Music is an inherently social experience and plays a significant role in strengthening social bonds. Listening to music together with other people brings its own social buzz, making you feel connected with those around us.
In this case study, I designed a party-mode playlist for Spotify to increase cooperation and connection among people in the co-listening experience on intimate social events like parties.
Lead UX Designer
Nicole Wan, Moe Na, Melinda Chen
How might we leverage Spotify to enhance the co-listening experience in social events like parties?
Create Party Playlist
Explore the fun facts
Upvote the song you like
Find friends through music
Is 'social music streaming' still something people need?
Is ‘social music streaming’ something new?
Or we haven’t figured out how to make social a feature that people want or need yet? “Making music social” is not a new concept, in fact, many companies including Spotify have been trying to integrate it into their apps in many ways. Social features always contribute to the increase of the user numbers. But most of them focus on the social feature for online use or digital connections.
Secondary research & interviews
"I don’t actually make new friends through music apps."
"I don’t listen to music with my friends together online."
"I don’t expect to get good recommendations of songs from my friends since I am not sure if we have similar music tastes or not."
"I will definitely listen to music with friends together in some social events like party or road trips."
"Music is absolutely crucial for a party."
"It’s amazing to find somebody who likes the same song at the party and sing and dance together."
Social music listening should also include real-world
co-listening scenarios - when people are actually around each other.
Understand the User
To understand the problems and the overall music co-listening experience at private social events, we conducted 10 separate interviews.
Co-listening experience at private social events
Number of Participants
6 Female 4 Male from age 22-29
To understand the problems within music co-listening experience at private social events, we conducted 10 separate interviews.
User Journey Map
We synthesized the interview findings into a user journey map describing the whole experience of a party with music for both the host and the party-goers.
User Needs & Painpoints Summary
According to the previous user studies, we synthesized the needs of the users for a co-listening experience as follow:
Ideate & Design
Based on the findings we got in the user research, we summarized the objectives for the design as the following two parts:
Encourage everyone to participate in co-creating a playlist for a social event
Use co-listening as leverage to help people to build social connections
- Facilitate collaboration smoothly
- Support everyone to voice out their ideas
- Transparent playlist
- An organized flow to manage the playlist
- Get to know others' music tastes as a starter of social connections.
- Explore fun facts based on the similar music interests
Audit the Current Spotify App
To better understand the current flow of the current app and existing features, we audit the app and get some helpful takeaways:
Based on our research and understanding of Spotify, we decide to respect the current app structure and the layer of the common playlist, and add the party playlist feature as a different mode for the existing playlist.
We created multiple design drafts for the core flows. These were used to get early feedback from our friends and peers.
Besides, we also tried different design solutions for some major features, and we tested them with users and made our decision.
More design explorations will be displayed at the end of the page.
Based on the design exploration and iteration, we created hi-fi design screens: each flow and features address the pain points or unmet user needs we identified in the user research. The final design draft includes three different states of experience.
Taking a party among college friends as a typical example of an intimate social event.
Phase1: Before the party
Phase2: During the party
Phase3: After the party
User Testing and Reflections
After crafting the hi-fi screens, I conducted usability testing to see if the final design mockups do communicate with the users.
8 participants tested the final interfaces in total, and after exploring the mockup, I asked several follow up questions. Based on the feedback, I came up with some ideas to back up the limits of the current design version.
Most feedback converges upon similar points, though some opinions are different towards some certain design. Here are both positive and negative responses mentioned throughout the entire participants.
What went well?
All participants understand the overall features and interactions
All of them said they think the design of the main screen of the party playlist is well-organized and clear and they would love to use this playlist if they have a party.
6/8 of them mentioned they like the feature of showing the party-goers list and who added the songs.
5/8 of them liked the idea of fun facts cards based on the music interest and would love to explore, 3/8 of them think it is interesting to see but they are not sure if it could be implemented or if it is really necessary.
Some concerns and potential iterations
2 participants have concerns for the creating party playlist part, they are not sure if it is necessary to set a starting time; another 2 participants said they like the time setting feature since they feel it is more organized and they would like to remind the people the starting time. Maybe more user test and research is needed to answer this question.
Some participants feel the entrance to the party playlist on the home page (when invited) might be annoying especially when the host sent the invitation very early, they don't want it to appear on their Spotify home page at a dominant position for 1 week, but still need easy access.
Set the entrance still in the playlist page, but with a different pattern to distinguish with normal playlist, and add a going on a tag to encourage people to participate.
Some feedback is needed when the playlist is changed into a party mode. One user asked " Is there anything changed?" after toggled the party mode in user testing.
Some users are not familiar with the Spotify QR code feature especially the shape does not intuitively look like a QR code, so they might need some explanations when sharing the playlist.