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

Market Research

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

Streaming Demographics

  • 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

Social Music

  • 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

Competitive Analysis

I conducted a competitive analysis of music streaming services to identify competitors and their strength & weaknesses to understand Apple Music's opportunity in the market.

AM competitive analysis.png

Provisional Persona

I created four provisional personas of potential Apple Music users based on secondary research. These personas help me narrow my focus on a target group.

AM provisional persona.png

1:1 Interviews

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

Empathy Map

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.

AM Empathy Map insights Copy.jpg


  • 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


Meet Sam, the persona for Apple Music. Personas help humanize design by profiling a target audience member to design for. Sam is based on interview observations and empathy map insights. Moving forward, I based my design decisions on Sam's profile.

AM persona.jpg

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

POV Statements & HMW Questions

This step helps me transition from the problem to the solution. In the POV statement, Sam's needs are a result of her insight. I then put myself in Apple Music's perspective by asking how might we help Sam in her point of view?

AM pov hmw Copy.png

Individual Brainstorming

I brainstormed as many solutions as I could in three 3-minute sprints for each HMW question.

Group Brainstorming

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.

App Map

I detailed the most sensible solutions in a product roadmapI 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.

Task Flow

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.

User Flow

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 sketched low-fidelity wireframes to organize visual hierarchy and experiment with layouts. Sketching allows me to be creative and tap quickly tap into new ideas.

AM low-fi wireframes.jpg

High-Fidelity Wireframes

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

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

Usability Test

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.

Test Goals

  • Evaluate effort level of user to complete tasks

  • Identify areas of difficulty and confusion

  • Identify behavior patterns of users to complete tasks

User Tasks

  • Invite friends to create a new playlist

  • Refresh the Active playlist

  • Share the song currently playing to the Dunder Mifflin circle

Affinity Map

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.

AM affinity map Copy.png


  • 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

Brand Guide

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.

UI Kit

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.

Final Prototype

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.

Next Steps:

Approval- Review iteration with design and brand team 

Submit to communities- Post prototype to r/applemusic and Dribbble |  224-381-5685

© 2019 Jason Moosikkamol | Made in Chicago