Designlab - 2018

Making music more social.

Project Summary

Client: Spotify (academic project via Designlab)

Goal: Create a new social feature for the Spotify desktop application.

What I did: Developed a way for users to visualize musical taste and find other people who share similar interests.

How long it took: 2 weeks.


What is Spotify?

Spotify’s mission is clear: “to help people listen to whatever music they want, whenever they want, wherever they want—in a completely legal and accessible way.” As a streaming music service, Spotify is the group lead and it wants to stay that way.

The Task

I helped Spotify define what the best way moving forward in the social direction is, and provided them with a prototype of the feature(s) that I am  adding, integrated seamlessly within the rest of the app. The new social feature became a visualization of musical taste and lead into creating collaborative playlists.


I interviewed five participants with whom I had no relationship with before the interview. Three women and two men within the age range of 17-32 years.

All participants use a music streaming service like Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music, etc. Most participants listen to music most often on their mobile phones and have more than 5 playlists. They also mostly learn about new music from their friends who enjoy the same music they do.

Two participants separate music by mood, the others choose genre, artist, etc. All but one participant listen to a mix of decades of music. Three of the participants are always looking for new music, the other two rarely do.


I created a persona and empathy map during my process because they provide me with insight into the user's heads. I like to visualize how a potential user views other aspects of their life so that I can infer how they will use the product. These are created through a synthesis of my participants during research.

Spotify Persona 1.png
Spotify Empathy Map.png

The storyboard represents a users journey from existing app use to new feature discovery and conversion. This tells a story of how a woman comes to stumble upon the new social feature and becomes a deeper user.

Spotify Storyboard-1.png

The user flow shows the different entry points a user can have into discovery and use of the new social feature.

Spotify User Flow.png


For this project, I decided instead of doing a low-fidelity prototype and wireframes, I would sketch the wireframes and move straight into high-fidelity afterwards. I did this because of the nature of the client, whose brand guidelines and existing design information can be obtained online relatively quickly.

Spotify wireframes copy.png
Spotify wireframes.png


This usability study was conducted using a high fidelity prototype of the Spotify desktop application with the new social feature integration.  All tests were conducted on a laptop or desktop computer using the InVision prototype.

The participants were instructed to explore the new feature of the desktop app as well as attempt to create a new collaborative playlist with their friend, Eric.

The participants include: two women (ages 18 and 36), and two men (ages 20 and 31). All participants are regular users of music streaming services. Several tests were conducted in person via laptop and several were conducted remotely via desktop.

All participants were able to make it through the prototype with no major issues. The participants who were already familiar with Spotify were able to get through the prototype quicker and with more ease than those who were not. Some things mentioned frequently were the UI likeness to the real application, the enjoyment of the idea, and the want for more information included in the breakdown screen.

Spotify Proto.gif

Finally, after conducting the usability tests on the prototype, I created an affinity map. I did this because I wanted a visual deliverable to represent what I learned from the testing and what next steps could be produced.

Spotfiy Affinity Map.png

Key Takeaways

  • This feature could be rolled out in beta format for existing users, as it stands as a retention tool more than a way to increase users.
  • Most users will listen to music on their mobile phones, so a prototype would have to be created in mobile format.
  • Users like their comfort in an existing application. If a new feature is going to be introduced, it will have to be something that improves their experience for a specific purpose, in this case, making Spotify more social.

Interested in working with me?