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Product Design
User Insights


This project was a product design exercise done in my sophomore user experience course at Cornish College of the Arts.


Our cohort was given the assignment of designing an app around the concept of time. We were instructed to use our firsthand experiences to guide our research. As a lifelong musician, I chose to create a metronome.


Metronome apps fall short of beginning musician's needs. While they deliver timekeeping features, they fail to teach novices how to implement it into their practice. My app, Metanome, provides the functionality of a metronome with educational content to help users progress their practicing techniques and expedite improvement.


Pain Point Identification

I started my research by mapping my experiences with metronomes on paper. I created storyboards to illustrate the frustrations and difficulties I experienced in the past with metronomes.

Competitive Research

My market research revealed that the overwhelming majority of apps required users to set their metronomes each use, despite that practice often is the same from day to day. Additionally, none of the apps on the market offered learning materials.


  1. Users have to outsource instruction. Self taught learners have to structure their learning independently.

  2. Users have to spend time resetting their metronome every session, which can cause frustration and inconsistency.

  3. Users have to do meta research on how to use metronomes before being able to use all their features effectively.


  1. House musical theory learning in-app.

  2. Provide preset functionality.

  3. Constrain feature access to grow with users' expertise.




Lessons are the interactions that make Metanome special. I wanted to make sure that users had a standardized learning structure, and that their achievements directly affected how they were able to interact with the metronome.

Low Fidelity

The low fidelity designs were focused on user customization, but testing revealed that beginning users didn't need a flexible interface. Instead, they stressed the need for a metronome that accommodated nuanced dynamics of practice.

I went back to the drawing board and started focusing on where other metronomes were lacking. I determined that there were two UX fundamentals that were conditional to an accessible metronome:

Fitt's Law Implications

Most metronomes are designed to mimic physical devices, but often to a fault. Most musicians adjust their metronomes single-handed while holding their instrument. This means the most important controls should be within the thumb's reach.

Hick's Law Implications

The act of practice is a series of decisions. Overwhelming users with too many controls adds unwanted complexity and slows down practice. An effective metronome limits functionality to the needs of a practice session.


I also received feedback that users wanted quick daily exercises to expand their learning. This insight gave way to a daily stack of exercise cards which are housed at the top of the learning tab.

Final Designs

My final iteration was characterized by an interface based on necessities.

The core of the metronome is positioned within the reach of the thumb for easy adjustment with a single hand.


Presets are housed out of the way in a drawer at the top of the screen and can be added and organized on the metronome interface at the user's convenience.

Lessons are organized by date, so users can start practice off with quick daily exercises and pick up where they left off before moving on to their next challenges.


I showed my designs with two music professionals specializing in music pedagogy. Their reviews were overwhelmingly positive. While the design has improvements that could be made, their evaluation of the concept proved its importance.

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