Adding a feature to Spotify to make podcast listening more social

Time for a challenge! I analyzed an already existing and highly adopted app and incorporated a new feature into this existing product. I decided to add a feature to one of my personal most used apps: Spotify! For this app, I choose to add a feature to interact with other listeners on the iOS app.

Role

  • Project management
  • UX analysis (user flows, sitemaps, personas, wireframing etc.)
  • UI Design (app and landing page)
  • Lo-fi prototyping (basic flow and interactions)

Duration

For this project, I had 4 days in total.

Team

There was no team, as this was an individual project.

The challenge

The podcast feature in Spotify was designed to allow people to listen to all podcasts wherever they want, whenever they want. I have observed that there is no feature that enhances the social aspect of listening to podcasts, which is causing a lack of socialization and a feeling of missing out. I believe that adding a feature to discuss and socialize with other podcast listeners will enhance a feeling of community, increase the level of socialization of podcast listeners and enlarge the amount of Spotify podcast users.

The major problems and needs are listed as follows: 

  • 32% of the users knows no one who listens to the same podcasts as they do
  • 84% wants to learn things from the podcast they listen to 
  • 41% would like to read about other people’s opinions about the podcast
  • 47% often checks external sources to find extra information or insights about the episode (e.g. Reddit or Google)

This leads to the following How Might We statement:

How might we create a way within Spotify for people to learn more from a podcast, socialize more about the topics and see different people’s experiences?

The solution

I conducted semi-structured interviews with 3 people and collected survey answers from 26 people to understand the user’s behaviour regarding listening and interacting with podcasts. This helped me to explore different problems and go deep down into a few major issues that they currently face.

 I then created a persona based on these faced issues, empathized using the format of the empathy map and created their storyboards and user journey map to visualize how our main persona would experience her podcast listening and interactions. 

Competitor analysis

To get a main overview of the current market and our competitors, I did a competitor analysis. Focusing on sociability and the amount of podcasts available – I got a good overview of how Spotify can set itself apart from the competition. 

Sitemaps and user flows

In the next stage, I first focused on the Moscow method to see what features I could focus on for the minimum viable product. Then I decided to make a sitemap so I could better understand the user’s paths and the future structure of our platform. Thereby, I created the main user flows to get a grip on the structure and user behaviour within our product.

Prototypes and iterations

For this project, I first drew low fi’s to get aligned on the structure – after which I created mid fidelity prototypes in Maze to validate our ideas. Based on the mid fidelity prototype testing, I came to some conclusions. 

First, regarding user names and user types:

  • It was not completely clear how to see which commenters are your friends or followers
  • The user names are too small visualized and cannot be seen well enough

Regarding liking comments:

  • It was hard to find where you can find a button to like a comment
  • The feature lacks user feedback: it is not clear enough to see whether you liked a comment

Further, there were some issues regarding the first screens – that were already there and were not part of my added feature. These were issues about unclarity where the play button for a specific episode was, and that it was illogical to only be able to click only the play button instead of the episode name.

Branding and high fi's

After the first mid fidelity iterations, I decided to go into the high fidelity prototypes. This was, I could really practice my skills to recreate another brand design, and see how the feature really came to life.

Based on the mid fidelity tests and iterations and the competitor analysis, we eventually came to the following high fidelity prototype for the added commenting feature for Spotify.

Results and reflections

From this project, I had a valuable experience with working with an already existing app. And not just any app, but a highly adopted app that is frequently used by millions (or even billions) of users. While I’m quite happy with the end results, there are definitely some things that I would have done differently, or that I would work on further.

 

What I would’ve done better now:

  • First iterate further on the mid fidelity prototypes before going onto the high fidelity prototype. For this project, I went quite fast from mid to high fi. Next time, I would definitely first make sure to fully optimize the high fi before starting to make it visually perfect.
  • Definitely in the beginning, I might have rushed the user interviews because I thought that “I’m already the target group myself.”So, a learning: never assume that you’re the user, even though you might fit perfectly into the main target group.

 

Next steps

  • Add the feature element: Live commenting / listening together to a podcast
  • Add the feature element: See specific comments per timestamp to avoid spoilers
  • Test high fidelity prototype amongst more potential users
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