In each of my design projects I strive for improvement and constant visualization of possibilities, how to make user experiences even more powerful and focused. For quite some time now I have been thinking about several things regarding the Spotify app that could be improved and how to provide even better user experience.
Since I have not found any similar initiative, I would like to present to you what I have been thinking about.
1. Status bar
I believe that the most common appearance and behavior of a status bar is to keep it visible. The Spotify developers have in this case, in their recent app versions, chosen to hide the status bar in the playback modes. I do agree that this is by far the cleanest and best looking interface design but not the best solution regarding usability. Imagine when you are playing music on your phone stationary in place, you’re probably less interested in how good the design is, but more in what the time is, battery status, etc. I feel that this solution purely focusing on design unfortunately is resulting in usability loss.
Added a fixed status bar
2. Playback time labels
Another thing that Spotify has chosen to hide in some contexts is the playback time label. Just as the previous status bar, this solution seems to be focusing on making the interface clean and good-looking. However, this is one of the things I have to question the most, as I want to know where I am in the song, especially when I am working out and enjoy Spotify to get some extra power via my headphones to keep it up. When the song ends unexpectedly, all the power and momentum is lost too. As I tend to plan my songs depending on the exercises in my workouts in order to maintain the energy flow, I propose to keep the time labels in place. Even though they are appearing after touching on the screen, it’s still impossible to have a quick time check.
Added time labels
3. Enhanced filter capabilities
Ever since ancient times, beginning with the very first version of the Spotify app, I have been missing to be able to filter the songs as I wish. So far, you don’t have any filter options at all. Your playlists are presenting the songs with the oldest added first while the ‘songs’ list presents it in the opposite order, where the second-mentioned ,according to me, is the best solution. When I’m playing from a playlist of mine I would rather listen from newest to oldest than from oldest to newest. It would take forever to get to the newer added tracks on a playlist in a reasonable size. I have added a filter icon in the top row to do the job. Another option would be to put it into the ‘actions’-icon instead. Also, while having the motor running, I refined that margin from the top icon to the right edge so that it follows in the same line as the other content.
Added filter icon
Adjusted the right edge margin
4. Ability to add songs to several playlists at once
Is it just me, or have you also ever wanted to add a specific song to several playlists at once? I intend to do this even more and more and each time, I am forced to repeat a lot of actions to get the job done. When listening to music I often look for new genres and songs of all different kinds. My long-term goal is to create complete playlists of my favorite songs within each field. Very rarely I will add a song to just one playlist, while putting it into several lists is the normal case. By adding a great house song in ‘EDM’ this could also be added in ‘Feelgood’ or ‘Good beats’ as well. The proposed interface has got an additional dynamic title that will change according to your choices. For example, “Add song to playlist” before any choice is made, “Add song to 1 playlist” with one playlist selected, “Add song to 4 playlists” with four playlists selected etc. The “+”-icon for creating new playlists is moved to a dedicated first row and replaced by a “done”-label instead.
Added dynamic title
Added a ‘done’ label
New object for creating new playlists
Added select buttons on playlists
5. Running actions
One of Spotify’s newest update items is the brand new Running function that will provide you with music based on your tempo. The music is chosen from a broad repertoire on Spotify which makes the function and experience very interesting and explorative. This idea is good but there are still some features that could improve the experience. By tapping on the songs title/artist you will get to its page where you can take actions, however, I noticed that there are no possibilities to take actions quick and easy on place. An ‘add’ and ‘actions’ element is added to be able to handle songs directly when you come across them. Also, just as the first point of this post, the status bar is added fixed on top. Due to some shift from above from the status bar, the bottom elements are now also refined which previously felt a bit over sized.
Added status bar elements
Added ‘add’ button
Added ‘actions’ button
Refined bottom spacing and size
Spotify is one of the leading players in today’s music streaming industry. Their apps and software are constantly refined, so that you can benefit from a dedicated and significant development. From my point of view, Spotify has one of the best mobile apps out there, at least before recent updates. They have cut down the usability a little bit too much. Menu items are structured in a different way, and to go back to a track needs much more time than previously. I would prefer that Spotify gave bigger emphasis on function than on design, regretting that they recently have made some steps backwards on this particular field. However, Spotify is an innovative company which has come up with lots of smart and new solutions to make the mobile experience even better. That reassures me that they will keep developing their apps in a trendsetting manner.