Active listening means listening becomes the primary activity: putting on some music and dedicating your full attention to it.
Not everyone listens to music like this. Not everyone wants to listen to music like this. However, for those who do, it is a rewarding experience.
Like many mindful practices, active listening requires focus. Listeners must be aware of their emotional response to the song and pay attention to the individual musical elements of the song. Ultimately, the users seeks to discover a subjective and articulate response to the music.
Users commented on early wireframes that they expect to see the album somewhere on the dashboard. When users start an active listening session, it is usually because their primary motivation is to understand the full album, not its individual songs.
Individual songs are used to understand the full album. In later iterations, I added an album tracklist. This also allows users to see the order tracks are listed in the album, which is also important for analysis.
Users commented on early wireframes that they were satisfied with the simplicity of the dashboard, allowing them to focus on their affective response to the music rather than overanalyzing individual elements. They were disappointed that adding new elements would create additional clutter.
However, adding new elements would provide users with tools for deeper analysis if they chose to. In later iterations, I decided that adding new elements would open a second screen for deeper analysis.