Visual listening : designing an interface for active music listening using visual content

  • Liam Cotchett

    Student thesis: Master's Thesis


    Digital distribution and access-based streaming services have created new possibilities for music listeners. By contrast, these possibilities also give rise to new concerns. There has never been greater access to so much music. However, music applications that interface these libraries reduce the user’s ability to actively listen.
    This thesis discusses the important role that visual design plays when listening to music. This dialogue highlights the functional attributes that album artwork gave to physical music. Particularly when contrasted to the less functional attributes available to digital music. This research conducts an expert usability review of two novel music web-applications, and a music lyric database. The first two interfaces use strong visual components to maintain focus and engagement of listeners. By contrast, the lyric database uses artwork to aid in navigating the library, rather than aid in listening to it. The reviews highlight emerging and current trends in music player design that enable active listening. This research is also guided by the development of a new creative body of work. A conceptual interface is created to explore pertinent themes from literature and theory. Finally, the body of work demonstrates that music artwork is pivotal to an engaging music listening experience and can better enable one’s ability to actively listen.
    Date of Award2019
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorLisa Scharoun (Supervisor), Geoff Hinchcliffe (Supervisor), Sam Hinton (Supervisor) & Mitchell Whitelaw (Supervisor)

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