How can service design be used to create both tangible and intangible value for a city’s music scene?

Soundsonder is a wayfinding service that introduces tourists to the people and places of Pittsburgh’s music scene based on their personal preferences. This project centered around bringing a business proposal to life through designing how multiple user experiences might fit together. I worked with Matt Prindible and Devika Singh on this project.

Concept Details

Service Blueprint

Our service blueprint outlines a user's weekend trip to Pittsburgh from arrival to departure. Our biggest challenges were designing how to bring users into the service itself and retain user engagement across multiple changes in location.

Soundsonder Service Blueprint.jpg

Value Exchange

Designing a service which generates tangible value was much harder than we expected. In short, Soundsonder’s tangible value is produced through users paying for premium content. Our search for tangible value led us to consider chat bots, social media data mining, and airBnB concerts before we settled on a freemium business model.

Sounsonder Value Flow Diagram.png


A service’s backbone is made up of touchpoints, distinct moments where users exchange value. Understanding how to bridge the interaction gap between digital and physical elements was a primary challenge within each touchpoint.



Scott Hershberger is the director of tourism services for Visit Pittsburgh, a local tourism company. Based on our conversations with Scott, we decided to focus on domestic tourists in order to limit our problem space. Airport baggage claims naturally afford waiting, so that’s where we sought to introduce users to Soundsonder.

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Testing concepts

Speed-dating scenarios and concepts with different classmates proved to be an effective way to bring in feedback from outside of our head space. The most constructive feedback we received was about what a user would do in-between the specific interactions we designed for.


Leaning on current musical and tourism infrastructure was a necessity in order to understand how Soundsonder might function in the real world. Even a “simple” service such as our own relied on a wide range of services and stakeholders, including Resonate, the Pittsburgh Airport, local music tastemakers, and many more.