Home > User Experience > Unleashing Spotify’s social capabilities — a UI/IX Case study | by Faisal R Wargadinata | Nov, 2020

Unleashing Spotify’s social capabilities — a UI/IX Case study | by Faisal R Wargadinata | Nov, 2020

Unleashing Spotify’s social capabilities — a UI/IX Case study | by Faisal R Wargadinata | Nov, 2020

A Whole New Spotify, Reimagined.

Remember the time when hopping between application was a thing. Sharing songs or podcasts on other social media seemed cool. Opened multiple web apps to find necessary information you need. Never got that one reply from your idol. Using dating apps to find people with similar taste in music. Think about the loading time, the unnecessary journey, also not to mention, all that effort just for what?

What if you could do all of that in one place with the most effective yet casual form of socializing? What if you could do all that while listening to music without having to go back and forth? And what if I say that Spotify’s algorithm just got a boost from the community?

As for this final project during my UI/UX Design Course in Puwadhika Startup & Coding School, i created a socializing feature on Spotify that serves multiple purposes and supply the majority need of users globally.

As a streaming music service, Spotify is one of the leaders on the industry and it wants to stay that way. For this reason, they want to improve engagement and retention in the app. In order to do that, they want to expand on their social capabilities.

Spotify wants to make a move into helping that connection further. It already has some core capabilities, like following artists or friends, and a basic feed of activity. However, there’s much more that can be done, the goal for this initiative is to determine the best way moving forward in that direction, and to provide Spotify with a prototype of the feature that can be integrated seamlessly within the app.

UI/UX designer responsible for user research, strategy, UI design, prototyping, visual design, usability testing, and branding within a Lean UX framework. And for this final project, the allocated time given was to finish in a span of 4 weeks.

Design Thinking Method

In this stage my aim is to be able to fully empathise with both sides, understanding the business as a whole, and also getting to know Spotify’s user community. In order to successfully achieve that goal, i did an analysis of competitors, application audit, and went through the process of UX Research.

To begin, I conducted a rapid research session of secondary sources. I spent a few hours getting a sense of Spotify’s place within the landscape of streaming music providers and gathering enough information to help determine the focus and scope of my research. I analyzed each competitor’s app on a mobile device to conduct my competitive analysis and to identify their strengths and weaknesses. This allowed me to uncover opportunities and help Spotify differentiate themselves with the new social feature, as well as identifying where opportunities for Spotify to differentiate itself with a social feature might exist.

Spotify Competitor Analysis (2020)

After analyzing competing applications I wanted to familiarize myself with Spotify’s current application by performing a heuristic evaluation. Although extremely familiar with the mobile app, I thought it was important to conduct an app audit. This helped me gain a clear grasp of the app’s architecture, hierarchy and content, which I felt was important to establish before considering how a new feature might integrate within the design.

Spotify Application Audit (2020)

After familiarising myself with the company, the next step is to conduct a User Experience Research to better know the needs and requirements of Spotify users. This will help in adding realistic contexts and insights to the design process, that will lead in giving users the best solutions.

Both quantitative and qualitative approach was used in conducting my UX Research. The quantitative method was used as a pilot study, in a form of an online survey. The purpose of this method was to gain measurable data that described user’s behaviour and pattern which can help me identify a certain phenomenon in the realms of Spotify users that can drive the context of the research to a more specified manner.

However, quantitative data alone can’t reveal deeper human insights. Therefore, a qualitative approach to the research was needed to get an in-depth understanding of why users do what they do. This was done in a form of one-on-one user interviews.

I created an interview guide to ensure my interviews would run smoothly and questions would cover and validate research goals I had set at the beginning of my design process. The interview was driven by open-ended questions to get personal insights into their exercised habits on music listening, sharing contents and interacting on social media, also how they gather information.

Knowing that there are different roles (Artists/Non-Artists) inside Spotify’s app, i believe that it is best that we gather all their perspective to gain a better understanding. I also believe that getting information from regular users of Spotify will help me gain deeper information, this could be done by looking from the demographic perspective of Spotify. Not just being active in Spotify, i believe that gathering information from users that are also active on other social media is crucial, from there i can see how regular Spotify users behave socially on other platforms, and look at what they are comfortable with. Based on these assumptions, i managed to identify the user criteria into these points:

  • 2 Spotify Musicians / 2 Spotify Podcaster / 4 Spotify User (Non-Artists)
  • 22–34 Years Old
  • ≥ 2 hours/day spent on Spotify
  • ≥ 2 hours/day spent on Social Media

After interviewing Spotify users, i created a map that consists of recurring answers that described how they think, feel, say, and hear in order to uncover insights and identify the user needs. Observations and statements were organized on virtual sticky notes, then paired together with similar information, identifying themes and patterns.

Empathy Mapping Based on Top Findings.
  • There are patterns of following random Spotify users that they find having similar taste in music based on created playlists.
  • Collaborative Playlist feature is commonly found to be used as a collective song library for song references or just pure sharing.
  • Sharing songs or podcast is found to be a form of self-expression.
  • Users have the tendency to find like-minded users on Spotify to connect and share content with.
  • Interaction between Artists and Fans are mutually found insightful and very enjoyable, especially in a form of live question and answer session.
  • Users need an efficient way to find like-minded people.
  • Artists need a space to engage intimately with their fans.
  • Users need a space to share and receive information (e.g. songs, podcasts, etc).

In order to develop a typical Persona that depicts the average audience member, I looked back over the Insights, the Needs and the Pain Points from my Empathy Maps. These Personas also highlights the major needs of the most important user groups so that they can be addressed.

With a persona established, I moved into translating the insights and needs into defined Point of View Statements, then crafted a set of How Might We Questions to guide my design. By defining the design challenge and framing it as a question, the roadwork for the ideation phase was paved for a range of innovative solutions.

Before heading in to finding ideas for a solution, i need to make a comparison between both sides in order to consider both Spotify and User’s priorities. With that in mind, I mapped out business goals, user goals, and technical considerations. The overlapping areas of this diagram identified the project goals, where I focused all my time and effort.

I looked back at ideas that came up during my brainstorming session, in consideration of the business and user goals i determined which ones could be further developed into a social feature that would respond to the needs of both parties.

The main idea of Spotify Forums is to provide a space for users to interact both casually and intimately in a form of question and answer posts where they can emit questions to whom they see fit to find answers from, also able to answer questions they receive from others. This will allow users to find like-minded people inside Spotify or connecting both artists and fans on a deeper level without any hassle, in hopes to provoke their social drive, increasing the application’s engagement and retention.

I then created a revised app map for Spotify, showing how the new feature would integrate within the existing architecture of the app.

With the new feature fitted into the application’s architecture, my next task was to design flows that would best fit the feature. I first created a task flow that identified a key task that all users complete in an identical way.

Then, going into even more detail, I created a user flow thinking through two scenarios, showing two possible ways a user might interact with this new feature. Doing this helped me make sure I’d included all necessary key frames I’d need as I created wireframes for my prototype.

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