Jook is a side project I’ve been working on with Lucas Kuan and Matthieu Bodin. I focus on design, front-end web development, user testing, and data analysis.

Discovering the problem

Our project spawned from a specific problem my colleagues and I faced during the summer of 2015. Lucas, Matthieu and I worked in a small office room. We loved playing music on speakers while we worked.

Our office

The set up was simple. Matthieu hooked up his computer to the speakers, and played music on Spotify. Although we shared similar tastes in music, Lucas and I would make song requests whenever we felt like a change of music.

Why did we feel the urge to change the music?

  • To share music that we like
  • To have a sense of control, a voice/opinion
  • To change the mood by playing something different

After a few weeks, we sensed that requesting songs became disruptive to our work. We tried sending Spotify links on Slack to make it easier for Matthieu, but it still felt disruptive. We tried using a shared playlist on Spotify, but it didn’t feel spontaneous. What if we could each queue songs from our own devices without bothering each other?

Four years at art school and I still can’t draw straight lines.

We decided to build an app to do that—a jukebox for our office room that uses Spotify’s API. As we designed and developed the prototype, we realized that we could use the jukebox app outside of the office—for things like parties and startup events that we organized or attended.

Initial host and guest diagram

The host is responsible for:

  1. Hosting the jukebox through the app.
  2. Inviting guests by sharing the jukebox link.

The guest:

  1. Learns about the jukebox at the event.
  2. Opens the link to jukebox on browser (no log-in required to reduce friction), and sees the song currently playing and queued songs.
  3. Adds songs to the queue and upvote songs added by others.
Web app screenshots

At a small party, the host can easily tell everyone about the jukebox, and share a link to them through a group chat. At larger events, this becomes more tricky. Strangers are less likely to try something new, so broadcasting it is not as easy. We later learned from hosts that guests favor using the host’s device to add songs instead of using their own. Many requested for a tablet version of the app to make this easier.

We tested Jook at a Startup Weekend event by word of mouth and handouts

↑ One of our first tests at a Startup Weekend event by word of mouth and handouts (like the one on this table above the Subway napkin).

Testing

We tested Jook whenever possible—at the office, events, and parties. Getting organizers to host a jukebox turned out to be easier than we thought. After observing and talking to guests and hosts, this is what we learned:

  • Users felt the need to keep adding songs when their jukebox ran out of songs in the queue.
  • They spent a lot of time stuck at the search bar thinking of what song to add.
  • They often opened Spotify to find a song from their library, and then went back to Jook to search the song.
  • At large events, hosts noticed that guests prefer to walk up to and use the host’s device (ie. an iPad) rather than manually typing in the url when a share link is not sent to them.

Features we added prior to public beta

  • Fallback playlist: where the host can select a playlist to fallback on when there are no songs left in the queue, so that the jukebox will never run out of songs.
  • Drag-and-drop songs from Spotify directly to Jook on web browser.
  • Preview song snippets before adding them to the jukebox.
We added a fallback playlist feature so the jukebox will never run out of songs to play

We also added a prominent “Send Feedback” button to encourage our users to send us valuable feedback.

Since releasing Jook, hosts have created more than 500 jukeboxes with over 5,000 guests. We learned several things from our users:

What they loved

  • An easy way to play everyone’s favorite music in an environment
  • Voting songs is fun
  • The ease of adding songs on desktop

What they struggled with

  • Finding songs to add on mobile (no drag-and-drop in app or mobile web)
  • Not knowing that a Spotify Premium account is needed to host a jukebox (high drop-off rate on login screen in app)

What they asked for

  • Downvote to drop unpopular songs
  • Allow hosts to remove songs
  • Explicit songs filter
  • Android app

Thank you to all the users who helped us test the product and gave us amazing feedback. We’re continuously looking at feedback and data from our lovely users, and working towards an update.