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Student project

Apple Music feature

Your Music Feed, a new feature for Apple Music, keeps you updated on all of your favorite artists. This project involved adding this new feature to the existing app.

👋 Hey there

This is a project I completed for Designlab’s UX Academy. This is not an existing feature for Apple Music but the research is real and the design is based on actual user voices, in combination with mentor and fellow student feedback. I’m proud of this work, but I just wanted to be upfront with that. Okay, carry on now.

Let’s add a new feature to Apple Music.

My goal was to uncover what users want most out of their music streaming platforms and how they feel about listening to and discovering music today in general. Using those insights, I designed a new feature, Your Music Feed, that keeps users updated on their favorite artists, displaying all new releases and upcoming concerts for artists the user is following and pushing notifications so they never miss out on a new release or concert again.

Phone screen mockupPhone screen mockup

Research

I began by conducting secondary research: looking into various music streaming platforms, reading articles relevant to the industry, and comparing features between the leading platforms. Many of these platforms have overlapping features but none of them do it all. I also created provisional personas to represent typical users based on my findings.

The challenge now is to figure out what new feature would benefit Apple Music the most.

Research Components
Secondary research
Feature comparison
User personas
User surveys
User interviews
Feature comparison chartProvisional personas

Survey & interview results

  • People find out about new releases in a somewhat fragmented way (social media, news sites, their streaming service sometimes)
  • People find out about tour dates in a very fragmented way (social media, checking a tour dates section in their streaming app, word of mouth, third party app, news sites/blogs).
  • Some people in my interviews expressed frustration about missing shows or new releases simply because they got lost in the noise or didn’t remember to seek out this info on their own.
  • Some people are relying on other services to satisfy this need for them, but most people just hear about it through social media or word of mouth.
  • Apple Music doesn’t have a tour dates section of any kind, while Spotify has this feature, and they currently have a competitive advantage over Apple Music because of it.

Define

Taking what I’ve learned from my research, and with this new feature in mind, I created a user persona that represents everything I heard from actual users in my interviews and from my survey responses. Referring back to this persona during the design process keeps me aligned with user goals and helps me avoid or solve the problems users have.

User personaEmpathy map
Job story
Using the job stories framework, I further defined this feature by coming up with this simple statement:
“When I like most of an artist’s music, I want to know when they release new music or play a show near me so I don’t miss out.”

Sitemap

The new challenge is to figure out how and where I can place this new feature into the existing product in a way that makes sense and doesn’t break with Apple Music’s existing design patterns. I created a basic sitemap to help me with this (red indicates new screens I would be adding for this feature).

Sitemap preview

Wireframes

Once I worked out a typical task flow and user flow, I created some low fidelity wireframes of the feed and how it would be interacted with in the app. I decided to place it in the For You tab since that’s where other similar curated features such as playlists are already found.

The challenge here is to use Apple Music’s current design patterns, so the user already knows how to use the new feature without really thinking, since the using the rest of the app has already trained them for it.

Wireframe screen mockupWireframe screen mockup

Design

To help me with the UI design, I created a basic UI kit for the app containing examples of existing typography, color palette, icons, button styles, and design patterns. Then I created initial high fidelity designs of the new feature, named “Your Music Feed.”

UI kitUI kit
Phone screen mockupPhone screen mockup
Phone screen mockupNotification mockup

Test

Next, I created a prototype using InVision and conducted and conducted user testing to ensure the feature makes sense to users and to see if various tasks related to the feature could be completed.

Task Completion Rate
100%
Task Error-Free Rate
94%
Tasks
  • Set up Your Music Feed
  • Buy tickets to a concert
  • Add a new release to the library
  • Follow an artist

What I've learned from this project

This project taught me how to work within the constraints of an existing product and design within an existing system, relying on already present design patterns and components. Since users are already familiar with these conventions, breaking with them could hurt usability.

One challenge I overcame during research was learning how to gain insight into what users need without asking them directly (“What feature do you wish this app had?”), since that leads to simply wishful thinking and a lot of “it would be cool if the app did this” responses. Indirectly feeling out for user pain points is a more effective method of learning what problems users need solved and how to best solve them.

Assumptions are fine to take note of but untested assumptions are dangerous and counterproductive to the design process. When I began this project I already assumed people wanted more social and sharing features with music, but it turns out most people don’t really want to share what they’re listening to with all of their friends, but instead directly to specific people. Music is deeply personal and people don’t typically care about combining music and social media.

Version 5.0