Friday, July 12, 2013

How iOS7 could fix playlist management

One of the things I love about Spotify's mobile app is how easy it is to create and manage song playlists. Users get several contextual options while listening to a song including 'Add to...' (below) which begins a quick playlist management flow.

So, what about iOS7 and music? Have you ever, while listening to a song on your iPhone, wanted to quickly create a playlist (say, workout, cookout) from it or add it to an existing playlist? You can't do it spontaneously, right on the fly, in the context of the song - you have to navigate away from the song, to Playlists and either create a brand new playlist or select an existing one, then click Songs, locate the song currently playing, click the Add icon, Done and then you click Now Playing to go back to the song playing again.

It just interrupts the user experience and doesn't match the model users have when it comes to playlist management. It's much more fun (and intuitive) to add a song to a playlist quickly, in the context, without leaving the screen - 'Hey, this MBV song would be perfect for that Thanksgiving party we're having!' Otherwise, without the contextual option, the song ends, the moment is gone and the party suffers.

I always thought this could be fixed by giving the users a fourth contextual option (see mockup) to add the song to a playlist, just like other contextual options (repeat, the seldom used Genius and shuffle) you find when you tap the middle of the screen.



That's right - Apple has always had other options for songs but decided to leave the Playlist option out of the equation. From here, users could quickly add a song to a playlist or create a new one, without the unnecessary navigation. I hope Apple adds this functionality soon - although the beta version of iOS7 doesn't address this. Until then, it can be done - just not very easily.

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