Spoti Blendr, A Feature Addition to Spotify.

This was a team project and I will be talking you through our design process and how we came to our solution.

Team members consisted of : Michelle Hsu- UX Designer, John Evans- UX Designer and myself.

Spotify provides a platform for folks to create radio stations or browse through the music collections of artists, friends and celebrities. Spotify users are able to “like” artists’ tracks, follow artists, create radio stations and playlists. Although users are able to curate their own playlists from songs they select, Spotify would like to create a feature that allows users to collaborate, DJing their select tracks with other users in real time. Through research, user interviews, user testing and many iterations during the design process, we found that The great majority of music streamers use Spotify for their needs, however more tech savvy audiophiles turn to other platforms due to their advanced collaboration and sharing features.

Project Plan

Before we dove head first into this new project, we had to create a project plan. In order for this project to have a successful outcome, we needed a strong foundation. My teammates and I scheduled out what needed to be done, by whom and by when it should be completed. Even though we did deviate from this original plan, it was always a reliable tool to refer back to when we felt a little lost.

Discovery and Research

Branding & Element Analysis and Market Positioning Analysis
Feature Comparison Analysis

We started off doing Competitive/ Comparative analysis. We studied and compared Spotify’s competitors which were, Apple Music ( iTunes), Soundcloud, Amazon Prime Music, Livestream.com, Tidal and Bandcamp. The analysis that we conducted were to compare the Branding & Elements and Marketing Positioning of these companies. We also did a Feature Comparison between these companies as well.

The key findings from the analysis that we discovered:

Market Position — Spotify’s main competitors in this field pursue a business model more aligned to social media and tech savvy users.

Branding and Element — Spotify has a globally recognized brand and styling which is a strength — our feature would not seek to stray from this model.

Feature Comparison — Spotify’s competitors (bar one) do not have comment capabilities. This provides an opportunity.

User Research

We now had a clearer idea of the competitive market of online streaming, it was time to conduct our User Research to further understand our user. We created and sent out Screeners to gather data on people’s behaviors when listening to music. We had 84 responses and some of the questions that we asked were, “ What programs do you usually use to listen to music?”, “What programs do you usually use to share music?”, and “ How often do you use music streaming services?.”

The key takeaways from this initial screener and survey were that, (1)Spotify is among the most popular with streaming music. (2) Spotify’s sharing capability is not as popular as Youtube’s. (3) Most people were not interested in DJing at all.

Results from Survey
Results from Survey
Results from Survey

User Interviews

From the data gathered from our initial survey/screener, we know what the most popular streaming service and how often people listened to music. We needed to now understand why they felt that way and dive deeper into their behaviors so we selected 9 participants from our screeners to interview either in person or over the phone.

User Interviews

We wrote down quotes from our subjects and started to make an affinity map. We separated the map into four quadrants: Pains, pleasure, behaviors, and context. We noticed a trend of behaviors filling up overwhelmingly and we were unable to see a clear pattern.

Affinity Mapping
The struggle is real.

We decided as a group that we needed to conduct another round of user interviews to try to get deeper into why people listen to music and what music means to them.

We were glad we hit this roadblock because the answers from our second round of interviews gave us some profound answers that uncovered some trends we can pursue. It also made it clear that there are two different user groups and they have different needs.

User Research 2
2 Different User groups

From the findings of our User Interviews we were able to create our personas that reflected our two users. Our Primary Persona was Audley. (it’s a British name apparently) He works a typical 9–5 job, but hates it. He’d love to do something more creative with his life and is looking to get into music producing. His tech empathy is High.

Our Secondary Persona is Erica. She’s more of a common user. She listens to music regularly, and loves to share her musical taste with her friends. Her tech empathy is average.

From studying our Primary Persona we came up with a problem and solution. The problem is that the great majority of music streamers use Spotify for their needs, however more tech savvy audiophiles turn to other platforms due to their advanced collaboration and sharing features. Our idea is that Spotify could address this by providing a feature allowing users to collaborate on playlists as well as listen/comment on others peoples playlists.

Heuristic Evaluation and Feature Prioritization.

We conducted a Heuristic evaluation on some of the competitors to see what they do well and perhaps uncover some opportunities for Spotify.

We then did a bit of brainstorming of some features we can offer our personas. Given the limited time frame, we know we couldn’t give them everything they wanted. We had to prioritize the features.

The features we ultimately focused on were, Easy sharing, Joining rooms/ projects, Adding songs to set/projects, publish projects and providing feedback/ comments.

User Scenario/ Storyboard

Our team then came up with a scenario and created a storyboard to give our feature addition a bit of context.

Concept Ideation

Our user research led us to sketching wireframes and working out the design elements. We knew this was not a re-design of Spotify. We knew this was just an addition to the current App. We wanted this feature to work seamlessly and breath like Spotify and therefore, Spoti Blendr was born.

What is a Spoti Blendr?

A blend is a combination or a mixture that the constituent parts are indistinguishable from one another. Spoti Blendr combines songs together seamlessly with a flip of a toggle. It’s a easy, quick and painless way of making mashups that any music lover can enjoy.

Sketching and Wireframing

Michelle’s sketches. Incorporated her main screen concept.
pop-up window concepts

User Flow

User Flow for Primary Persona
User Flow for Secondary Persona

User Testing

We conducted 3 rounds of Usability Testing and it showed us some pain points and problem areas of our design. The following are some of the trends we uncovered.

We implemented the following changes,

Prototype

The prototype can be found here,

Video of prototype in use.

The Invision Prototype can be found here,

Spec Doc

Please take a look at our Spec Doc. below.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/pg69bs4x56xrw9e/Spec%20Doc%20Spotibeans-1_low.pdf?dl=0

Next Steps

Our Short Term Next Steps are to:

  • Create High Fidelity Prototype for Mobile app.
  • Refine scrolling function of iPad App.
  • Increased presence of sharing options for users.
  • Further usability testing

Our Long Term

  • Further competitive analysis of online DJ platforms.
  • More research into possibility of higher spec dj platform.
  • In depth exploration of comment feature (connectivity between DJ and Listeners).
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