection with other ravers while at EDM events and expressed their love for raving.
They Want to Share Memories
All interviewees share their memories via social media to relive past experiences. Two interviewees shared their worry about their public image thus created private secondary accounts to post on.
They Need Easier Access
Most interviewees expressed their frustrations accessing event information, general rave tips, and creative inspiration. They mentioned the pain and extra work of having to use multiple platforms to obtain what they needed.
They Need Help Staying Organized
All interviewees mentioned they have no clear organized method of keeping track of shows, concerts, festivals and meetups resulting in missed opportunities and FOMO.
Using the results of the interviews, I looked to create personas who embody the traits of the target audience. I chose to create the first-time raver as the user is new to the community and looking to jump right in!
Cole S. First-Time Raver
20 years old
Los Angeles, CA
1st year of raving
Never knows what to wear to events - doesn’t know where to start!
Doesn’t like having to go on different websites to find information about upcoming events
Wants a safe space to feel accepted
Discover new artists to stay “in the know”
Easy way to find group outfit inspiration
Feel comfortable posting personal content
Wants to comfortably post rave related content without any judgment
To access, schedule, and share upcoming events and shows
Engage with the EDM community
Ravers need a central platform to share and access content online because they want to stay connected with and feel a part of the rave community.
How Many Competitors?
Hint - ONE.
Based on market research, I identified the demographic as being age 18-35 years old and had a better understanding of what platforms were out there.
I identified several direct and indirect competitors to analyze their features to understand their strengths and weaknesses.
The direct competitors are social media platforms, Radiate being the only EDM focused app, while the indirect competitors are EDM related focusing on the music and events.
Highlights: Social network focused on EDM. Creating connections and sharing content & events.
Cons: Not much PLUR, upvoting content misses out on other, groups are not moderated (solicitations)
Highlights: Social network. Creating and sharing events.
Cons: Too broad in finding one main EDM community.
Highlights: Visual timeline & discover page to browse other profiles. Share media and video.
Cons: Too broad in finding one main EDM community. Need to make multiple accounts to access a specific algorithm.
Highlight Feature: Message boards allowing the sharing of insights, tips, and opinions. Cover range of EDM topics. Sense of community.
Cons: UI not very user friendly. No personalized profile to share.
Give the Ravers What they Want!
(or in this case, what they need)
Keeping in mind the user persona, Cole, a first-time raver, I brainstormed and prioritized potential features to best meet his needs: post content, discover new artists and find inspiration.
Above all, this app is meant to be a social platform thus social media features are a must followed by EDM-event catered needs such as a personalized and editable events schedule.
Features to build out first
So Many Features!
But What Stays?
Deciphering features to include in the app, the project needed to be phased out prioritizing the features with the most value for users.
With a focus on a social sharing app, features that aligned with content sharing, personalized profile and messaging were a priority plus these seemed realistic and doable thinking about my future mobile developers.
Accounts & Posts
The project quickly got messy the further I dove into its' potential with the various app features in mind. How would a first time user use this app? Was there a clear trajectory to complete tasks? There was only one way to test this out - user flows.