Inspiration can come from anywhere. This time, it came from Supernatural - a VR workout app meant to gamify and bring fun into working out.
I recently got into Supernatural and realized that I spent a lot of time looking for the next playlist I wanted to do, which would lower my heart rate when I was trying to keep it up!
In 2 afternoons, I mocked up what I imagine a playlist queue would look like on the Supernatural mobile app.
But before I made a playlist queue...
What I really wanted to make was an individual song queue or a custom playlist. As much as I wanted to choose my individual songs, I started to ask a couple of questions and, based on my assumptions and additional research, changed to a playlist queue instead.
Why would Supernatural not be able to let you pick individual songs?
Each playlist is curated with a certain difficulty and coach in order to feel like a complete and cohesive workout experience. If you picked individual songs, that cohesiveness would disintegrate.
How are the playlists built?
The playlists are built as a complete journey. The coaches' dialogue references what you have completed, where you are now, and where you will be. Phrases such as "now that last song was more X" or "Last time I asked you to X" are part of that cohesive experience.
What would dissecting a playlist entail?
Without editing each song, pulling random songs out of playlists may result in a hectic experience for the athletes. They'll hear different coaches, referencing things that didn't happen, and different tempos of music.
While I don't fully understand how Supernatural builds its playlists and songs, I thought about the technology I could see and determine what could be a technological challenge. By grounding my design on the tech, I pivoted to a more realistic design.