The Mixtape Methodology
If you grew up in the era of cassette tapes or CDs, you probably made or received a mixtape, I've always enjoyed designing the experience. I remember spending hours crafting the perfect collection of songs. Then labeling and decorating the cover with drawings and photos. 
Every mix has its theme and served its purpose. It's about telling a story and guiding the user through a journey. Sometimes the playlist is for friends whom you want to share new music with that you think they might like. Other times they're for a special occasion, party, or road trip. Maybe they're meant to express words and feeling for someone you like. More often, the playlist is just for yourself. Whatever the situation, music is an escape. It can help you feel better, relaxed, get aggression out, or to be there in the background while you're driving or at work. 
“Now, the making of a good compilation tape is a very subtle art. Many do's and don'ts. First of all, you're using someone else's poetry to express how you feel. This is a delicate thing.” – High Fidelity
The curating of a playlist is an exercise in design methodology.

When applying design thinking to the creation of a playlist you need to understand your audience & define the purpose of the mix. 

Determine what you want the user to feel when listening to the compilation. Experiences are often understood by how people think and feel moment-by-moment when interacting positively with a mixtape. 

Ideation is a crucial step in the design process. It is about brainstorming and gathering songs. It's time to focus on the main goal, which is being creative and coming up with as many ideas as possible. 

At this point, you're eliminating and reordering songs. Prototyping the solution and increasing fidelity through iterations. I like to limit my playlist to around 20 songs or around an hour of music. 

Here is where the playlist is finally coming together. Testing is used to validate design requirements. You've probably listened to the mix 100 times and you're feeling pretty good about it.

Now, you're ready to share out your creation. 
Experience design is like a good mixtape. From cassette tapes to Spotify playlists, the format and the technologies are continuously evolving. While it's ridiculous to impose any unbreakable rules, there are many ways to impose some order on the chaos. If you follow these tips, you might not make the perfect experience, but you should be able to make a damn good one.

Check out my Spotify playlists to get you through the pandemic craziness. 

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