Apple Music

Friend Activity 

Client                                                                               Personal Project

Product                                                              Apple Music Mobile App

Timeline                                                                              3 Weeks (2024)

Role                                                           UX Researcher, UX/UI Designer

Tools                                                                                                 Figma

Market Research Data Analysis

I love Apple Music, but why is it not the top streaming app?

Sharing music is a personal joy and a way to build social connections; I've found a preference for Apple Music, but I've observed that many of my friends prefer alternative streaming services. According to Research , it suggests that Spotify leads, but there's room for growth in services like Apple Music through the addition of more social features. With this in mind, I see an opportunity for improvements to Apple Music that could increase its attractiveness and user base.


Competitive Analysis

Live activity could make the difference

From analyzing competitors in the streaming industry, I discovered Apple Music's limited social features. Only Spotify shows friends' live activity, while YouTube Music and TIDAL lack social interaction. This analysis clarified the underlying issue and helped me to consider adding features for real-time sharing and discovery. By adding these features, it could satisfy the social needs of listeners.


With this in mind, it became clear that, unlike Spotify, Apple Music's absence of friends' activity features shows that there is a lack of user engagement and community building, elements that are key for a platform aiming to create a more interactive music experience.

What's the problem?

Apple Music's current lack of social features leaves users feeling disconnected, longing for a way to share and discover music with friends. By integrating social features, Apple Music could create a more connected, interactive community, enhance user engagement, and transform music sharing into a collective experience.

Does friends live activity affect usage?

In exploring the role of social interactivity in music streaming services, I was seeking to understand how live activity influenced engagement. I was curious as to how users discovered new music, and their willingness to share their listening habits. 

1 .How do people find new music?

2. How do people react to listening history?

3. Do people like to share their listening “history”?

Research key findings to implement

Through the interviews I conducted with Apple users, I was able to see patterns in how they discovered music and what their pain points were when using the app. 

Friend activity didn't drive music discovery

Users are interested in what friends are listening to

Social flows need to be short.    

Getting the ball rolling

How can I visualize or display what friends are listening to in the Apple Music app?

Conducting interview

In diving into the research, I noticed people had their own unique ways of finding and sharing music, shaped by their personal views on the role of music in bringing people together. These differences in perspectives and motivations inspired me to create two personas, reflecting the different paths users take to engage with music and with each other.

In analyzing the two personas, I discovered a common issue with the current Apple Music mobile app: The absence of a dynamic social feed. Both the Social Listener and the Music Explorer show a clear interest in interacting with friends. These personas played a key role in shaping my design choices, guiding me to consistently focus on their requirements.

Apple Music Persona 1

The social listener likes to connect with friends by interacting with their listening activities.

Apple Music Persona 2

The music explorer likes to find new artists he enjoys and share it with others.

Empathizing with Users

Every user encounters unique challenges and frustrations. Through empathy mapping, I was able to identify these specific pain points, ensuring that the solution I am developing is relevant and directly addresses the issues faced by different users.


Exploring Solutions

I began refining the wireframe design with initial usability testing. Users gave feedback on the prototype's accessibility, readability, and ease of discovering features.

Implementing the “friend Activity” feature

  1. How to use this feature to improve the process of music discovery
  2. How to encourage users to share music

Initial Wireframes and Feedback

Starting with sketches and wireframes, I refined my designs through prototyping and user testing with three participants. Feedback highlighted the need for a "Friend Activity" feature on the Library page, a hub of frequent musical engagement.

To enhance user convenience and ensure a smooth experience, I positioned "Friend Activity" prominently at the top of the Library page. This placement simplified the user's ability to discover what their friends are listening to, integrating social interactions seamlessly into their regular music browsing habits.



Scroll Less, See More

My Users picked Option 1 and heres why I agree with them :

  • The Auto Scrolling option lacked the information users needed to quickly assess their friend's activity.
  • Static Feed offers a fast and direct glimpse into friends' music preferences, saving users time.


Active or Inactive

My users picked Option 1 and here's why I disagree with them :

  • Several users I tested this screen with preferred option A because they could easily identify each user's status through the color-coded outlines.
  • However, upon reflection, I recognized that color-coded outlines might not be accessible to users with color vision deficiencies. To address this, I introduced a live listening icon in option 2 to differentiate between active and inactive states, enhancing accessibility.


Boosting Music Via Sharing

My users picked Option 2 and here's why I agree with them :

  • User feedback reveals confusion regarding the clock icon, which was meant to indicate to "listen later".
  • I introduced a distinct share icon beside the headphones for straightforward song and playlist sharing, substituting the unclear clock icon to enhance user comprehension and engagement.

Concept Testing

Validating design decisions and uncovering next steps 


I interviewed 5 Apple users and presented scenarios and design concepts with prototypes for feedback. 


I received positive feedback from users who navigated the flow without any issues. This feedback also enabled me to pinpoint areas for future enhancement.


Next Steps

  • Ability to add friends from the friend activity screen
  • Privacy setting for friend activity ( private sessions )

Final Designs


Measuring Success & Effectiveness

Here is how I would measure KPI's in this project if it were implemented:

  1. Song Plays from Friend Activity: Count how many times users play songs they find on the friend activity screen.
  2. Interactions with Friend Activity: Count clicks on profiles, new follows, and song shares from the friend activity feed.
  3. Retention Rates: Compare how long users who use the friend activity stay on the app versus those who don't.
  4. Usage of Friend Activity: Track how many users check out the friend activity screen at least once in a certain timeframe.

Lessons Learnt

1. Focusing on the Entry Point 

Focusing on the entry point was crucial in developing the friend activity feature. It's the user's first interaction, setting the tone for their experience. By optimizing this entry point, I ensured users found it easy and inviting to engage with the feature right from the start.

2. Reflecting on User Selection

In the project, I learned that choosing specific individuals for feedback could potentially mislead me. This realization highlighted the fact that the users I interviewed might not represent the wider population accurately, indicating that their perspectives may not fully capture the broader population's views.

3. Designing for two personas

A major lesson is learning how to balance the often competing needs and preferences of two distinct personas. Working with two personas made me think about  prioritizing features and design elements based on their impact and relevance to each persona. 

Empathy in Every Pixel

© Created by Vanessa Tan 2024