Let the Music Stream
I love streaming music.
In the past I tried Spotify, Pandora, Rdio, etc and they all fell short on great musical suggestions and similar tastes. The same horrible bands always seem to pop up even when thumbed down or have no relation to the musical style. However, when YouTube upped its streaming to full albums without interruption or ads it brought me back to the CD days (Yes, I could say Cassette as well but that was outdated once I got into music. For records I wasn't even Born).
The simple act of listening uninterrupted to music was and is a wonderful thing, and I do it everyday when I am working/home. No matter the style, I seek out the “FULL-ALBUM” or “Mixes” when I search YouTube. I don’t have to worry about changing the song, or thumbing it up/down. I just listen to the music, the simplest act.
Recently I noticed YouTube added a play button icon to the tab when the user is playing music. It goes away when you pause. This got me thinking what else could this do and be. With my use with YouTube as a music streamer, I would love someone (google) to make some changes as a Chrome Plugin. A few UX wants for Web, which I will illustrate.
The first is a music progress bar. Seeing the progress visually would let the user know when the music is almost over (simple right), but more importantly their next interaction with YouTube. Picking a new song, album, video, searching etc. All of these actions happen (in the case of full-streaming album) after the “song” has ended. By showing this progress, the user doesn’t have to check when it will end while they are doing other tasks. Only until the song is close to being over does the user have to worry about what the next musical selection is and makes this decision visually.
Instead of using a clock, I use music. The progress of an album or mix is a time benchmark for work and allows me to set goals based on music. I can focus on the task and not when my song is going to be over, no longer interrupting my work to to see when it will end.
The second is the ability to pause and un-pause (initiate play) music by only using the tab and not interacting with the video/page (or in this case, the full-streaming audio).
These changes would allow the user to play and pause the “music” video while not going to the page physically, eliminating the jumping back and forth between web pages/tabs to interact with the YouTube music.
The user knows what music they are playing, so covering the Title further doesn’t make it harder for the user. Only when the user opens more than 35+ tabs (Mac 15inch) does the YouTube mark go away with the play icon still in place. This would still allow for the functionality of play and pause to work.
Some extra functionality: the replay button Icon could also be added, essentially making the tab a mini-YouTube music player console. In the case of multiple videos in a playlist next “track” buttons could also be helpful and eliminate the need to go to the page to change the song. Or, make a widget that syncs up with a streaming a YouTube video playing in your browser (Think how hangouts shows/hides).
The key takeaway is the ability to pause, start, and see the musical progress without jumping out of your current tab. You may be banking, shopping, and want to just pause your “music” quickly for what ever reason. Having to fumble back to your YouTube tab to pause your music is a challenging experience as it is hidden in the video or player on the page itself. As youtube was started as a video streaming service and not an intended music streaming platform, this makes sense for the current functionality.
Now that users have added music content the platform has changed to be multifunctional in both music and video. Even now, YouTube has a Music section on the site promoting this style of use, and it would be great to see these features implemented to help bolster the music side of YouTube.
I’ll still keep using YouTube for music streaming until actual improvements are made to the music analytics on all of the current music streaming platforms. This could be a market YouTube really moves towards and embraces, and they are already doing it through allowing videos with only audio and a static picture in them. Add a little functionality and you have your self a music player.
InstituteDesign — Rob