Spotify Concept: Engaging People Through Conversation About Music
Spotify is the world’s biggest digital music streaming platform by the number of subscribers. Users have access to millions of collections of music, plus podcasts, and other audio contents. Like many other users, checking out my favorite artist’s latest release, listening to my recent on-repeat songs or simply scrolling down Today’s Top Hits becomes a part of my daily routine.
However, I want to be more engaged with the app and other users. I decided to conduct interviews to see if other music lovers feel the same way as I do.
Understanding Why People Are Not Engaged
1. Users think Spotify can be easily replaced by other music apps due to the lack of uniqueness.
“I wouldn’t mind if Spotify is out of the music streaming market. Apps like Apple Music, Youtube Music have similar but even more functionalities.”
2. Users want to check feedbacks and see how other people react to the song.
“I want to share a song that I like to other people. But sometimes I’m afraid that they are going to judge my music taste…”
3. Users want to be more engaged with the app.
“There’s not a lot to to do other than browsing music and listening to them on Spotify.”
People want to have an engaging experience with other music lovers, but it’s hard to share their favorite music or talk about their music taste with people who are not their close friends. Often times, they are worried that their opinions about music not being approved or recognized.
Figuring Out What and How to Implement
I sat down with my friends Judy Huang and WeiJing Zhang for hours to brainstorm ideas. After exploring, we narrowed down our ideas to three potential opportunity spaces that we think are worth pursuing.
- Music & People: How might we make the audience feel more relatable to the song they listen to?
- Interaction Between People: How might we encourage people to have meaningful conversations about music?
- Functionality: How might we increase users’ retention for a song through the functionalities of the app?
Looking back to what I proposed, Interaction Between People is the opportunity space that ties back the most to the People Problem. It would potentially be a solution to the problem. So, I decided to tackle Interaction Between People: a comment feature.
How Other Products Implement Comment Feature
To understand the trend of designing a comment feature on mobile apps, I took a careful look at competitors or other platforms on the market that have a similar interaction and analyzed their UI, UX flow, and key features.
The research shows that apps use different ways to incorporate interactions in a comment section based on their purposes. However, there are similar elements and interactions across these apps. Here are my key findings:
Social Media like Instagram and Facebook are heavily emphasized on making sure that users have access to all kinds of interactions. Users can @ another user, like, reply, or react to comments with emoji.
Streaming apps like SoundCloud and YouTube aim to provide a platform for users to talk to whoever comes across their comments. They have much fewer interactions but still manage to include basic interactivities such as to reply, like or dislike, etc.
Deciding on Content Requirements
Using my market research as references, I listed out the important elements to include in my design.
In the initial approach for designing Spotify’s comment feature, I was considering a side-feature of allowing users to share the comments they made to their profile page. Yet, I realized that the implementation of this feature might be too ambitious and did not solve the People Problem I proposed.
The Entry Point
To figure out the best option for the access point, I dove into a series of user testings.
Option D introduced the entry point in a hidden way and required extra steps to get to the comments. From the feedback, I learned that this could potentially discourage users from accessing the comment section and making comments. Therefore, D did not solve the People Problem. Even though options A and B prevented the disruption of the current UI flow, they failed to provide enough visual breathing space for the eyes.
Overall, option C received the most positive feedback from my user testings. However, Option C changed Spotify’s current UI flow, but after taking into consideration the importance of white space in a design, I decided to pursue option C.
Option B incorporated a button that leads the users to a separated page for adding comments. This option allowed users to make their comments without being influenced by other users. Also, having a larger text box could potentially encourage them to write more. Yet, I realized that moving to another page created a sense of disconnection and did not engage the users in a conversation with others. I pursued A because it allowed the users to see other people’s comments while making their comments, which aligned with my People Problem.
In option A, the sorting button was at the top right corner. I found out that it was hard to reach when using one hand, and it seemed to be disconnected from the comment section. In both B and C, there was not enough white space among the sorting icon, ‘Post’ button, and the text field. Option C had the button and the total count of comments placed in between song info and the ‘Post’ button. I realized that this placement made the UI seem visually odd. In option E, the sorting button was on the right side of the text field. The ‘Post’ button is displayed on top of the keyboard whenever the users click the text field to add a comment. Since sorting comments is not related to adding comments, it might lead to potential confusion. Therefore, I combined D and E in option F. The sorting button was placed under the text field while aligning with the total count of comments. I decided to pursue F.
Additional Elements To Incorporate in the Comment Section
I also incorporated additional elements in the comment section to improve the functionalities of the feature. Users perform the same action to report or delete a comment since both of them are negative responses toward a comment. This user action would be natural for Spotify users because it already exists in the app. If the users want to report a comment and once they swipe left, they will be able to select the reason for reporting. There’s also confirmation for both posting and deleting the comment.
Here is the UI Kit that I generated from my analysis.
Final Interaction for Comment Feature
I built a prototype that shows the entire flow of Spotify’s comment section including all the features I incorporated in the design.
Spotify is an efficient platform to discover other music from artists you already like and new music similar to those you enjoy. However, I feel like that is all Spotify offers. Users would like to see what others think about songs so that they can be more engaged with the app and other users. In the future, I would like to explore more opportunities that could potentially allow for more purposeful interactions on Spotify.
This semester-long project was completed with many people’s help. Thanks to everyone who participated in the brainstorming, user testings, and critique sessions, and to Cornell AppDev for introducing me to the world of digital product design.
This was my first ever UX case study and design process. If you have any feedback or suggestions in general, I would love to hear that. Thank you for reading! :)