Last time I shared my thoughts about how streaming services should work in general. I defined the core loop of such a service. I also shared my core vision of the redesign project. We already fixed navigation issues and discussed missing functionalities.
This article is the second part of my side/fun project — redesigning the Apple Music Service. I want to explore how Apple can make its product better and integrate it more with its vast ecosystem of software and hardware. I’m not Apple, Spotify or Jay-Z so I’m basing my thoughts on my own experiences and expectations.
This time, I plan to delve deeper into details. We’ll be talking about the interface itself for the most part.
Last time, I presented you with the first version of the redesigned welcome screen. During the past three weeks (OMG) I’ve had some time to rethink some things. This resulted in some changes and some additions.
We start with the search field. I missed this feature last time (shame on me).
The search experience is one of the most important ones in my vision of Apple Music.
The search experience is one of the most important ones in my vision of Apple Music. That’s because I put the most attention into the discovery process.
Now it’s here, in the central point of the design. Prominent and ready to use. I’ll write more about it later on.
iTunes section navigation
I also changed the location of the iTunes “section” selector. By this I mean the feature that lets you switch from music to videos to podcasts etc. I also added more playlists to show you how easy it is to reorder them.
I’ve decided to add contextual menu functionality. If you can click on something, then it also has a contextual menu available. Right click to get more options. The fact that the queue shows recently played tracks is also a nice addition.
Last but not least I redesigned and structured some other stuff. I decided to show previously played tracks in the queue. I also made the design more consistent and decided to change the “Listen” section name to “Your Collection”. It felt more accurate.
The player section gets a redesign. First of all it’s anchored to the bottom of the app window. Second — it got bigger, making itself easier to use. Every single function responsible for playback control is inside this one section.
There are some new functionalities also. Now you can easily add a song to favourites or your collection or loop it.
The fact that the player in iTunes had little functionality, bothered me. Because of that I decided to design a solution: by clicking on an artist name you can go to the artist page, with one click. The same goes to track or album name. I also decided to hide time values, showing only the progress bar. Seriously, when was the last time you checked that?
One of the most important components of my vision. I won’t dwell on the search field itself. One thing worth mentioning is that it’s a “smart search”. So, it’ll display results from your “Collection” as well as results from the service catalogue. That being said, I’d like to tell you more about the search results.
I’ve noticed one thing when using Spotify, Apple Music or Tidal. I love when search results are well arranged. Sorted into logical groups. When results for songs are separated from albums etc. It helps me to scan through the results quickly. I had just one problem: It looked like everyone has a problem pulling this concept off completely.
I love when search results are well arranged. Sorted into logical groups. It helps me to scan through the results quickly. I have just one problem — It looks like everyone have a problem with pulling this concept off completely.
The results are shown in a tiny(!) popup. There is no space for them to shine. I decided to change this and designed a more prominent experience.
As you can see above, search results occupied the most part of the app window. Now they’re readable and easy to scan through. Meanwhile the sidebar with main navigation and playlists is uncovered. Because of that you can just drag the song you’ve found onto the desired playlist. Nice and easy.
Artist view remains almost the same. It’s a clean layout with some major functions buttons on top. Followed by a short bio. You can, of course, expand this view to learn more.
I like to think about the exploration of the artist’s page as a journey through the artist’s work.
Next you have top songs and albums collection. Click on the desired album and the track list will expand. The whole view is designed vertically. You follow the path, learning some things meanwhile. If they interest you, you can stop. You won’t get truckloads of unimportant information at the start.
There is this nice custom input from the artist — a photo and distinct colour scheme.
The Beats 1 radio is one of the most important selling points of Apple Music. It’s unique. It has great auditions, and great DJ’s. So it deserves a great interface to handle it.
I’ve decided to go clean here. Just the current audition, short information about previous shows and the schedule for the near future. Of course you can just click on the schedule header and go to the dedicated page with the complete list of shows.
But Beats 1 isn’t the only radio available. Below you have a list of the shows recommended for you. Or you can expand the view and browse through all of them or use search engine.
Beats 1 isn’t the only radio available through Apple Music. Other options also need some love.
The one functionality that is missing now is an option to check recently played tracks. From what I could gather, there’s probably no way of checking what was played some time ago in iTunes. I’ve fixed it by adding an option to preview recently played tracks in queue.
The currently played track is displayed in the player section with the audition name next to it. You can go to the currently played artist page with one click. Nice!
When you’re out there, exploring the awesome world of music you discover some tasty bits.
You don’t want to miss them, so you “bookmark” them. Your Collection is a place where you can search throughout your “bookmarks”. No need to swim in the ocean, you can find all of them here, in one place.
As you may have noticed, I’ve decided to change the name of this section. “Collection” felt better. After all you’re not downloading them, just bookmarking. They’re not separated from the whole service catalogue.
I’ve decided to go with a two-level vertical menu here. First, the main navigation panel, second the “selection panel”. The easiest and quickest way to search through your bookmarks. In the view below you have artists list here, but when you change the selection method you can get composers or albums.
In iTunes you have filter options drop down on the right but the filtered results on the left. I’ve decided to put everything in one place to make it more consistent.
The artists, albums, etc. are visible all the time, as lists, in this section of the app. When you choose your desired artist, you’ll see a list of the tracks you’ve saved. You can play one song, start a radio or go to the artist’s full profile.
That pretty much sums up this part of the project. Hope you liked it. I encourage you to share your thoughts here or to get in touch with me via Twitter. What’s to come? Next time we’ll touch upon social features and summarise the desktop app redesign part of the project.
Do you like my story? Share or recommend it please, I’ll be very grateful!