The Usability Blog
A Practical Guide to User Experience Insights

Quick Usability Review: Spotify

Spotify is a popular music service that allows users to listen to their favorite music for free or with a premium account. It also allows users to discover new artists based on musical interest through its Discover feature. While I feel Spotify’s discovery feature trumps Pandora’s, I have used it and given up on it several times due to the poor navigation. When I clicked on the Discover page, a few recommendations were presented to me. Right away, I felt there were too many things to click on. What is the difference between clicking on an artist name in the sentence and clicking it under the artist album? It seems to take me to the same place, so why have so many links?

Spotify1 (1)

Next, as I hover over the album art, I noticed that a play button appears. I thought that clicking on it would play the album or artist and thought why would I want to interrupt my current radio or playlist just to play an unknown album by an unknown artist that I may or may not like? I decided to take the bait anyway and discovered that you can hold the play button to play a preview. Why didn’t both the play button and the message that says “Click and hold to preview” appear at the same time when I hovered over the album art? Had I known I could preview a song without interrupting my current listening session, I may not have been as hesitant.


I previewed a song and I really liked it. Only problem is, I didn’t know which song was playing. Even after listening to the album, I did not remember which song I previewed. Here’s a simple solution: since the current song is grayed out when another song is previewed, display the previewed song in the grayed out area of the app. Or have an additional text that says “You are listening to X song by Y artist in Z album.” Obviously these are just a few of the user experience issues I have found in Spotify. Don’t get me wrong it’s a great app, but why not more instruction, why not fewer buttons, and why not show me the name of the song while previewing an album. Sure the app is usable, but there is just something about the interface leaving me with a frustrated feeling.

-Gavin Fung, User Experience Analyst, Usability Sciences


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