A product design challenge implementing a subscription service in to an established music ticketing app.



DICE is an app for finding and buying tickets to live music. DICE leadership wants to implement a subscription service that enables users to discover and attend new live shows featuring small bands and independent venues.

My Role

This was a collaborative project with 3 other UX/UI designers. I took the lead on user research, facilitated the design studio and moderated team discussions before producing a high-fidelity final product.


Our solution provided users with:

  • a curated list of upcoming events in their area, all of which featured small bands and independent venues.
  • a tokens system which provides subscribers with better value tickets.
  • a time boxed chat thread that connects subscribers to other audience members and artists.
You can view the extended version of the case study on Medium.
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We began by devising a broad research plan that sought to understand where we could provide value in the subscription service. Our plan was to utilise:

  • Competitive analysis to assess the market and identify features we may wish to include
  • User research to understand user motivations in seeing live music.

Competitor Analysis

We first carried out some competitive analysis to better understand the existing market, and found that the majority of subscription services for live music events were primarily targeting larger gigs with well known artists. Their key features typically included VIP experiences, access to premium seats and earlybird access to tickets, none of which felt relevant to small gigs with unknown artists.

We concluded that there may be a gap in the market for a subscription service promoting independent artists and small venues, but we still didn’t know what features would be of most value to our target users.

User Research

We carried out a screener survey to identify people who regularly attended live music shows and had experience of using the DICE app.

We identified and interviewed 22 people, seeking to understand: 

  • What motivates them to see lesser-known artists?
  • What are the pain points when you want to see lesser known artists?
  • What they like/dislike about the existing DICE app.

Following this second round of user interviews we identified the following key insights:


All of our findings allowed us to refine our initial assumptions and create both a persona and user journey to help visualise our user’s challenges and enable us to better empathise with their problems.


Emily is a 27 year old young professional from London that loves live music and frequently sees shows in small venues.

User Journey

We then created a user journey to map out Emily’s problems and identify opportunities where features in the subscription service could solve them.

click to enlarge

Problem Statement

We then created a series of problem statements in order to help concentrate our research insights and prioritise design decisions by identifying the most important user needs and pain points.

  • Emily needs to know whether a show is still on schedule so that she doesn’t waste time going to the venue - covers the problem that smaller gigs tend to be less organised and therefore more unreliable.
  • Emily needs to meet like-minded people at gigs so that she does not have to rely on her circle of friends to go with her - connects the problem that it can be difficult to find friends to accompany you to smaller gigs, with the positive that smaller gigs tend to encourage great social interaction among the audience.
  • Emily needs to find gigs with small artists so that so that she can find new music and have a unique experience - encapsulates the key positive about smaller gigs, that people like to feel a sense of discovery


Design Studio

I facilitated a design studio where I centered our idea generation around the 3 How Might We questions created earlier. 

  • How might we make it easier to discover independent artists in smaller venues?
  • How might we make smaller gigs more reliable?
  • How might we help attendees connect to each other at gigs?


Over 3 rounds of design studio we managed to combine several ideas into one coherent vision for the subscription service. The service would consist of:

  • A new category of live shows on DICE called “Hidden Gems”.
  • Shows in the “Hidden Gems” category would take place once per week and would highlight lesser-known artists that were performing in small venues in the user’s location.
  • For a monthly fee subscribers would receive priority access to Hidden Gems gigs, and digital tokens - Gems - that could be exchanged for tickets to these gigs.
  • Ticketholders for Hidden Gems gigs would then have access to a group chat that enabled them to interact with others attending the gig, and even the artists themselves. This chat would be time boxed, existing only for a window of 48 hours either side of the gig itself, in order to prevent spam messages persiting on users apps.
  • Once tickets had been purchased, users would be able to view an event tracker on the same pages as the QR code ticket. This would update the user about the time of key moments in the gig, and any delays or changes to the schedule.

Sketching through to Mid Fidelity Wireframes

User Testing

With our mid-fidelity prototype built we were able to begin user testing to make sure the subscription would be easy to use. We elected to try using unmoderated user tests on Maze.com, hoping that this would provide us with a larger feedback sample than we could achieve in the same time frame carrying out moderated tests.

We received 21 responses to our test, which consisted of 5 specific tasks and an open-ended question asking for more general feedback. Participants largely reacted positively to the design, particularly citing the use of the schedule tracker and time-box chat thread as exciting features.

Pain Points & Iterations

Design Direction

Before going into building the high fidelity prototype we decided to maintain the visual language of the brand to provide users with a sense of familiarity, as this is an expansion of the current app.


How I Met the Brief

DICE were looking to implement a subscription service that enabled users to discover and attend new live shows featuring small bands and independent venues.

Our solution provided users with a curated list of upcoming events in their area, all of which featured small bands and independent venues. The use of Gems as a token/currency provides subscribers with better value tickets; and the time boxed chat threads connects them to both the other audience members and artists. 

Home Page

Implements Hidden Gem subscription as a type of gig within the carousel at the top of the page.

Hidden Gems Pages

Showcases the upcoming gigs that are included in the subscription service and a sneak peek of events further in to the future.

Event page shows key information for users to review and decide on a gig.

Booking Tickets and Ticket Page

Allows users to buy tickets using Gems, the token currency. Also highlights potential additional perks of the subscription.

Ticket screen has a progress bar to keep users informed about logistics and progress of the gig.

Ticket screen has the ticket in app as a QR code, and provides access to the gig chat.

Gig Chat Page

Allows confirmed attendees to talk to each other, promoting connectivity.

Enables users to engage with the artist, for example to make song requests.

The chat thread is time boxed to become inactive 48hours after the gig.


Overview of the finished project.

Next Steps

If we were to continue on with this project, our immediate next step would be to design and implement an onboarding process for the Hidden Gems service. This could in reality consist of its own UX cycle, but other ideas we would have liked to pursue include:

  • Add reviews and concert content
  • Develop the subscription model further (power users get Gems, exclusive events, etc.)
  • Artist or Venue facing version of the app
  • Further develop the ability to find new friends to go with (i.e. “Matches” with similar taste)
  • Mystery Gigs


  • Set the research goals carefully — We messed up!  We meant to learn about small music fans but ended up studying music fans in general. This won't help us tailor the new subscription service for the niche we want. We need to be super specific with our research goals next time so we actually get the info we need.
  • I like to facilitate and organise the team — As it was the first group project of our intensive course, I wasn’t sure how teamwork dynamics would affect our output. I was pleasantly surprised to realise I enjoyed the task of organising the group and facilitating our discussions, pushing us toward compromises and decisions.
  • Competitive Analysis — I have since found 2 other competitors that offer similar subscription services to our Hidden Gems proposal (Jukely and GotoBeat). It’s impossible to say how much our project would have changed if we had identified these companies earlier, but I think it’s important to remember to keep an eye open to the existing market.

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