I worked directly with the Shazam digital and development teams to create a compelling cinema experience within their app; the Shazam In-Theater mode. This project consisted of many iterations in design, mainly with user journeys and mockups, as well as extensive usability and functionality testing. After launch, it changed into more of a creative project helping digital agencies create results that fit well with the in-theater experience.

The Shazam project came about with the abandonment of Firstlook Sync. This app was a great idea, with very little support. Prior to Shazam, however, the Firstlook Sync app was about to make a resurgence.

The biggest reasons for creating a new Shazam experience are:

  1. Many of the theater ads already have a TV Shazam result
  2. The theater is a dark, quiet environment and required a limited engagement
  3. NCM theaters would use “watermarks” rather than “fingerprints” to identify results
  4. The ability to provide a continuous experience for the theater with auto listening and results as an event, rather than one-offs 

The User Journey

One of my pet peeves is trying too hard to control the user experience. Meaning, when you don’t have to put a control in place, dont! That being said, within the walls of the theater there were some specific rules we did have to put in place. Here’s why:

  1. Companies paid millions of dollars for their :30 second spot. If the spot before theirs distracts everyone for two minues, they may be unhappy, and… maybe they will stop spending their marketing dollars on the big screen
  2. There are other moviegoers sitting around the Shazam user. A loud song or video, or bright flashing screen isn’t conducive to a friendly environment

So the journey has to be slightly controlled.

Another factor in the user journey is whether or not Shazam is open. With auto listening, the experience begins with a notification banner and enters you into the app differently. With Shazam open, the result is still a notification – so that the user isn’t taken away from what they are doing – and immediately loads the next result.