Digital product designer | User Experience

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Yousician is the easiest way to learn and play the guitar, piano, bass and ukulele. With 50 million users in 154 countries, it is the world’s largest music educator.



Yousician is the easiest way to learn and play the guitar, piano, bass and ukulele. With 300 million users in 154 countries, it is the world’s largest music educator.


TYPE: ios, Android & PC apps

ROLE: ux leadership & UI design

DATE: 2015 - 2017




650 years

of music played


Monthly users




The challenge

As the company's first design lead I became an advocate for design culture and helped update Yousician's line of products.

We conducted UX research, formed a unified product look, improved usability and prepared Yousician for next phase of growth.


I want to mention three main opportunities...


1st opportunity

Restructure app architecture, improve usability and update looks.


Technical limitations

Yousician is made with Unity3D, an unusual choice that allowed us to deploy on four platforms using one codebase and reach more users at a fraction of native development costs.

But Unity3D also brings limitations. It’s unique rendering system makes it difficult to construe sharp interfaces and achieve the swiftness of native apps. Things users take as granted—smooth scrolling, immediate responsiveness, HiDPI rendering or standardised components need to be build by hand if they are possible to achieve at all.


But in the end we managed to get...


We didn't want to start from scratch, instead our goal was to clean up and create a creative sandbox in which we could easily plug-in-and-out experimental features.




2nd opportunity

Empower team to embrace design culture. Be the advocate of usability and experience focused design.





Together with our fresh blood—user researcher Terhi Väistö, PhD we compiled a set of user personas for product managers to use.

UX Principles

We also built a set of think-tools to help our team create consistent and meaningful features that all feel truly Yousician.


And I did my best to help everyone interested to express their ideas visually and be able to use our designs with ease.


Personas are a key tool for product makers.

How the hell do you design anything without knowing for whom?


UX principles may seem generic but they help teams create a consistently "their" experience.

1. UI Gets Out of The Way

2. Self-Evident & Actionable

3. Guided Experience

4. Familiar

5. Consistent

6. Emotional & Positive

7. Human & Real World Inspired

8. Personalizable & Adaptive

9. Social and Connected

10. Independent but Owned

An example of fully written out experience principle.

An example of fully written out experience principle.

Writing with clarity and giving examples eliminates uncertainty and inspires the right thinking, otherwise this guidance would be daunting and in-actionable for other team members.



3rd opportunity

Make design approachable by making easy to use tools for mockups and development.



When I joined, design was this mythical, arty, unattainable, glorious thing belonging to marketing. Ugh! Everybody should use our trade's tools in product decision-making.

Design is pretty damn pragmatic field, let's finally leave this fluff in the 2000's.


UI toolkit to let everyone play

This unified vector kit of components helps product managers imagine features with simple drag’n’drop. The kit also mirrors prefabs in Unity UI so developers can implement views with the same ease.



Lastly it was important to document all designs and make sure they are up to date with the design files.

Developers helped me translate these into a Unity3d prefab library that allows for super easy development of new features.



In the end...

During my time with the guys and girls at Yousician we took the apps from pure functionalism to a rounded personable interface, established a consistent look and greatly improved usability.

The app became a platform for growth that can support two years of experimental development without sacrificing user experience.

And hopefully, Yousician as a company has became more design aware; ready to embrace user-centered thinking to build the best music learning tools in the world.


You should try Yousician yourself and see if we managed to reach our goals...




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Every year I take 6 weeks off to backpack through someplace. I've been to Southeast Asia, Southwest Europe and Eastern Block.

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