Endel
Endel

Endel

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Product Critique - Endel

Written by Raffaele Vitale. Medium Post here

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🎶

We need the technology that makes our lives better without us having to do anything.

What's Endel

Listening to music wards off boredom and anxiety.

Our bodies and minds are not ready for the new world we live in, in constant information overload.

I was fascinated by Endel's history and mission.

How can technology help us adapt to this new world?

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Me as a Persona

  • Goals

I want to receive a personalized musical background based on what I am doing, which helps me to be in the state of Flow.

By doing this, I know that I will be better and happier than another music service of your choice that does not take into account the time, circandian rhythms and movement.

  • Motivation

By doing this, I know that I will be better and happier than another music service of your choice that does not take into account the time, circandian rhythms and movement.

  • Behaviors 

I use the Mac version app to focus on work or reading. I also use it to walk with my iPhone: where before I didn't use music in my evening digital declutter walk, now I use Endel. It wasn't a need until I found out.

Onboarding after signed-out

I managed to trace an onboarding that explains Endel, how it works and consent to data. Health is also required, so that we can synchronize with the time of day in which we find ourselves.

I was unable to follow all onboarding, because I am a regular Endel user.

By logging out, I immediately received the incentive to sign up for Endel with a discount.

First and only screen!

Controls

The interface is clean and essential.

The Adaptive sound-scapes to customise the sounds are clearly visible.

There are the initials of the states:

  • Relax
  • Focus
  • Go
  • Sleep

Extreme power to the user.

There is no step to tune in, when the app is launched we are already in automatic playback.

You can touch waves in this empty "space" of Endel and discover new sounds with a touch!

Below the moods that go automatically, there are the controls that are nothing more than overlays.

From left to right:

Play - Choosing Audio Device - Timer - Manifesto - Settings.

Play

Active states are always noted in white, and play is no exception. I don't find it a great choice to place it there in this hierarchy for the importance it has; it would be interesting to reassess it in the center of Endel's space.

Timer
  • allows to switch off automatically.
  • optionally sound the alarm.

I find it brilliant for simplicity and ease of use.

The attention to detail in defining the picker sound is fantastic. I have never heard the picker noise so well and detailed.

Manifesto

Refers to Endel and the latest articles. Is useful? Yes! Seeing him use, a friend asked me what it was and in a second I had him read the introductory page.

Scenario

The heart of the new update that prompted me to reuse Endel and leave all the Pomodoro Technique apps I had. We already had the timer before. Why integrate Scenarios?

  1. Customized specifically for what you need to do. When the Manifesto mentions that "they want to help you live better", it really is. Whether you are studying, reading, or doing Yoga, the session is truly created to help you focus on what you do by planning a timer within the section.
  2. The difference with the four macro options of the first screen The mood is different because it enters the specific area in detail, helping us with 2 or 3 time options that we want to focus on. Being general and not long-term activities, the non-choice to let us decide is fantastic. We have to follow that routine, that rule and personally it has given me so much power to concentrate while remaining fixed with their structure. I am still writing having set a 30 minute timer in Deep Work!
  3. It's so easy and pleasant to set There is nothing outside Endel, a swipe towards the other and a selection among many possible scenarios.

The patterns I noticed

Adaptive.
It's great to have like a "remote" player that isn't.

Endel simplifies, and adds in a delightful way.

It's there, Endel lets you interact and customize with your experience based on what you need. They do the right thing in informing and giving full freedom to the user.

Inclusivity

Vision 

Thinking about affordance, the color palette of the app couldn't be more simple. Greyscale, Black and White. It's super safe and inclusive for all.

Hearing 

On sounds, hands down. Attention to detail is extreme. In noisy contexts such as train station or en route, everything is not only ready to help you live the experience but it is created on purpose for this!

Motor 

Gestures are really really simple. The Scenarios, just a swipe at the top. And everything navigates and flows easily.

The site map and information architecture is organized in this way

Cognitive

As a user, I don't need any effort. There is no tutorial, there is nothing that weighs me down. I just have to open the app to use it.

How it looks. Domain of visual design, motion, sound, touch.

Aesthetic 

Brand

The mission is clear and visible from the site: an aid to concentrate with personalized sounds. I find the navbar a bit excessive in terms of content.

There are 8 entries that I find it difficult to scan at the beginning. "About" could be a macro area of Manifesto and Science and Partnership. "Newsroom" could include "Instagram".

What I would like to focus on is understanding why Endel is different: the Manifesto works well in dynamic experience. Science I find very interesting but there is an overload of text that can be daunting at first for a curious person.

Visual

The simplicity that I praised earlier has a price. Endel's personality remains flat in terms of colors and expressiveness. There are no gradients, shapes and everything is very essential. I do not mind as an approach, however in order to help certain moods the use of an addition at least of a different colour could be appropriate. The buttons and CTAs are however in grey and there have been no coloured Active-Inactive-Disabled. I think the sore point is Typography, the use of the Roboto typeface is far too minimal.

Motion

The only two animations that remain "static" in terms of flow are

  1. the touch on Endel's interface that enables small sounds and waves.
  2. the swipe for controls and scenarios that starts from the bottom up. It is enough for me to use the app and it is not tired to have such a simple and clean management. I would not be able to contextualize other use of Motion in this context that could be objectively better.

It would be interesting to understand from a User Funnel in what step Endel loses more users, in order to propose improvements in that specific area.

Information architecture 

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Overall Consideration

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I was very intrigued by the goal of balancing music and health of the circandian rhythms.

Especially in a post-COVID era, to avoid the overflow of news and stress related to work, I see in Endel a great chance of success.

You can check out

, a project I've made for receiving COVID free news.

The app is super simple, quickly explained and doesn't need to be sold.

Compatibility.

It was not the subject of my study, but as an Apple user there are integrations with the Mac and Watch app.

A note on the Mac app is that once the Scenarios are launched, the Play button is far too low where I would expect it to be.

Regarding the Apple Watch, using it with your mobile phone, you can immediately use the moods and check the timer if set.

What I would like to understand is where Endel loses more users in their User Funnel;

Feedbacks

Can't I change track? The sound that is studied and customised by Endel is to help you and it is an audio reproduced as Live. I have never found a case where it was not suitable for what I was doing. Pressing twice from the Airpods as if you wanted to change "track", only the mood changes.

The app meets my expectations of use, especially since the last upgade. After actively reusing it for more than 10 days, I can commend the developers' attention to detail. An example is the souno when a Scenario begins, which is a truly rewarding gong; as well as the timer picker.

Features

I would like to recommend a continuous flow to the Scenarios so that, after a Deep Work or Read session:

Framer file 👇🏻

"Need a break?"

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Simple touch I plan a 15 minute break in Relax or Chill.

Routines

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Insert multiple Scenarios into a Routines. For example, starting Endel again was a bit annoying at the beginning when I knew what to do (30 min of deep work + 10 minutes of reading + 40 minutes of creation ...).

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