I worked 4 years for Mixvibes, a Parisian start-up making DJ apps, on desktop and mobile. I often was the only designer. Here, I’ll focus on 2 products I designed.

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Cross DJ

THE 1ST PRO DJ APP ON ANDROID

In 2013, there was no professional DJ app on Android so we made one. The app attracted new B2B customers, brought back growth and was rated 4.5 for years. Play Store

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CONTEXT

Pivoting from hardware and desktop software to apps

Mixvibes has an iOS DJ app. Users kept on asking for an Android version. This was a no-go because of the audio latency – but when Kit Kat came along, developers said they could achieve acceptable results. The challenge: we had only 3 months to ship before the Christmas rush.

My role was to design the UX/UI and market the app. To this end, I studied users: I talked to DJs daily, analyzed YouTube performance videos, noted the specificities of Android users. Bottom line: users needed an app more easy-to-use than the iOS version.

ANDROID-SPECIFIC IMPROVEMENTS

Beat syncing

Every user action is on the beat, to offset Android’s audio latency

Permanent mixer

Now appears on all screens. Bigger sliders than in iOS, to address more users

Flat design

Matches current style expectations, fits all screens, reduces apk size

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The app got significant engagement, ~4.6 rating and 100+ press articles. 
To become Android DJs’ reference, we started shipping versions faster than ever. I talked to users a lot (socials, support, Play Store) to learn and prioritize features fast.

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“Cross DJ, a DJing app with a clean, uncluttered design to get you mixing and scratching your digital music files.”

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"The graphic interface of Cross DJ is pure simplicity, just the way it should be [...] other DJ apps for the Android system definitely fall short”

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UPDATES, BATCH #1

Addressing Androids user’s specific needs

Features like a folder explorer, a beginner-oriented tutorial, UI skins or localized app copy sometimes resulted in +30% downloads, especially in some countries (e.g. Brazil).

UPDATES, BATCH #2

Baking promotion in the design

An example of growth-oriented design was the possibility to connect hardware mixers. I had noticed that YouTube videos with this hack racked loads of views. The promo video hit 200k views organically, and update rates were higher than ever.

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UPDATES, BATCH #3

Prioritizing the hardware to map

We mapped hardware controllers made for iOS apps – whithout much success. We then decided to map controllers for desktop software. I pushed for the affordable best-sellers. This drove up engagement significantly.

App usage kept going up. 
It positioned Mixvibes as a professional audio app maker on Android. We got direct access to Google’s top audio engineers, and Play Store’s top developer status. I talked about it at events like MWC Barcelona (Alcatel’s phone launch) and Google Play Time (Paris).

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We landed major OEMs contracts like Alcatel Onetouch. Superstar DJ Avicii endorsed the product.

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LEARNINGS

How to design with data and growth in mind, how to talk to users without skewing their judgments (which often pays off more than cramming every possible feature in a release.)

IMPACT

Users prefered Android’s design, so
I led the harmonization of iOS and macOS. The experience bought us the runway we needed to start working on a new app.

In 2015, Cross DJ was reaching maturity. We looked for new revenue. We user-tested tested 2 different app ideas – with a mock-sales pitch for both, and working prototypes (based on the CEO’s feature list and rough mock-ups).

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Making music-production accessible to DJs

We wanted to address existing users and new ones alike, so we chosed Remixlive. We also needed to ship in 4 months – before the Christmas rush.
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PROBLEM

Toys and plane cockpits

User interviews: To grow, DJs often need to make their own music... but some of them find music production apps either too simple (“toys”) or too complex (“plane cockpit”).

SOLUTION

Instant magic + Learning curve

Combine instant magic (“I made an hip-hop beat in seconds”) and a progressive learning curve (“I learned what ADSR means”).

We set out to make a loop-launcher with pre-loaded synced samples.
We wrote principles that made all design decisions a breeze – example below:

SIMPLICITY

Make a track in seconds

No music knowledge required. Perform in the front with popular music genres. Visualize music (circle = music loops). Record any sound, and loop it.

DEPTH

A professional remix toolbox

Professional grade audio effects, equalizer and samples packs. Fine-tune samples in the back – including the ones you import. Control DJ hardware in MIDI.

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As the only designer, I designed the ~100 screens (Sketch, Invision, Zeplin), specified flows, wrote copy. I user tested every week, which uncovered needs like a tablet layout, contextual hints, a launch animation and refined UI (for which I contracted an external designer).

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FOCUS

Optimizing the in-app store

One of my ideas was to break it down into 3 categories to increase legibility + allow for bundles. I showed users around by giving away free sample packs at launch. I also built a template for sample pack artworks, that could be used after I left.

Alongside the app design, I worked on other product-related tasks:

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GROWTH

Made and optimized all App Store assets (descriptions, images, localization). Oversaw communication with Apple and Google (multiple features) started infuencers outreach (earned media), oversaw A/B tests

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PRODUCT MGMT

Kept track of user-feedback, helped set-up feature priotization processes, set up 30-page FAQ to facilitate support. Oversaw the curation of sample packs (based on data), created marketing templates.

COMMS & PR

Designed logo and all comms assets, built a new website in days (launched on time), produced and edited videos (see showreel). Wrote and sent tailored press releases to various media, chatted with journalists daily.

Launch was succesful
Lots of DAU, 70+ positive press articles, Apple featured the app in many countries + store activity validated our business assumptions.

1ST UPDATE

Users first

We were eager to build the features we had in mind. However, early users requested a compatibility with other apps. We built it and downloads took off, showing the first stage of product/market fit.
Watch video

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OTHER UPDATES

Getting ready for scale

We then released 1 update per month. For example, adding colors to offset negative user’s perceptions (“looks too complicated for me”). I backed-up my designs with references to best-selling hardware and contrast ratios. Other updates included Android and Mac/PC versions, and even a video spin-off.

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RESULTS

The app organically outperformed business goals
3 million downloads in one year, engaged DAUs, low churn and constant revenue. Remixlive greatly reduced dependence on the other product line. Apple and Google featured us 200 times across local stores. The Android version was in the Play Store’s Most Innovative Apps 2016, EMEA.

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