Drops is a new musical instrument built from the ground up for virtual reality. It's a cross between a drum machine and a zen garden that diverges from traditional music interfaces and enables the organic composition of complex rhythms and melodies.
It's intuitive to use and accessible to musicians and non-musicians alike. Its meditative environment is inspired by the renowned architecture of Tadao Ando, and it includes sound banks created by noted musicians Patrick Higgins and Patrick Russell.
Oculus called it "an artistic reimagining of what [VR] can and should be" in a detailed feature with its creator.
I recruited users and conducted on-site usability tests that would influence UX/UI improvements. I also ran a press and social media campaign, and developed content for marketing efforts, which included graphic design and copywriting.
I recruited a handful of potential users to come in for testing, and conducted the sessions with the app's lead developer. Everyone was given the same introduction and series of tasks to compare our findings of the beta’s discoverability and offer insight into what we could modify, add, or remove.
The results yielded useful improvements to the UI and flow of the menu, which were on palettes held in the the user’s less dominant hand. The tests also validated the need for one or two new features that were being considered.
I worked closely with the project’s creator to develop and manage content for Drops. This included copywriting, graphic design, and promotional videos. I often created rhythmic sculptures in the app and recorded the sessions myself, but there was a growing library of video content from other team members and artists that were invited to come by the studio and try it.
The top selections made their way onto Planeta's Instagram, which published frequent clips of Drops to grow interest before its public release. I also developed original quotes and bios of the artists directly involved with the app’s sound libraries for promotional use.
I created and executed a publicity campaign for the launch of Drops. It was announced as a news item on Resident Advisor - which is easily the most influential website for electronic music - making it the first VR app to be written about on the site.
CLOT Magazine included Drops in its feature on Planeta, and the app also received press in Create Digital Music, Gearnews, Prosthetic Knowledge, and Virtual Reality Reporter. I also executed a social media campaign via Instagram and Twitter to cultivate interest, particularly to those that were new to VR.
Drops 1.0 was released on June 6, 2018 on the Oculus and Steam stores. It's currently only available for the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.