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Project Overview

Streaming with Subwire

Mike Terry, the founder of Subwire, slammed his coffee cup against the plastic table and exclaimed: "You know, we really have something new and innovative here, this...this is what actually helps support artists AND fans!". He went on to enthusiastically elaborate on his product until the coffee-jittered sermon came to a silence. He then softly and subtly added: "We're just a little behind schedule when it comes to our MAUs". From that moment on, our team went to work. 

My Role:
UX Researcher
May - June 2023
6 UX Designers 
Google Forms

What is Subwire?

Subwire is a live-streaming platform that allows artists to stream and monetize their performances. The platform also allows fans to stream the event from the audience while having the ability to make money off of the performance. In short, both artist / creator and audience / viewer are able to share their unique perspective of the event while capitalizing on the live-streamed performance. 

The Problem

Subwire was struggling to onboard users due to a lack of clarity, missing features, and a non-user-friendly interface.


Listening To The Crowd 


I kicked off this project by asking: “What’s going on with Subwire?” Mike, was absolutely stoked about the product yet his team wasn't able to attract the content creators and viewers they expected. We started off by conducting user interviews and one task analysis with 11 participants, ranging from musicians to music lovers,  in order to identify pain points with the current Subwire interface. 

After concluding our interviews, and pinning our e-sticky notes onto our e-whiteboard, we identified 4 major pain-point patterns.

Pain Point 1

Unclear Language

The Home Screen was extremely confusing. Creators struggled to comprehend the meaning of the term "pop-up."

Due to a lack of distinction between creators and viewers, viewers were also uncertain about their role and whether the app was meant for them to use.

Pain Point 2

No Streamlined Invite

There was a complete absence of a quick and streamlined method for sending invites for live performances. Let's just say that frustrating was an understatement.

Current Invite Process: 

Select create "pop-up"

Step 1

Enter information

Step 2

Enter more information to open room

Step 3

Receive links via e-mail to invite others

Step 4
Step 5

Copy/Paste links and send out

Ideal Invite Process: 

Select create "pop-up"

Step 1

Enter information to open pop-up room

Step 2

Share event within the pop-up room page

Step 3

Pain Point 3

No Digital Artifact

Giffy 2.png

Both creators and viewers felt the lack of a "moment" or a digital artifact that could be later be used for self-promotion or a keepsake. Currently, the only “moment” that was available was the ability to "capture" aka make a gif.

Users also continued to face confusion due to ambiguous terminology. In this case, it was the meaning of "capture". 

Pain Point 4

Interchangeable Roles

Creator Screen_iphone13minimidnight_portrait.png

The idea that fans could also be creators,  presented a significant challenge in terms of user understanding.


Marching To The Beat

Competitive Analysis

Overall, the users we spoke with were confused and frustrated. The features and intuitive interface that they enjoyed using on other platforms were absent on Subwire. More importantly, the current user experience contradicted the very message of what Mike and his team had set out to achieve: To build a product that would help cultivate a community by sharing special moments through a digital platform.


In order to understand what would make Subwire the preferred choice for content creators, we conducted a competitive analysis and created a features inventory.

Subwire was at a clear disadvantage to competitors. Other platforms had features that gave creators the ability to instantly connect with their fans while expanding the artist’s fanbase, whereas Subwire did not.


We continued to channel our user insights into 2 key target users audiences that Subwire was looking to attract.

(Click to enlarge image)

(Click to enlarge image)

Journey Map

We then created a journey map to reflect the process our primary target user, the creator, currently experienced on the platform. ​Putting together the journey map gave us a clearer insight into how to design a user-friendly Subwire.  

Subwire User Journey.png

(Click to enlarge image)

Design Rethink

Lastly, we created three How might We statements to guide our design solutions.

How Might We...

...provide users with a smooth and effortless way to stream & share events?

How Might We...

... distinguish roles and turn ambiguous language into easy language to understand functions?

How Might We...

Create an experience where each viewer could engage with Subwire in a personalized way?

By continuing to stay rooted in the problem our team was able to maintain a user-centric perspective to help craft our design solutions. 


A New Harmony

Wireframes (Lo-Fi)

The Schedule An Event Flow attempted to address a seamless way to create an event as well as distinguish user roles. 

Schedule Event 1a

Schedule Event 1b

Schedule Event 1c

Shedule Event 1d

Confirmation Page

The Go Live Flow would give access to immediately stream events.

Get Started Page

Go live form (inactive)

Go live form (active)

Go live confirm

Live screen 

The landing page allowed viewers to see who was currently streaming. We eventually abandoned this concept due to its primary focus on the viewer rather than the creator. However, we incorporated many aspects of this into the "search" function as displayed in the prototype.

Landing Page

Hi-Fidelity Mock Up

Defined Roles
Having a "How it works" section allowed users to immediately comprehend what Subwire was and it's advantages for both creators and viewers. This would alleviate a lot of the frustration that users voiced in pain point 1.
Clearer Terminology
The choice of using "Go Live" over the previous "Create a pop-up" was rooted in having a clear and unambiguous language that confused users. Now, both creators and viewers would immediately have access to either 1) host a live stream, 2) watch a live stream event or 3) schedule an event.

We eventually refined the go-live call to action button as well as separated the "schedule an event" from the "go-live" to make the two actions more distinct. 
Artist Customization
Users would be able to create an event for the future, which created a way to alert fans. 
Digital Artifact
Content creators now had the ability to record their stream so they'd be able to have an artifact for personal or publicity purposes after the event ended.
Users would be able to share their live stream in a streamlined manner.
Record Function

User Insights

We conducted a usability test with four participants in order to develop and refine our ideas. We found 1 major pain point: Users had no idea what "Go Live" meant.

 "I was confused about what 'go live' meant since it was the first button on the screen. I had to scroll down to understand the difference between the 'go live' button and the 'schedule an event' button."

Based on this feedback, we decided to merge the "Go Live & Schedule An Event" flows into a single streamlined process to minimize user confusion. We wanted to make it as clear as possible for both the creator and viewer to access the app. We relied on language such as "Launch A Stream" and "Watch Now" to clear any ambiguity.

We also made the choice to turn the background black, which has the connotation of night time, playing into the music theme, as well as giving the interface a sleeker look which our clients were aiming for. 


Hittin' The Right Note

Final Product

The insights gathered from the usability test prompted our team to implement design revisions, resulting in the development of the final product.


Perhaps the most important takeaway of this project was how terminology can impact the way an interface is perceived and used. There are many ways to say "stream an event" but what's the most universal and why? Even seemingly small language choices have a substantial impact on design flows.  In the case of our project, the importance of testing terminology was key to creating an intuitive interface. Letters and words! What wonderful symbols they are. 

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