Durham University iOS App
A unique interactive app, created in collaboration with Durham University musicologists & Gem Arts to capture the beauty of Indian classical music.
Khyal is an educational and interactive new iPad app, designed and developed by Komodo Digital for Durham University, in collaboration with GemArts.
The app was built as part of a multimedia exhibition entitled ‘Khyal: Music and Imagination’ that set about bringing together “visual artists and musicians to explore diverse visual responses to Indian classical music”.
The digital element of the project focused on the following objectives:
- An intuitive and interactive way to experience the unique Khyal performances.
- Quantifiable metrics tracked via Google Analytics
- Positive feedback from gallery visitors and App Store reviews
We were first introduced to the style of Khyal by the Music Department at Durham University. For those who haven’t had the pleasure, Khyal is a genre of classical singing in North India, with the name coming from an Arabic word meaning “imagination”. With that in mind, we felt that is was important the project lived up to the name.
As with all projects, our design team scoped out the user journey and began crafting the wireframes of the new app. The main premise being that the iPad app would feature two main performance videos, which were compressed, pre-bundled and embedded within the app itself. This helped to keep the size of the app at a reasonable level and removed the need to download extra assets from a server, which could slow down performance.
Imagining The Music
On opening the app, the user is presented with the option to view one of two different Khyal performances, ‘Raga Shyam Kalyan‘ or ‘Raga Miyan ki Malhar‘. Each video is associated with 4 individual audio tracks, which the user can interact with via the built in channel-mixer controls. The additional sound bar alongside the slider was added during development, providing a greater visual representation of the music.
Working with Komodo has been an exciting and rewarding experience. They helped us to develop and shape our ideas within the frame of a clear and professional workflow. We achieved the creation of an iPad app that was in ways even better than what we initially envisioned.
Dr Simone Tarsitani
Research Technician, Durham University
The app also allows the user to choose the section of the video timeline they would like to watch, simply by dragging their finger left or right, depending on whether they would like to go back or forward in the video.
During playback, the user is shown short and relevant text prompts that are assigned to predefined time stamps in the video. This functionality was built in to aid the user in identifying particularly interesting parts of the performance, as defined by the Durham University team.
Each performance is accompanied by 3 information panels, comprising of the video, the mixer, and a text sidebar. All of which enable the user to interact with the app and read information, while watching and listening to the video.
Finally, to help the Durham University team to better understand how the app is being used and to quantify its effectiveness, we embedded Google Analytics tracking associated with a handful of useful metrics. By doing so, it became easier to highlight areas such as the most popular audio channels and the number of playbacks on each video.
We thoroughly enjoyed working with the team at Durham University in bringing the app to life. We’d like to wish them great success in spreading the word of Khyal music and increasing its interaction and engagement through the app and their future endeavours.
If you’re interested in finding out more about the project, or to download the free Khyal Music app, head over to the Music Department section on the Durham Unversity website.