Rhapsody KIDS


Customer Goal

  • Adult: Choose the music I think it’s OK for my kids to listen to
  • Kids: Play my favorite music without mom or dad’s help


Lead UX Designer & Researcher (solo)

Key Deliverables

  • Sketches (whiteboards)
  • Wireframe concepts
  • Prototyping (in lieu of specs)
  • Plan, design and conduct user research
  • Consult on visual design & go-to-market strategy
  • Finding and logging implementation bugs


  • KIDS shipped with fanfare by Rhapsody – we even created a short YouTube commercial starring the children’s music star, Caspar Babypants! I was also happy to have provided the “…be the DJ” slogan as part of it (see the commercial that was on YouTube)
  • The feature garnered a good deal of press when released, from CNET, to Forbes, TechCrunch who called it a “smart move”, and more
  • Increased customer satisfaction and retention


As often the case at Rhapsody, when the business had an idea for a completely new feature (rather than iterating existing ones) for the main music streaming app, I was handed the keys and told to drive fast and far. After hearing of the general idea, I conducted two in-app surveys using Apptentive, asking if the customers had one or more kids, and whether they’d be interested in a kids-only feature. They were. I also conducted a broad survey of non-customers using SurveyMonkey, digging into the details of what people were interested in regarding a “kids mode”.

Based on the data, I lead a whiteboarding ideation session with my colleagues, because two or three heads are better than one when brainstorming. From there, I launched into wireframing and rapid prototyping using a Mac prototyping app called Hype because it could trigger media. I used those prototypes, some images captured and displayed above, as the basis for two small research studies. For the first time in my career, I sat down with kids (and one of their parents), gave them a prototype to use, and asked them questions. It was challenging, but a lot of fun! I even received a fantastic note at the end from one participant that decided he wanted to be a designer, too. After making changes suggested by participants, I worked with the Lead Visual Designer to ensure his art adhered to the vision and UX I’d designed.

As that work progressed, I met several times with the broader product, marketing and customer service teams to demonstrate the prototypes, discuss the research and provide insight and input into the go-to-market strategy, which included meeting with PR, creating a FAQ with customer service, consulting on creative input for the media presentation, and more.

Lessons Learned/Constraints

  • Designing for kids is even harder than I thought… but they can make very enthusiastic participants
  • You can design a great feature, but if people don’t know about it, then it’s less great (Rhapsody didn’t continue marketing the feature)
  • Prototyping is awesome and incredibly valuable as long as it doesn’t take TOO much time to create
  • Always think BIG: a UX Designer’s role isn’t just creating wireframes and specs, but to help the team or even company understand the experience and value of ideas