SPOTIFY MUSICBOARD - NEW FEATURE CONCEPT
Avid music listeners.
Create a feature that would increase the social community sharing aspect of the platform.
There’s a special connection between humans and music. Perhaps this is due, in part, to the way music evokes our emotions, or maybe it’s about embodied response. It’s amazing that even with brains that are far from neurotypical, music can still break through and allow for human interaction.
Spotify's mission is ''to help people listen to whatever music they want, whenever they want, wherever they want - in a completely legal and accessible way.''They want to improve engagement and retention in the app by expanding their social capabilities. I've done a research of how the music is experienced, what emotions it triggers and how is the music shared. Based on the result I've designed a new (fictional) Spotify feature to fill the problematical gap with a solution.
High-Level Design Goals and Objectives
Design a new social feature that embeds within the current Spotify platform.
Making sure that it embeds well and smoothly with the rest of the app.
Based on the users feedback I've decided to create a social sharing feature called MusicBoard. Share the music and moments with your closest ones on MusicBoard. Do you need to collaborate on some project or create a ''moodboard'' ? MusicBoard is the right place.
I interviewed 8 people in person and divided the interview process into two parts. First part consists of interviews that were focused on more general view of how participants listen to music. The main point of the first part was to know what is the emotional and practical background behind listening to music.
I focused the interview topics on sharing and discovery. I’ve seen some patterns that I wanted to go further into. The second part focused on the specific pattern of sharing the music outside of the platform that I’ve noticed during the first part of interviews. All of the interviews were done on 1-1 basis.
Interviews: First part
8 people joined the research part. Audio recordings below show how few of these interviews went (not edited tracks).
- Sharing the music through messenger
- Hearing music on public and discovering it through Shazam
- Discovering the music by listening to ''discovery section''
- Discovering new music through famous artists that are followed by participants
- Music Sharing is intimate and personal thing, it should be done with a consent
- Aversion to show what you listen to a broad audience ( FB friends for example)
- Sharing music with one friend or relative
- Ads on Spotify and Shazam are distracting
- Patterns of following famous artists are strong
- Spotify's UX and UI is bit outdated
Interviews: Second Part
Sharing the music
- Sharing the link/song with one person at a time
- Pain is when a receiver doesn't have a Spotify account ( too much steps to play the song for the unregistered user)
- Sending the music from Spotify is valuable just for power users with premium accounts
- User who sends music wants to be sure that it is the exact song that he had in mind, not a variation or bad quality (problematic when the song is sent just as a title or through YouTube)
- One participant sends songs as screenshots - less steps than when sharing it through the button
- Messenger is a great way how to send a song ( it immediately notifies the recipient)
- The engagement with the messenger is high so it's easy to make a recipient noticed
- Participants share the Spotify link and assume that the receiver has a Spotify too
- All of the participants that used Spotify had a premium membership
- Users are in general content with the sharing process
The majority of people who participated work at tech companies. I can say that from my own personal experience, people who work in this field listen to music during their work every day. Interviews gave me a great insights base to create a persona and empathy map
Persona and Empathy Map helped me with a realization, that emotions and moments are important. I needed to specify how to observe the topic more so I've created Point of View Statements. I've decided to choose the following statement and work with it.
Crazy 8's Ideas
The next exercise helped me with creation of different ideas. I used Crazy 8's technique. It’s a fast sketching exercise that challenges people to sketch 8 different ideas in 8 minutes. I've made this exercise 4 times. The goal is to push beyond your first idea, which is frequently not the most innovative, and generate a wide variety of solutions to your challenge.
I've noticed a pattern that I could start working with. The idea was to connect and contribute listeners on the Spotify shared dashboard, which would be similar to Pinterest's shared board feature.
From this point I've created user scenarios = storyboard sketches ( with a help of Crazy 8's technique). Main ideas that poped up were sharing the music with a relative/loved one or having a board, where it's possible to have a playlist together and all of the participated sides have the access to add music. The second idea would be great for creating a project.
I've built a story when Christoph works with his brother on a music project. They need to source some inspiration, so that's why Christoph created the MusicBoard. That's not all, there is a possibility to like songs, the user prefers.
Based on the previous conclusions I've started with a creation of a userflow and a brief creation of wireframes, to specify the idea. I've decided to create desktop version and mobile version that would interact together ( to show 2 user behaviors).
Micro Low-Fidelity Wireframes
First High-Fidelity Iteration & Usability Testing
So the first iteration has been born. I've started with the usability testing of the flow. As you can see on the visual below, MusicBoard was divided into 2 sections. The user could give likes to songs that others added. 5 people joined the usability testing and helped me with creating the MusicBoard feature more efficient and consistent.
As you can see in the Affinity Map. The idea of having separated boards for each user was not valid after all. What would happen if more people would join the board for example. I've completely got rid of the intro dialog with permission and enabled to give likes to all of the songs. Amazing idea that is worth to thing about was to have a possiblity to comment song additions.
Final Iterations were done and the next step was to create prototypes. Sketch prototyping tool helped me with creating mock-ups.
Mobile App Prototype
This project was quite simple regarding to the UI. Because I didn't need think about the branding and visual aspect of design ( Spotify UI kit is available). The challenging part was to come up with an idea that would be enjoyable and still efficient. I believe that MusicBoard feature might open a possibility to create Spotify more interactive and social platform. There is also a space to go further with this feature and make it more complex and interactive with push notification and commenting options. To make it perfect, it would need to do another research and usability testing.