Mideast Tunes is a platform for underground musicians in the Middle East and North Africa to promote their music, using the service as a tool for social change.
We were approached by our long time client Mideast Youth to reimagine the Android and iOS experience, taking a native approach to both platforms and promote a significantly better user experience throughout.
As well as rebuilding the apps from the ground up, we would also introduce new features such as user login, playlists, multi-lingual support, integrated music playing and social sharing.
The discovery process was led with a desire to keep the UI simple, functional and impressive. Using the established Mideast Tunes brand, we went back to the drawing board and considered a UI that would remove overheads, providing a much more seamless and intuitive experience. One of the big feature additions would be the multi-lingual approach (with Arabic being read right-to-left), and much of the thinking was led with this in mind.
Database searches are tricky territory, where potentially long load times can impede on the user experience. Drawing on tried and tested user psychology buffers, we included loading animations and lazy loading of images to help mitigate any time-sensitive unknowns.
In addition, we designed an economical "quick view" feature into the experience, letting app users play music directly from their search results, thus avoiding the need to switch screens and reload data.
Artist profiles not only feature audio and video, but a bio submitted by the artist as well. This content typically appears in both English and Arabic, requiring multilingual support across both iOS and Android platforms, factoring in the native rendering and interactive behaviours between the versions of each operating system.
The ability to download music and podcasts seemed essential for a mobile app targeting audiences without mobile roaming capabilities. Users can grab single tracks or entire collections at at a time, while the app automatically manages download states (pause and resume) based on network availability.
At any time, users can 'undownload' a track by simply removing it from their library.
Both versions of Mideast Tunes are fully integrated, meaning users get all the little niceties like continuous play on a sleeping device, album art on the lock screen, Airplay (iOS) and bluetooth support, and the mobile device's native "double buffering" feature for seamless listening.
As double buffering wasn't an available feature on older versions of Android, we built our own, so listeners across the entire userbase could enjoy the same experience.
The apps have been brought to life with an overhauled UI and workflows, utilising a similar theme across both platforms but leaning on key interface paradigms to support intuitive experiences for each OS. The new apps are significantly faster, offer more stability and a smaller footprint (thanks to the native approach) and ultimately provide a hugely improved overall experience for discovering and listening to music.
New feature highlights include backwards compatibility all the way to Android 2.3.3, right-to-left screen layouts, user account login, background and lockscreen music control, Airplay and bluetooth speaker compatibility, playlists, favorite artists, recommended artists, social sharing, notifications and hardware controls, responsive UI and direct feedback among many other additions and improvements.
Mideast Tunes is the largest platform for underground musicians in the Middle East and North Africa. Launched in 2010, the site went through many iterations as we had to quickly keep up with the latest technology and design standards in order to provide our users with the best possible experience.
Our last iteration was in 2012, at the time our mobile apps were riddled with bugs, our site's design was outdated, and we had a lot of catching up to do. Having worked with Humaan on numerous other projects, we knew they'd be a great fit for our rebrand, redesign, and mobile app development. The mobile apps were developed from scratch and we've just relaunched on both iOS and Android to amazing reviews and feedback. Apart from a huge redesign, the apps also included lots of new features, and is now available in both English and Arabic. This was a great challenge that took a lot of hard work and effort to finally overcome and we couldn't be happier with the results.