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Adding social features to the existing app

1. Background

Spotify’s mission is “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 leader, and it wants to stay that way. For this reason, they want to improve engagement and retention in the app. To do that, they want to expand their social capabilities.



2. Research


Research Goals

1.  To find out what kind of social features Spotify current have, planning to add, and suggested by users?

2. To identify Spotify’s advantages within the market by competitors analyzing.

3. Empathy Spotify users need and expectations to determine potential features.

4. Understand users behaviors, interactions, emotions while listening to and sharing music.



Research Assumptions

1.  Users will engage deeper and stay longer on Spotify with social features.

2. Users would love to connect with people who have the same taste in music with them.

3. Users have a hard time gathering music from friends for specific occasions like parties, commuting, and datings.

4. Music is emotionally attached to users with memories and feelings. Users would love to record and share these attachments with friends.



Secondary Research

Market research, Competitors analyst


Empathy Research

Individual Interview + observation

Secondary Research

I did secondary research on Spotify users and stream music market. It helps me understand Spotify better and determine the provisional personas for the interview. I first collected some information about Spotify users demographics and current music streaming market from Statista website. And then, I used Google to search and study other competitors for analyzing. I also collected some Spotify statics, social features they used to have and currently have.

Empathy Research

6 participants were recruited from my birthday party. During the interview, I recorded the conversations using my phone. 6 participants shared their experience, feelings, and concerns on using Spotify. 1 participant is a full-time student, 5 participants are young professionals. They are 1 male and 5 females aged 24 – 28 who are Spotify users.

  1. Sharing common memories on music can help build friendships.

  2. When sharing music, people hope their friends will like their recommendations as well and the same taste in music can bring people closer.

  3. Users find it complicated to use collaboration playlist

  1. Users want to easily share their common memories and feelings with friends.

  2. Users need to feel confident on whether their recommendations will fit their friends’ personal preference.

  3. Users need to collaborate on a playlist with friends for special occasions easier.


App Audit

Then I did an app audit for Spotify. It helps me to understand and fully explore the app. I first screenshotted every important screen in Spotify and then uploaded to Sketch. And then I organized the screenshots according to Spotify's information architecture.

3. Ideate

POV Statements & HMW

 I referred back to my empathy map and persona, think what would my persona need from Spotify, and then list out HMW according to POV statements. 


An emotional bond with friends through music



Better music recommendations to friends


Collaborate playlist easily


Based on my HWM questions, I tried to come out with as many solutions as possible. And then I prioritize the solutions according to my research.

Business & User Goals

This is a diagram indicating Spotify's business goal and user goals, and what's in common. It gives me a direction on next step project roadmap


After finding the common goals between business and users goals, I prioritized the common goals and listed out the potential features referring to my HMW brainstorming.
New Social Features to be added:
  • Friends
  • Memories
  • Sharing Suggestion
  • Similarity Diagram
  • Recommendations / Memories History
  • Create a collaborative playlist
  • Adding songs to the collaborative playlist

4. Define


I referred back to my roadmap and create a sitemap of information architecture with key features 

User Flow

Task Flows

UI Requirements

Screens To Design

  • Homepage

  • Notification Page

  • Timeline (Memory + Recommendation)

  • Estimation / Suggestions

  • Collaborative Playlist (create + add)


High-Level Requirements

  • Consistent with existing UI

  • Notification button on the homepage

  • Timeline page for memories and recommendation history

  • CTA button to add recent favorite music into a collaborative playlist

  • A bottom bar for drop songs to the collaborative playlist

  • Estimations and sharing suggestions information box with a turn off option.



Detail Requirement

  • Homepage

notification button

auto-create collaborative playlist

  • Notification

differentiate checked and unchecked recommendations

  • Friends Timeline

memories / recommendations timeline

  • Estimation / Suggestions

showing the level of the successful chance of recommendation

showing charts on which other friends may like your music

allow users to check your similarity diagram with a friend

  • Collaborative Playlist

options for accept / ignore joining a collaborative playlist

an expandable bar for adding/viewing songs

CTA button to add recent favorites automatically

A full list of songs

instruction for the users


I did low-fidelity wireframes by hand sketches, and annotate the details and interactions.

5. Design

High-fidelity Design

UI Kit


Usability Testing

Affinity Map

During my testing with participants, I observe their preferences and hesitations and took notes. According to my notes, I analyze and summarize my findings.
Completion rate: 100%
Error Free rate: 80%


According to my usability test, I found out some pain points that need to be improved. ​
To be Improved:
  1. Make "feeling" feature more noticeable
  2. Make "suggestion" page design more comprehensive
  3. Implying more contents in "similarity charts"
  4. Add "more options" in collaborative playlist
  5. Add another screen before "suggestion"

Final Prototype

Next Step

During my research, I found out another insight: Users need an easier approach to add new songs immediately because people have difficulties adding songs that are currently playing to their playlists on time when they are not able to interact with devices. How might we help users to add songs to playlist without touch screens? I am thinking to design a tangible “+” button that can attach to clothing, cars, walls, etc.


      Tools   Sketch, Invision, Photoshop

      Team   Alan Hurt (Product manager)

                  Heyi Wang (Designer)

Duration   80 Hours

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