As of 2019, Apple Music took the lead from Spotify for most paid subscribers in the US. Apple wants to stay in the lead. As music streaming platforms develop new social capabilities, how can Apple Music add features to connect users through music?
Objective: Add a new social feature to fit seamlessly into Apple Music's existing user interface
This is a speculative project and I am not affiliated with Apple*
Client: Apple Music
Timeline: 80 Hours over 2 weeks
Role: Lead UX/UI Designer
Tools: Sketch, InVision, Marvel
Deliverables: Mobile Prototype
Goal: To research the market, competitors and potential users
Process: Market Research, Competitive Analysis, Provisional Persona, 1:1 Interviews
To kick off the project, I conducted market research of the music streaming industry to uncover demographics, behaviors and trends that help me understand the industry and consumer.
Music Streaming Industry
41% growth in streaming revenue
8.1% global growth
-20.5% download revenue
45% growth in paid subscription streaming
Millennials are 40% of consumers with a music subscription in U.S.
79% of Millennials use streaming services
76% of Gen X use streaming services
63% of users discover new music through social media
90% of social media users do a music related activity on their social app
IG and Spotify collaborated on a share feature
Guided by my provisional personas, I crafted an interview guide to question participants about their music, music sharing, and Apple Music experiences. I questioned 5 potential users from a target demographic of age 23 to 30 for 1:1 interviews to observe user needs, desires and pain points. View the interview debrief here.
Goal: Synthesize research to define core problems
Process: Empathy Map, Persona
I transcribed the interviews and constructed an empathy map to organize interview observations by: doing, thinking/feeling, seeing, hearing, pains & gains. The purpose is to synthesize my findings from the 1:1 interviews.
From the empathy map, I organized observations into shared patterns and behaviors to identify developed insights and needs.
Users rely on playlists for a variety of contexts
Users listen to music throughout different activities during their day
Users are invested in friends’ music choices
Users need to organize songs into a playlist
Users need to have music tailored to specific activities
Users need to know what friends are listening to
Goal: Ideate solutions, organize information architecture and map user journey
Process: POV Statements & HMW Questions, Individual Brainstorm, Group Brainstorm, Business & User Goals, App Map, Task Flow, User Flow, Sketches, High-Fidelity Wireframes
I brainstormed as many solutions as I could in three 3-minute sprints for each HMW question.
I additionally assembled a group of friends and facilitated a team brainstorm session based on IDEO's group brainstorm guidelines.
Business & User Goals
I compared and contrasted user and business goals to identify shared goals. Shared goals help me select solutions from the brainstorm that fulfills both goals.
I detailed the most sensible solutions in a product roadmap. I organized my solutions and key screens into a app map, which: 1. finds a home for proposed solutions, 2. ensures that they fit within a category.
With solutions in place, I documented how a user would complete three tasks using new features. The task flow helps me understand how the user interacts with the system to achieve a goal.
To expand on the task flow, I took a deeper dive and mapped out Sam's path through two entry points and scenarios. The user flow helps me understand user decision-making, barriers and context to achieve a task.
I screenshot key Apple Music screens and replicated elements in Sketch. These high-fIdelity wireframes are based on the current user interface. For this project, I created high-fidelity wireframes early to create a prototype and perform usability testing of new features.
Goal: Build an interactive version of new social features
Process: High-Fidelity Prototype
I uploaded my wireframes and created a high-fidelity prototype on InVision. This served as a working example of proposed social features. With this prototype, I started to conduct usability testing.
Goal: Evaluate viability of solutions through testing and feedback
Process: Usability Test, Affinity Map
I created three tasks to test each new social feature's usability. Five participants took part in the test. I observed their patterns and behavior with screen & audio recording.
Evaluate effort level of user to complete tasks
Identify areas of difficulty and confusion
Identify behavior patterns of users to complete tasks
Invite friends to create a new playlist
Refresh the Active playlist
Share the song currently playing to the Dunder Mifflin circle
Using observations from the usability test, I created an affinity map to organize participant thoughts and behaviors and derive insights. My recommendations are based on these insights. While the usability test yielded a 100% completion rate of all tasks, there were a few difficulties for users.
Users want to add music before they add friends to a playlist
Users had difficulty finding the “Share to Circles” function in the hidden menu
Sequence “Add Friends” after “Add Music”
Relocate or adjust the Apple Music Circles share function in the hidden menu
Goal: Ensure consistent design based on existing UI
Process: Brand Guide, UI Kit, Wireframe Revisions
I first created a Pinterest moodboard to gather visual references for Apple Music's design direction. These references help me understand how to tailor elements to fit the brand.
With a better understanding, I crafted my own version of the Apple Music brand guide.
To expand on the brand guide, I created a UI kit that featured user interface elements to house all branded and designed interactive elements. This helps keep my design consistent. To develop my wireframes further, I could easily drag and drop elements from this document.
High-Fidelity Wireframe Revisions
I took the recommendations from the Affinity Map and revised my wireframes to improve usability. The main changes were in the Group Playlist and Apple Circles function. I additionally polished up a few elements from the first iteration.
I uploaded the high-fidelity wireframes to InVision and Marvel. Interact with the Marvel prototype here.
Test the prototype by:
Making a Group Playlist
Viewing Apple Music Circles
Refreshing an Apple Lifestyles Playlist
Tagging a song in the Now Playing menu
The Brand is Strong. I jumped at opportunity to redesign Apple Music because it's an app that I regularly use, yet have mixed opinions about. Music streaming platforms already have established information architecture (song, artist, genre) and user journeys (create playlists, search for music). Apple already has a legendary brand and and strict guidelines. This project wasn't about building from the ground up, but creating in an existing environment. That presented its own set of challenges that I experienced to grow as a designer.
Give me the AUX. Group playlists aren't a new concept. Spotify recently added the feature and numerous apps exist to connect friends through playlists. Apple Music already has a social function in profiles, so there's a strong social foundation to build from. I truly believe that Apple Music will develop this feature in future iterations.
Approval- Review iteration with design and brand team
Submit to communities- Post prototype to r/applemusic and Dribbble