A Songwriter’s Guide to UX / UI

Craig Martinson
2 min readApr 20, 2021

Part 2: Research and Analysis

In Part 1 we defined the problem and challenged my instinct as a songwriter to look inward for solutions. It’s not about ME. It’s about YOU! Now it’s time to dig in and do some good old fashioned research and analysis. I know this blog is supposed to be about drawing parallels between design and music — and I promise it will — but this is another key area of difference…sort of…

Understanding the User

So now that we’ve defined our problem, we have likely made some assumptions about our solution as well as our users. Many of these assumptions may be proven to be true, but many will inevitably be off the mark and that is a chance we just can’t take — hence, the essential investment in research and analysis. Let’s take the time to ensure that the product we’re designing addresses the actual needs of the actual people using it. Wow, that makes so much sense!

But, how does it relate to songwriting? In my experience, it doesn’t exactly…I believe that great art can’t cater to the masses or be born of convention. Art is most exciting and compelling when it is challenging or subverting our expectations. I spent almost no time considering who would or wouldn’t listen to the music I made. I heard things in my head that I thought were cool and I tried to make them real. Sometimes I was lucky enough to have people hear them and also think they were cool. But if you base your design decisions on “thinking things were cool”, your team members, stakeholders and prospective users aren’t going to be happy. Again, this required a major shift in my perspective.

In the world of pop music, producers and artists absolutely leverage intentional research and analysis. What is getting played on the radio? In the club? What are the emerging or current trends in tempo, rhythm, phrasing, instrumentation, structure, hook frequency, harmonic complexity, and an endless number of other considerations. Pop music is perfectly engineered to get stuck in your head and get you grooving. I guess I’m going mainstream, Lil Nas UX if you will…NAILED IT!

What’s Next?

Next week we will tackle Competitive Analysis and the influence of your peers!

Stay safe out there!



Craig Martinson

I have a compulsion and a passion to create...a compassion? I have that too.