A 10-week project investigating solutions to unaddressed user needs in a popular mobile app. I chose Spotify for three main reasons:
- The impact of digital streaming platforms on the music industry
- Spotify's popularity amongst listeners, and emphasis on personalized/user-centered features
- As a personal challenge- I had minimal initial frustrations with the app, and did not enter the process with a particular problem/solution in mind
Identify major user obstacles to social music sharing and discovery through user research, collaborative brainstorming, and prototyping. Using research insights, expand functionality and user delight.
A general survey of users revealed existing behaviors and key features–
Identifying Pain Points
I conducted contextual inquiries and a series of user observation sessions. Spotify does a great job with discovery options, and users were ambivalent towards social sharing features. In contrast to my original hypothesis, user feedback directed the focus towards personal taste development and improving music curation.
- People utilize the “Liked Songs” feature frequently, but for alternative purposes- as a working playlist of current favorites or a historic archive.
- People want a simple, quick way to group new discoveries.
- People like to organize the music they love into further sub-categories; to catch up on old favorites and for different moods and occasions.
- Due to human error or frustration, users are losing track of new discoveries and music they like. Users want to enjoy using Liked Songs, but are deterred due to a lack of organization.
With insights derived from contextual inquiry, I redefined the people problem. A diverse group of Spotify users were recruited to outline solutions and provide feedback on feature impact.
I enlisted seven participants with diverse listening tastes and habits. We identified three promising solution spaces that needed some TLC —
- Personal Customization: organizing and suggesting playlists by “mood”, tailored to the user and their habits through A/B testing
- Chronology: organization of liked songs for quick access and comprehensive documentation
- External User Rules: opening the queue for collaborative access
My approach was to allow existing user behaviors and attitudes guide potential areas of intervention.
- Listeners want to be able to look back at their musical journey, while readily exploring new finds and accessing nostalgic favorites.
- Currently, it’s tedious to keep track of liked music and organize finds in a meaningful way.
After feasibility/impact evaluation, I decided on Feature 1 to develop further– a chronological organization feature to clean up Liked Songs and provide new functionality. This solution services the broadest user scenarios while building upon a solid existing infrastructure. Timeline allows users to efficiently access recent discoveries, while providing the built-in framework to make revisiting old favorites delightful and intuitive.