Discover vs. tags

In July 2021, I worked with Bandcamp to unify the desktop Tags and Discover interfaces across their platform.

I began by auditing all the relevant interfaces (web, mobile, app) and annotated the current UI.

From these initial annotations I distilled a list of key takeaways:

  1. The filtering system on the Discover interface felt like exploring the vastness of Bandcamp, but the results section didn't feel as expansive. Adding more items to the grid or having an alternate list view could help solve this.
  2. The “highlights” and “all releases” tabs on the Tags interface should be more noticeable. “Highlights” were especially valuable for promoting new releases and could exist in a more prominent way in the new Discover/Tags hybrid interface.
  3. The design of the Discover interface is highly interactive and is already a core part of the mobile app. It would make sense to use this interface as the base for the new hybrid design and add the best parts of the old Tags interface to it.

Mapping current pathways

I mapped out the user flow of the current Discover interface to see if there were any steps I could simplify before jumping into wireframes.

Next I created some low-fidelity wireframes. This allowed me to focus on creating a clear visual hierarchy without getting too deep into the complex gradient and coloring system of the discover interface.

In parallel I translated my wireframes to mobile to catch any issues before I moved too far along.

Once I was able to create the appropriate hierarchy, I tested my wireframes against the complex coloring system of the original filtering menu.

Several iterations later I was able to get closer to an interface that satisfied the original UX concerns of the project and also felt visually balanced.

Feedback & Reflections

Bandcamp's design team was excited about my work and found my process very similar to what they had been working on themselves.

While I found a workable solution to Bandcamp's problem of creating a consistent, familiar browsing interface, I would have loved to approach this problem more holistically by questioning whether there were approaches that would be more conducive to exploring the vastness that is Bandcamp, and where Tags and Discover would feel obsolete?