Spotify Redesign - Friends activity & in-app chat

UI/UX Interface Redesign case study (Fall 2021)


Overview
Spotify’s current social interactivity features are lacking and not intuitive. The inefficiency in sharing songs between fellow Spotify users, and their app version is not as developed as their desktop functions, i.e. friend’s activity display. In order to combat this issue, my redesign proposes an integrated messaging system within the app for easier song-sharing with friends. I have also incorporated the ‘Friend Activity’ feature (from the desktop app) into the mobile app in the form of ‘stories’, which provides a more interactive experience when viewing friends’ listening activity.

Timeline: September - October 2021


Challenge
The challenges that the current Spotify mobile app is facing are identified as the following:
  • Spotify doesn't place much focus on social interactivity or song-sharing
  • Spotify currently only allows for sharing music externally (via other apps)
  • The current song-sharing user flow is not the most efficient or streamlined. Takes a lot of steps and redirecting screens
  • The Friend Activity column is only available on desktop, and is a very passive user experience


Company Research
The challenges that the current Spotify mobile app is facing are identified as the following:
  • Spotify doesn't place much focus on social interactivity or song-sharing
  • Spotify currently only allows for sharing music externally (via other apps)
  • The current song-sharing user flow is not the most efficient or streamlined. Takes a lot of steps and redirecting screens
  • The Friend Activity column is only available on desktop, and is a very passive user experience


Competitive Analysis
The following list showcases the currently existing streaming and music service platforms in the worldwide market (including Spotify) and the user base ration that they have:





 
 
NetEase Music, one of the major streaming and music platform in China, has an in-app song-sharing and chat feature that allows users to share songs with other users and community, as well as providing artists an opportunity to give the latest update of their music to their followers/fans, and interact with fans in a more casual way.


User Research & Interview
When conducting user research, I wanted to understand the user pattern of active Spotify users, and how they feel towards the song-sharing feature. The following is a list of questions that I asked: 

  • When you’re on Spotify, what is one issue that stands out for you in regards to song sharing?
  • If a messaging feature is available, what would you use it more for – sharing songs or chatting?
  • Would you prefer to have a more intuitive sharing feature or less re-directing screens?
  • When it comes to song-sharing, what is something good that Spotify is doing?
  • How often do you find yourself wanting to share songs with friends/family?
  • How would you feel about having a DM with a verified artist you follow, getting to message them directly, and getting updates from them through the chat?
  • Do you use the desktop app?
  • Do you notice/pay attention the friend activity column?

After gathering the questions from the questionnaire, I concluded my findings below and created a user persona based on the findings:
  • Most users noted that currently, Spotify isn't very user-friendly or efficient when it comes to song-sharing
  • People also voiced their disappointment that the 'friend activity' column is only available on desktop
  • 100% said they would use the messaging feature to share songs more than for regular chatting
  • 83% said they would prefer to have an in-app song-sharing feature and less redirecting screens
  • People enjoy the Instagram story sharing feature and some also appreciate the QR code system
  • Most said that they often wish to share songs with friends and family, but many find the current interface to not be intuitive enough for it
  • 67% are in favor of having DM's and updates from their favorite artists, others want promotional benefits from it
  • 100% said they use the desktop app at least sometimes
  • 33% said they pay attention to the friend activity column







Solution
In order to create a more intuitive feature for users to share their love of music, I wanted to implement a messaging feature into Spotify, with the goal of creating an easier and more efficient method of sharing music between friends and community, as well as providing a platform for listeners to interact with their favorite artists. I also incorporated the Friend Activity feature into the mobile app, so that it is available outside of the desktop app.


Initial Sketches


For the initial low-fi sketches, I sketched out how the song-sharing and friends activity features would look like without changing the currently existing interfaces too much, in order to maintain the in-app user pattern as much as possible. 




Friends Activities



The friends activity section allows users to look at what their friends are listening to while using the mobile app. It appears on the top of the home page of mobile app. Since a large group of Spotify users tend to add songs from other people’s or Spotify’s recommended playlists, this could be a passive method of sharing songs to other users, as well as allowing users to expand their playlist.




By implementing friends activity section into the Home section, users are able to have quick access to the feature without extra commands or buttons. When they tap open the circle, they would be able to see the short animated video of the song, name of the song and artist, and the option to save or share the song. 



In-app Chat System & Song Sharing

For the chat system, I created an extra section since is one of the major features. Users are able to send and receive messages from their friends, artists they follow, and the music communities they belong to. I also redesigned the search section to highlight that users could look up other accounts, as the current account searching feature is not as visible. 



For the song sharing feature, I designed the layouts for interfaces of sharing song from friends activity (left) and normal song-sharing (right). Since there is an in-app chat system implemented in the design, I designed the layouts in the sharing page to have three rows: for in-app chats, copy links and other commands, and sharing to a third-party platform.