Uplifting Interviews in Social Science with Individual Data Visualization: the Case of Music Listening

Collecting accurate and fine-grain information about the music people like, dislike and actually listen to has long been a challenge for sociologists. As millions of people now use online music streaming services, research can build upon the individual listening history data that are collected by these platforms.

Individual interviews in particular can benefit from such data, by allowing the interviewers to immerse themselves in the musical universe of consenting respondents, and thus ask them contextualized questions and get more precise answers.

Designing a visual exploration tool allowing such an immersion is however difficult, because of the volume and heterogeneity of the listening data, the unequal “visual literacy” of the prospective users, or the interviewers’ potential lack of knowledge of the music listened to by the respondents.

In this case study we discuss the design and evaluation of such a tool. Designed with social scientists, its purpose is to help them in preparing and conducting semi-structured interviews that address various aspects of the listening experience. It was evaluated during thirty interviews with consenting users of a streaming platform in France.

An example of AMPLI’s exploration part.

This paper has been accepted for publication in the extended abstracts of the ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI’22). This paper was written in the context of the RECORDS ANR project.