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Sound Map Of Harrogate

The Sound Map Of Harrogate website documents the audio heritage of the town of Harrogate – it is a collection of Field Recordings shown and highlighted on a website’s map.

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Role

Visual Design, UX Engineer

Time Line

January 2021

Tasks & Deliverables

  • Testing
  • Journey Map
  • Task Flows
  • Interaction Map
  • Interactive Prototype
  • Wire Frames
  • Build
  • Deploy

Project Overview

I needed to make a website to house some field recordings – almost as a living museum of sound for the area. There was an immediacy to the project, but one that enabled me to not rush out the first draft. The site needed to be easily accessible from the Dashboard and then it would be easy for the host to update the site.

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Researching The Recording Experience

This was done through visiting existing sound maps through the world. There are a couple of Field Recording Facebook groups and they post their sound maps on these forums.

Visiting existing Sound Maps and Geo location sites helped provide some interesting points of view into the goals, the context of use and pain points users often face when tuning in to Field Recording and logging the sound.

Defining The Problem

There is Soundcloud to share sounds – but what about offline access? How would the next generation of internet users be ready for the challenge of listening to Harrogate’s Bus Station? I needed a solution that tied the location of the media in with the ability to download a sound-file, and have it available to the widest possible audience possible.

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Design Problems

My next step was to move into the design phase and to begin thinking about possible solutions. Research had shown that users had very little comprehension of what a sound map was – I needed to make their initiation smooth. I have been linking media and sound files for a while – I reckon I am getting the hang of it now.

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I then began sketching and iterating on possible solutions for the particular web pages I was to build for the site. I began by determining the high level navigation for the site in very rough sketches and building wireframes.

Designing Solutions

User research showed that most of the visitors would visit the website and then leave after listening to 72 seconds of audio, mixed tracks ,

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Home Page & Menu

A simple set up was made so that people could access the recordings on the site as soon as they land on it. The sound files are embeds from a podcast – the audio is hosted on Anchor and the files are embedded in to a map.

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Upload Page

One page, one function – the reason for the site is to display the publics works of sound art and phonography. There is an upload page so people can upload their MP3s with minimum fuss. Full credit will be given to the creator upon receipt and publication

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Blog Page

Keeping people up to date with developments in Field Recording – a lot of the site’s long tail SEO relies on the blog.

Next Steps

Better load times for the site would have been achieved had we less media to embed – I was trapped between a rock and a hard place with load times versus fidelity.

When more media is added, outside of the centre of town, the map can be zoomed to fit all of the recordings.

Conclusion

It was good to be pushed out of my comfort zone on this – Geo location is a hard nut to crack; I think i did okay with this…

The biggest audience for the site is via Anchor Podcasts – there are quite a few fans of it in America.

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