UX and Usability for music festivals:
the case of Rock in Rio




Field research



Lead team

Ines A. Pereira

Paulo Noriega

Francisco Rebelo


I've been keeping a direct contact with music festivals for the last 7 years, especially with Rock in Rio, knowing well its organisational, corporate or marketing strategies, and also about the positive experience that is to work in an organization of this scale.

The idea for this research appeared when I started to delve into usability and UX field of knowledge, and realised that music festivals were an area where usability and UX professionals haven’t yet explored in an objective and systematic way. As such, being the first study of its kind in Portugal for a music festival, its direction had to be more exploratory, although with the adoption of validated and objective methods.

The defined objective was to evaluate the usability of common areas and the user experience of Rock in Rio participants, more specifically their opinion regarding the ease of use of those areas, and their level of satisfaction as a result of interacting with Rock in Rio events, that being measured by their emotional responses. Lastly, it was our objective to analyse participants’ expectations before entering and after leaving Rock in Rio festival, and their level of experience with music festivals.

Regarding the applied methods, and for the usability assessment, we opted to use semantic differential scales to evaluate space orientation, WC’s cleanliness, sound, food service and lighting quality, and also information flow quality. To assess user experience, we used Self-Assessment-Manikin scales (SAM) to measure participant’s affective responses after interacting with each event, more specifically events that took place at Rock in Rio sponsor’s stands. Furthermore, one team was assigned to interview participants before entering and after exiting the festival.

Data was recorded for every day of the festival (May 25th, 29th, 30th, 31st and June 1st 2014), between 4pm and 10pm, being processed and delivered daily as a summarized infographic report. Each questionnaire was adapted to the context (music festival), considering that in order to elevate the participation level this questionnaire had to be quickly answered (1-2 minutes max.), with clear and direct statements, among other aspects that only show to be relevant when the participant is in a music festival.

Due to the high number of participants (more than 3000), the procedure adopted to administer questionnaires included the use of iSURVEY/droidSURVEY, a phone app. This decision proved to speed up exponentially not just the administration of questionnaires, but also level of participation and data entry and processing.

This study included 3897 participants in total, and a team of 32 members (divided in 7 teams) composed by Ergonomics graduate, master and doctorate students as collaborators, and the project leaders: PhD. Francisco Rebelo, PhD. Paulo Noriega and myself.

My deepest thank you to all students, without their passion for science and their people skills this research would not have been possible. Also my loud thank you to PhD. Francisco Rebelo and PhD. Paulo Noriega for quickly adhering to this research idea, without fearing the crazy amount of work in front of ourselves, or the fact that a research of this magnitude and peculiarities was an unknown territory for all of us.

My personal contribution for this research

Team management

Events selection

Data selection for summarized infographic report

Summarized infographic report design and delivery

Partnership Manager/Lead

Needs assessment and management

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