Reimagined the saving, sharing, and collaborative playlisting experience for YouTube Music in a personal project. Ran competitive analyses, led 5 usability studies, iterated on lo-fi mocks, developed hi-fi prototypes in Figma, and refined prototypes per feedback from 10 unmoderated tests.
Product Designer • April - June '20 • Personal Project
Mixtapes were once regarded as “America's most widely practiced art form”. For artists, it was a pressure-less way to explore their creativity without the restrictions of an album. For listeners, it was an enjoyable way to express their taste in music. While some fans used them as a way to compile their favorite songs (agnostic of genre, albums, or artists), others used them to express their feelings to that special someone.
As music streaming took centerstage, things changed. Artists adopted by releasing singles and unorthodox albums, but listeners were left with playlists to recreate mixtapes. I believe design can improve the experience of using playlists, and I took YouTube Music, my music streaming app of choice, to conceptualize this.
Role & Process
As this was a personal project, I led the research and design process end-to-end. My goal with this project was to find a way to bring the “mixtape” experience back for YouTube Music (YTM) listeners. This includes two parts: (1) improving how playlists are created, and (2) improving how playlists are shared.
Brainstorming & Feature Ideation
I used themes and opportunities from these interviews to brainstorm features that could address user needs and pain points. I then ran a feasibility analysis to distill these ideas down to the 3 features I'd iterate upon:
creating, populating, and sharing playlists.
I conducted a quick usability study with lo-fi prototypes to validate the product direction over video chat with 5 users.
I ran unmoderated user testing with 10 users on Lookback.com for qualitative feedback on the second iteration (v2).
I started out with 45-minute-long semi-structured phone/video interviews with 5 YTM users to (A) validate my goals, (B) observe existing user behavior while saving and sharing music, and (C) recognize pain points and user needs that would help make YTM stand out.
Paper Sketching & Lo-Fi Prototyping
I went Crazy8 on these 3 features and developed paper sketches and low-fidelity prototypes to illustrate my ideas at a high-level.
I addressed feedback from user interviews and created high-fidelity mocks with a responsive design in Figma.
I iterated on v1 design and flow through user feedback and prepared a deliverable in Zeplin.
You can view the Miro Board for this project here.
I redesigned the user experience of the YTM app to mimic the classic mixtape experience for listeners. Sharing a song is now easier than ever. For in-app sharing, the user journey is 50% faster, down to just 2-clicks. In-app reminders encourage sharing and reduce dependency on third-party messaging apps at the same time.
Adding songs to playlists is also 66% faster, just 1-click for existing playlists and 2-clicks for new playlists. This new user journey gives listeners more control of the playlists they add songs to. In addition to an all-in-one “Liked Songs” playlist, listeners can now add songs to another subset of playlists that suits their mood or genre.
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These features were designed and finalized within 3 months. Evaluative research showed an increase in engagement for 4 out of 5 YTM users. It also reflected a potential increase in signups as 2 out of 5 non-YTM users admitted they would migrate if these features were available.