Spotify wants to solidify their position as the top music streaming service by strengthening user engagement and retention on their platform. To do this, they want to expand their social capabilities with a feature(s) that will integrate seamlessly with the rest of the app. This social feature should aid Spotify in their goal of fostering deeper connections between people through music (Note: This is a fictional project through UX Academy, unaffiliated with Spotify).
My secondary research uncovered extensive online discussions around why social features would make sense for Spotify:
Spotify has a huge existing user base and a lot of data
Could increase user engagement and retention
No other platform has succeeded at social + music
I also found that submissions for new ideas are a major part of the Spotify community forums, and many of these ideas center around social features. Two of the most commonly submitted social features with the most user upvotes included a share integration with Instagram and “live listening”. The forum posts described live listening as something akin to user-created radio stations, where people could share what they’re listening to in real-time – either with friends or other Spotify users that are nearby.
My primary research consisted of interviews with avid streamers to discuss how they connect with others over music. Some patterns discovered during our discussions:
Platforms of choice: Spotify, YouTube, Pandora
Good: Easy search, on-demand control, high quality DJs/curators
Bad: Lack of control, inaccurate algorithms, duplicates, Spotify search results
Younger participants shared more frequently (at least once every few weeks)
YouTube is uniquely positioned for covers, live performances, small artists
Preferred share method: Direct YouTube link
synthesized my findings into a customer journey map:
Using these insights and needs, I next created a user persona – Jonathan – to help me gain a more nuanced understanding of the goals and needs of Spotify’s users:
After framing the insights and needs from my customer journey map into POV statements and HMW questions for brainstorming, I started on my feature roadmap. Unlike previous feature roadmaps I've worked on, this was my first time creating one for a project that involved adding a feature to an existing product – which is why I formatted it a bit differently: I restructured my brainstorming (HMW) questions into goals, organized them by priority, then selected and polished a few ideas from my brainstorming session to outline the features. I also included success metrics in the matrix: Concrete measurements that Spotify could use to determine whether each goal is being met. While the primary focus/priority would be the live listening concept, I included some other brainstorm ideas as potential (lower priority) features for the future.
I also created a task flow to show exactly how a Spotify user would walk through the live listening feature from beginning to end:
For my mid-fidelity wireframes, I referenced the Spotify mobile app to make my Live Listening screens fairly visually similar, but planned to polish them further at the hi-fidelity stage.
I synthesized my usability test findings into an affinity map to capture participants' task completion rates, error-free rates, comments, and questions – as well as any notable successes, roadblocks, or frustrations. I used these observations to derive insights and recommendations, which I organized by priority to guide me as I moved into the final phase of the project.
For my final set of wireframes, I tried to adhere my screens to Spotify’s existing branding and UI as closely as possible. I frequently referenced their app on my phone, so the screens I created are optimized for an iPhone 6. If I were to continue this project, I would adapt these designs for a wider variety of devices.
A notable aspect of the Spotify home screen is their “Daily Mix” artwork, which I recreated with custom cutout shapes and a collage of album images that I edited to achieve a duotone effect (a hallmark of their brand). I also created artwork for the new Live Listening feature in a similar style, with a brightly colored pulse/frequency cutout shape overlaid on the same album images.
Incorporating a new feature into an existing app provided a unique set of constraints, and I enjoyed the challenge of mimicking Spotify’s UI and branding.
I would be curious to do some further usability testing and see if Spotify users find the Live Listening feature valuable. Since I ended up simplifying the feature a bit for v1 (i.e., removing the ability to request songs for a frequency), I’d like to find out whether people would enjoy listening in real-time with others if they didn’t have control over the songs.