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Northwestern Student's Redesign of Apple Music Goes Viral

His Post on Medium Has Gotten Over 250,000 Views

When Northwestern student Jason Yuan failed to get an internship with the design department of Apple Music, he worked independently in his spare time for three months to create a redesign of the music-streaming service that he adores. Then he published it on Medium and waited to see if anyone would notice. Within a few days, Yuan’s post received over 250,000 views and drew the attention of Fast Company Design and BGR.

By his own count, Yuan’s redesign went through at least seventy-five iterations. To conduct user research, Yuan began approaching strangers in coffee shops, using interview techniques he had learned in classes taken through Segal Design Institute, including Design Thinking and Doing and UX Design.

“[At Segal Design Institute], a lot of the time is spent on teaching the design process,” said Yuan. “It really hammers into your mind that the process is very important.”

Yuan received support and encouragement from faculty at Segal Design Institute. “They took the time to really push me,” he said.

Jason YuanYuan is currently enrolled in a course called Human Centered Service Design taught by Jim Wicks and is a TA for Introduction to Industrial Design.

He also meets regularly with Pam Daniels,  Brandon Williams, and Jason George, Segal Design Institute faculty who co-taught the UX Design and Design Thinking & Doing courses that Yuan took previously.

Daniels explained that Yuan’s redesign exemplified what she and her colleagues attempt to teach every student who takes a design class at Northwestern. 

"Jason's redesign of the Apple Music user experience encompasses so many things we strive to teach our students," said Daniels. "It's deeply human-centered, finely considered in all its details, and pursued for the sheer love of making something better, not because anyone asked him to do it. It's thrilling to see him get recognition for his work and I love that he had the courage to go for it."

Yuan received help from Andrew Skwish, who taught him in a course called Engineering Portfolio Development and Presentation, to narrow the focus of his redesign.  

“Never have I seen someone approach his projects with such passion and enthusiasm,” said Skwish. “Jason is someone who saw a problem and he had ideas on how to fix them. Most importantly, he took it to the real world.”

Yuan’s journey will take him to a new place after the end of the spring quarter, but he intends to carry what he learned at Northwestern with him.

“I will be going to art school next,” said Yuan, who will be transferring to the Rhode Island School of Design. “But that is only possible because I was so supported here to discover design on my own pace until I felt confident enough to pursue this full time. I’m excited to have this kind of background and then go to art school to see what happens.”

When asked what advice he would give to other Northwestern students, Yuan replied “Rejection can feel like a hole that you’re sinking into, but it’s okay to feel like that. It’s human. What you have to do is show that negative feeling that it can’t control you, and you do that by doing things and making the most of what you have.”

View Jason Yuan's original post on Medium

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