Making pro audio accessible to new audiences

MOTU Pro Audio R&D 
UI/UX, Brand & Identity, Information Architecture, Web Prototyping & Interaction, 3D Modeling, Usability Testing & User Research

MOTU is an engineering-driven music technology company. I worked on their R&D team to improve the user interface design of emerging products and to help lower the technical barriers to entry for the brand. 

MOTU started in the 80’s as MIDI was just emerging as a technology with their product, Performer which later became Digital Performer (DP). DP was the first ever Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) for Macintosh. MOTU’s product line expanded to hardware for audio and video production along with plugins for use with DP.

My work spanned a wide range of user experience concerns — from site UI to product software interface design.  I acted as a bridge between design and engineering, crafting high fidelity  prototypes that enhanced MOTU’s products and user experience.

Created a simpler and more intuitive user experience to amplify MOTU’s product line and connect with new audiences for DP (Digital Performer), AVB Product Line, and their marketing website.

The business case for a new audience
In the 2010’s the audio market had begun shifting towards smaller studio setups. MOTU built their brand around excellent engineering quality. Many of their users had learned how to use MOTU equipment in school and became lifelong users thereafter. However as the audio industry began to shift towards smaller studio setups, it was critical that MOTU equipment retain its promise of engineering quality while also bridging technical gaps.

Finding a way to open the brand to a new audience while retaining credibility with valued customers presented a unique challenge. I spoke with our new target audience and learned that audio quality, portability and price point were the main factors driving their purchasing decisions. Audio is an especially opaque field and is daunting to newcomers. I aimed to show our products in a context that was closer to that of our target audience. In addition I aimed to create a complete model for how our products compared to each other that balanced the concerns of these new users.

Marketing Site Homepage Concepts – late 2013 Photography by Lulu Liu

In addition I redesigned how our existing users accessed downloads and troubleshooted their products. This work decreased calls to customer support because users were finally clear on the firmware update model for their MOTU products. 

Towards networked audio

In 2013, audio interfaces were starting to go the way of external harddrives. It was clear customers were beginning to care about one thing when it came to choosing an audio interface— $ per I/O (the number of inputs and outputs).

Audio Routing Interface Design Sketches – mid 2013

I developed a user research and design ideation process for their then nascent AVB line of audio hardware products with software control interfaces. I designed a more intuitive and approachable interface to connect the hardware complexity with the software UI and to reflect prevailing changes in usability standards from other touch interface applications.

Preset Menu for MOTU’s AVB Product Line  – early 2014

Exploring the space where technology, design, and business overlap.

© Larisa Berger 2019 All Rights Reserved