Head Beat



"Head Beat" allows users to explore their creative side by making their own sick beat using 7 head interactions: turn left, turn right, tilt left, tilt right, tilt back, mouth open, and blink. Though the filter is challenging to use, the end result is worth it! "Head Beat' achieved peak virality when musicians on both Instagram and TikTok scrambled to showcase their own sick beats! Even TikTok decided to jump aboard and took inspo from "Head Beat" to create their very own "Face Musician".

Try it out on Instagram here!

The Idea

During quarantine, one of my best friends got a Casio keyboard piano and we would spend hours on it coming up with and playing sick beats! Because it was such a great creative outlet for us, I thought why not translate that experience into a filter for people anywhere to use to create their own beats!

The User Experience

Initially, my idea was to create a virtual "drum pad" that users can tap on the screen to play and record their own beats. However, this wasn't a great user experience because of screen size. Then I realized that I could use the plethora of face interactions that SparkAR (the tool used to create AR effects for Instagram and Facebook) provides natively to play each sound.

Because there are a limited number of simple head movements, I had to be specific with what sounds to select. Ultimately, I chose the most common and versatile ones that both general users and musicians recognize. This decision makes the "learning curve" less steep as the user is already familiar with aspects of the effect.

Design and Mood Board in Figma

Concepts Applied

  • Color and Icons as Feedback
    In my opinion, color and intuitive icons are the fastest methods to give feedback to users. Changing the background color of the text to indicate that specific sounds have been "activated" and "played" in combination with icons indicating the direction of head movement makes it extremely intuitive for the user to understand how the game works and keep up with what is happening.
  • Minimalistic Visual Design
    Every visual element in the filter (text and icons) exists only to convey useful information to users. I made the design choice to only have text elements so that users don't have to waste time figuring out what to do during the game. There is no need for instructions or any other decorative element.
  • Delightful Animation
    Animation is an excellent way of adding delight to a filter. Additionally, it's a useful method to smoothly transition between different states of a filter. I used a fade in/out animation to change the text color.

Maximizing Replay Value

The best filters tend to be those that can be used over and over again. It's a lot more fun when users can keep replaying the filter with a different experience each time.

Having a high replay value also helps to boost the virality of the filter. More times played per user means more stories posted and higher changes of their followers discovering and using the filter.

So what is a strong reason to motivate users to continue to replay "Head Beat"? Not only is it challenging and rewarding to use, users can make a unique beat each time they replay!

The Result

Impressions: 475,375,018

Opens: 70,594,481

Captures: 11,981,535

Shares: 880,267

Last updated: 11/11/2021

Example Content

The Press

This filter was also featured in a few places:

Ready to take off?