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Features add-on that enhances user engagement with favorite artists

Project type: Add a Feature

Industry: Entertainment, Music

Tools: Figma, Notion, Zoom, Miro

Duration: Q3 2023

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Project Background

Spotify, a leading music streaming platform, provides users with a vast library of songs, podcasts, and audio content. Its fun and easy-to-use interface appeal to a wide audience, encouraging users to follow their favorite artists, create playlists, discover new music, and share music with friends across various platforms. While offering a seamless and immersive music streaming experience, Spotify has limited social features with artists and other users.

The Problem

Music, as a social art form, fosters shared experiences, communication, and community building. People share music, attend concerts, participate in artist interviews and Q&As, and discuss the meaning of lyrics with others. It brings people together and serves as a powerful tool for expression and connection. Therefore, evolving Spotify's social aspect could be the next step. This transformation could turn Spotify into a space where users not only enjoy their favorite music but also socially engage with like-minded individuals, other fans, and feel more connected to the artists themselves.

Exploring Other Competitor Platforms

Conducting a competitive analysis with other music platforms allows for a comparison of Spotify's features with those of its competitors. This analysis helps determine if other platforms are successfully implementing social features and how users are responding to them, providing valuable insights for identifying beneficial social features for Spotify.

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  • Friends Mix

  • Exclusive releases

  • Shared playlist

  • Artist connect

  • Follow friends

  • Live streaming

  • Follow artists & friends

  • Playlist collaboration

  • Podcasts and radio

  • Customer Discussion

  • Upload personal covers

  • Artist interaction

  • Live streaming

  • Direct commenting

  • Playlist collaboration

  • Thumbprint Radio

  • Ad-Free listening

  • Subscription tiers

  • High quality audio

  • Curated playlist

How do other music platforms compare to Spotify?

While other music platforms offer features similar to Spotify such as curated playlists, personalized recommendations, and a vast music library, they also provide additional social features. These platforms allow users to upload music creations, engage in live streams and chats, and enable comments or direct messaging. This fosters a more intimate and social experience, creating a sense of community among fans and facilitating a closer connection to the artist.

Gaining User Insight Through User Interviews

After conducting the competitive analysis, I engaged in in-depth conversations with 4 daily Spotify users, aged between 25 and 35. These discussions provided valuable insights into how these users interact with Spotify, the specific features they find most beneficial, and areas where they feel improvements could be made.

 

Understanding other perspectives helped frame my analysis within the context of real user experiences and expectations, allowing for a more nuanced comparison with other platforms.

User Quotes

Participant 1

"...love Spotify's music recommendations...wish I can leave a reaction like SoundCloud..."

Participant 2

"It would be nice to meet other fans online and discuss music we like..."

Participant 3

"... I like Spotify Wrapped a lot but would be cool to react and view others within the app..." 

Participant 4

"I like that I can directly share Spotify music to my friends and see what they are currently listening on Spotify."

Understanding Spotify Artists and Users Through User Surveys

I conducted a survey based on 5 Spotify users and 3 Spotify artists to gain a better understanding of their perspectives when using Spotify. This research will provide valuable insights for further analysis and potential enhancements to the platform.

 

By exploring user perspectives, I aim to:

  • Understand current user-artist engagement, optimizing for meaningful connections.

  • Understand user perceptions and expectations to improve usability and satisfaction.

  • Identify user and artist challenges to optimize overall experience and engagement.

Spotify User

Affinity Map  - Spotify User

Spotify Artist

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Spotify Artist and User Survey Results

Spotify Artists

  • ​100% find it beneficial to have more social features on Spotify to help engage with fans.

  • 66% believe that social recommendations could help them discover new music.

  • 100% feel more connected to their fans when they can engage in discussion. 

  • 100% feel a lack of social connection through the Spotify platform. 

Spotify Users

  • ​100% enjoy sharing music and playlists with friends.

  • 60% of Spotify users are interested in discovering new music through social recommendations.

  • 80% feel more connected to artists/fans when they can engage in discussions or share content related to music.

  • 100% of respondents are more likely to use a music streaming platform that offers social features such as following artists, commenting on music, or connecting with other users based on similar music tastes.

  • 100% gave positive feedback on the concept of integrating social features into Spotify, expressing excitement about the potential for a more interactive and engaging music experience.

Audience Profile

To gain deeper insights into the audience, I developed 3 personas to synthesize and visualize the collected data. These personas represent typical users, aiding in empathizing with their experiences, understanding their objectives, needs, and challenges, and steering the design process towards effective solutions.

Turning Challenges to Solutions

To transform user needs into actionable opportunities, I crafted Point of View (POV) statements into How-Might-We (HMW) questions, guiding the design process towards innovative solutions.

Artist Interaction POV

I'd like to explore ways for Spotify users to engage with their favorite artists beyond simply listening to music, fostering a more personal and meaningful connection

HMW Facilitate Artist Interaction

How might we create features that enable users, who may currently lack a direct connection with their favorite artist, to cultivate a more personal and meaningful relationship?

Community-Building POV

I'd like to explore ways for Spotify users to facilitate connections with like-minded fans, so they can share experiences and discover new music together.

HMW Foster Community Engagement

How might we create features that connect fans, currently lacking a sense of community with others, to establish a vibrant and connected fan community?

Brainstorming Feature Ideas Based on HMWs

HMW Facilitate Artist Interaction

How might we create features that enable users, who may currently lack a direct connection with their favorite artist, to cultivate a more personal and meaningful relationship?

HMW Facilitate Artist Interaction

How might we create features that enable users, who may currently lack a direct connection with their favorite artist, to cultivate a more personal and meaningful relationship?

  • Artist Q&A Sessions

  • Direct Messaging

  • Upload Personal Covers

  • Live Artist Streaming

  • Upload Personal Covers

  • Exclusive Artist Content

  • Social Playlist

  • Music Commenting

  • Music Discussion Forums

  • Exclusive Fan Forums

  • Music Event Planning

  • Music Discovery Games

  • Global Map Streams

  • Live Fan Album Listening

  • User-Generated Content

  • Virtual Reality Concerts

Feature Prioritization

I have listed all potential features ideated based on the How Might We (HMW) statements to facilitate artist interaction and foster community. These features have been ranked from top priority to least important, helping narrow down the most helpful features for the identified problems.

New Social Features for Artists and Users

Live Artist Streaming

Allows users to experience live performances from their favorite artists in real-time. This feature enhances artist interaction by providing a direct connection between artists and fans, enabling users to engage with their favorite artists in a more personal and meaningful way. It also fosters community by creating shared experiences among fans, who can interact with each other during live streams and feel part of a larger community of music lovers. 

Live Album Listening

Enables users to listen to albums with other fans in real-time, creating a communal listening experience similar to attending a live concert. This feature fosters community by bringing fans together to share their love for an artist's music and discuss the album in real-time. It also enhances artist interaction by allowing artists to participate in the listening session, sharing insights and behind-the-scenes stories about the album, thus creating a more personal connection with fans.

Functionality of Feature Pathways

After generating feature ideas, the next step is to determine how users would access the new feature within the current Spotify navigation. Constructing a user task flow will help visualize and understand the user journey of accessing the new feature.

Accessing Live Artist Streaming

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Search Artist

  • Open Spotify app

  • Go to search bar

  • Type artist's name

Navigate Profile

  • Select artist's profile

  • Scroll through profile

  • Look for "Join Live"

Join Live Stream

  • Click "Join Live"

  • Engage with live stream

  • Like, comment, share

Accessing Live Album Listening with Other Users

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Open Device Settings

  • Open Spotify app

  • Navigate settings

Start Session to Host

  • Select "Start Session"

  • Begin live album listening

Share & Enter Session

  • Receive shareable link

  • Synchronized listening 

Utilizing Spotify's UI Kit

Incorporating Spotify's UI Kit into the design of the new feature, I utilized their design components, styles, and guidelines to align with Spotify's brand identity and user experience standards. This ensured consistency with the existing app interface and maintained a seamless user experience throughout the design process.

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Visualizing Design Pathway: ​Accessing Live Artist Streaming

Using the task flows as a guide along with Spotify's UI kit, I developed wireframes to visually map the user journey within Spotify's current app. The highlighted green areas indicate clickable elements that direct the user through the task. These wireframes serve to visually represent the task flow and improve comprehension of the new feature.

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Search Artist

  • User taps the search icon in the bottom navigation.

  • A new screen appears, displaying a search bar at the top.

  • User taps the search bar to type the artist's name.

Navigate Artist Profile

  • User selects the artist's profile from the search results.

  • The artist's profile page appears, displaying information about the artist and their music.

  • User clicks the "Join Now" button on the artist's profile page.​

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Artist Live Stream

  • After clicking "Join Now," a screen appears showing the artist's live stream.

  • The user can interact by commenting and sending likes during the live stream.

  • The user can also see the number of other users currently viewing the live stream.

Usability & Testing

Testing

I recruited 7 Spotify users to assess my initial prototype, evaluating task completion effectiveness and the overall user experience of the feature.

Feedback from these tests is crucial for guiding future design iterations. It validates current design decisions and informs future modifications, ultimately enhancing the overall user experience.

Results

6 out of 7 users completed the tasks independently and without confusion.

7 out of 7 users expressed enthusiasm for the new social feature idea. 

Participants provided feedback suggesting additional features for the live stream, such as an icon indicating the number of other users present and a "live" indicator to confirm when an artist is live. They also suggested quicker ways to react, such as using reaction emoticons instead of typing out comments.

Implementing Feedback

  • Include a user count to show how many others are joining the live stream.

  • Live Icon to confirm that the content is live.

  • Allow users to interact using emojis as a reaction, in addition to written comments.

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Spotify Live Artist Streaming User Flow with Iterations

Using the task flows as a guide along with Spotify's UI kit, I developed wireframes to visually map the user journey within Spotify's current app. The highlighted green areas indicate clickable elements that direct the user through the task. These wireframes serve to visually represent the task flow and improve comprehension of the new feature.

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Reflection

Embracing Challenges

Designing a feature for Spotify was a multifaceted experience that enriched my understanding of UI/UX design in a real-world context. Balancing business objectives with user needs and adhering to Spotify's established aesthetic proved both challenging and rewarding. This project provided valuable insights into the importance of user-centered design and the intricacies of working within the constraints of a large-scale platform.

 

Reflecting on this experience, I have developed a deeper appreciation for the strategic decisions and meticulous attention to detail required in creating meaningful user experiences for established companies. These insights will shape how I approach future design projects, especially in similar settings where balancing business goals and user needs is crucial.

Future Directions

In future projects, I plan to implement strategies for managing time constraints more effectively, such as setting clear timelines and priorities. Additionally, I aim to recruit more user testing participants to gather broader feedback. Spending more time on testing and iteration will be a key focus, as I strive to enhance the user-friendliness and overall success of my designs.

 

Since completing this project, Spotify has introduced a new feature called "Jam." With Jam, users can add their favorite songs to a shared music queue and view who added each track. Exploring ways to integrate or expand this collaborative music experience to enhance social interactions on the platform is an exciting prospect.

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