Vibrant Living

An application to elevate users mood through music, a respond to ELEVATE hackathon challenge.

Alto final product

Hackathon Challenge

What innovations and technologies will enhance our culture and wellbeing? What role can music, data, and technology play in ensuring connection and day-to-day happiness in a smart city?

The Question

How might we understand and elevate users moods using auditory technology in their everyday experiences and routines through intrinsic motivation?

Our Solution

Alto is an application which facilitates users idle time to elevate their mood through a tailored music playlist.

Click or tap the following link for the Alto prototype:Alto Music Application



In the modern age, our cities are changing to more diverse and smarter ways of living. The citywide cultural shift into a modern era, the growth in population and the need for optimizing the lives of citizens in these smart cities will require us to design tools and mediums to enhance the quality of everyday life throughout these cities.

What is missing

Through our research, we understood that there is a citywide need to improve the mood of the general population throughout their daily lives. The average working person is spending about 34 minutes in transit every day. Facilitating this idle time with carefully tailored music towards the target mood of the user is what Alto is all about.

Design Process

Through the process, we decided that this is a mobile application product. The target audience is the general public mostly between the ages of 15 to 45. This product is intended to improve the lives of city population by enhancing their mood through music.

  • Why is this app required? To elevate the mood of our city.
  • What is it going to do? It will tailor a playlist according to your current mood and the target mood.
  • Who is the target audience? From casual music listeners to audiophiles
  • When are they using Alto? On their commute to work or anytime they are in need of music.
  • Where can they use the app? In the car, bus, in the park or anywhere that they have a connection to the internet.


We started with a divergent approach to touch as many points as possible regarding the city and the communities within Toronto.

Research criteria

Below are some of the research criteria that we covered. After we had all the points available to us we started the convergent approach to increasing our qualitative data.

  • Spotify UX analysis.
  • Streaming versus Downloading.
  • Music Buying Habits.
  • Comparisons of Different Music Streaming services.
  • Brain activity of deaf individuals when presented to vibrations meant to mimic the music.
  • The research on a hardware that allows deaf people to experience music.


By finalizing our goals we managed to direct our research and design process more focused. We needed to understand the user’s needs, pains, and goals. How will they see this idea for everyday use and from accessibility standpoints? This was the process we used so we could, later on, develop these ideas into an actual product.


Key Features

Following are the main features we developed, that can be included in the final product

  • Predicting and suggesting mood and delivering a unique experience playlist.
  • Sending metadata through biometrics and analysis.
  • Rating public areas and their moods for rewards.
  • Colour sensitive mode.
  • Vibration for hard of hearing mode.
  • Historical or significant notifications.

Additional features

We also foresee some additional features which can be considered as scalable features when the product is successfully approved.

  • Celebrity endorsements and big company events.
  • Sections of the city will play free songs as a form of promotional events depending on the city policies.

Personas and User Journey

We had different personas and scenarios to cover as much ground as possible. One of which was Nikita.

  • Demographics: Nikita Sethi is a 22 year old female living in Scarborough, Ontario. She is a student at OCAD University and she is using TTC subway as a mode of transportation every day.

  • Biography and Psychography: Nikita was four years old when diagnosed with a hearing impairment. She is currently attending OCAD University for Illustration program. Being the only child and feeling self-conscious about her hearing aid, Nikita tends to feel socially isolated that leads to her having a difficult time interacting with people. However, her music playlist occupies her mindset in a positive mode whether she is commuting to school or working on her assignments in order to maintain her peace. Every day her playlist grows and she is adding to that playlist until she can form a calming and soothing songs collection. Her playlist impacts her everyday routine and helps her to maintain and settle her into a peaceful state.

  • Scenario: On her way to school, she sits in her happy spot before attending class. She uses her time adding music to her personalized playlist that helps her with her mood and brings her to a more positive state once she finds a new song to add her customized playlist.

  • Pains:Nikita is diagnosed with hearing impairment. She usually feels socially isolated and she tries to cover her hearing aid due to feeling self-conscious. She is an independent individual keeping herself occupied whether working on her illustrations, reading a book, or sometimes exploring Toronto by herself. However, when it comes to a social gathering or making friends, she tends to feel anxious about putting herself out there.

  • Feeling state & behaviour:Nikita tends to feel lonely since she is the only child in the family. It is very hard for her to interact with other people when she feels insecure. Her lack of social interaction continues to lower her self-esteem.

  • Music thoughts:Nikita finds music as a form of escapism and a way to elevate her mood. Her most intimate times are filled in with music. She feels that her playlist is the closest thing to a calming medicine for her soul and how she can be the hero of her story.

Wirefarmes and UI design


We needed the logo to be dynamic and smart to fit the identity of the brand. It needed to be recognizable at any scale and bring forth the idea of an A-list app that will be of regular use to the user.


Colour Logic

For our colour logic, we chose a calm, light and pastel like mood for Alto. We finalized 3 primary colours in our style tiles with the addition of some secondary colours and accents. We also narrowed down our typographical choices to two main typefaces and went through iterations of ideas until we reached the desired combination.



Ultimately, we started designing the user interfaces for the final product. We tried our best to implement many aspects of design in order to create a seamless user experience that can also be in line with accessibility requirements, offering our users a good experience throughout their daily routine when using Alto.



This Hackathon was a great experience for me. The passion and the commitment that every team member showed were exceptional. We worked on Alto for almost 3 days straight to have something unique to offer to such a prestigious and exceptional Hackathon and the city of Toronto. I'm glad that we took part in this Hackathon and I'm proud of what we accomplished in such a short time.

Next Work : Team Builder