Skip to main content

What made Rdio's UX so good?


On December 22, Rdio finally shut down its service, a beautiful, on-demand music streaming application, which didn’t do anything extraordinary when it came to functionality - they had discovery, sharing, playlist management, and a mobile offering just like their competitors. But it was the user experience that set it apart from others like Spotify and Apple Music. Simple, organized, intuitive, and mobile-first.

Clean, simple UI - Screen density is often an issue with music apps trying to cram every piece of recommended content and social function on the screen at once. Rdio's beautiful, simple design (with plenty of white space and good use of color and typography) makes for a clean interface so users don't get overwhelmed with all of the options and content being shown at any given time. Users notice important things like calls to action since they stand out so well.

Well-organized - Things are where you expect, including a small set of persistent navigation options on the left, making it easy to access stations, your favorites, what's trending, quickly and efficiently. Related content is also organized well. grouped together, and displayed cleanly.

Intuitive - The sharing music dialog leads the user through the flow, including all of the available options of copying a link, sharing to a social app, or emailing (with clear placeholder text) allowing the user to get the action done quickly. Users don't have to think about how the feature works.

Mobile-First - Sure, the UI collapses down to an iPad resolution very well but even in the web/desktop view, only the most important information and actions are displayed. For example, in Listening History, each row contains minimal metadata and all of the actions are bundled into an pulldown (since they're seldom used). 

Spotify and Apple, take note!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Setting a price alert on Stubhub

A few weeks ago, my wife and I really wanted to see Alvvays and Frankie Rose at Metro in Chicago. But the show sold out and I was left to look for tickets second-hand. I've used Stubhub before to purchase concert tickets but up until now, hadn't tried their Price Alert feature which lets you set a ticket price max and be notified when the price goes below it. The user experience from beginning to end was really good. The feature is easy to find and provides very mobile-friendly controls to create the alert.



The Price Alert tab was prominent on the event details screen - very easy to find. Note: today (1/5/18), Stubhub has removed those tabs and you have to tap an Info button top right of the viewport to look for the same feature. It's a still a good UX once you get there but it's an additional step.

The Price Alert feature is intuitive and uses tappable numbers to let me pick the quantity of tickets (not a clunky dropdown menu or less efficient plus/minus pattern). And…

A site map for a music application

For the past several months, I've been working with the CHIRP Radio volunteer tech team to design a mobile solution that allows station DJs to plan out their weekly shows. At a high level, a DJ should be able to browse and select songs from a massive music library, and add them to one or more playlists, which can be used for their shows. The app also has functionality like the ability to read album reviews, view recent activity by DJs in the app, and review a DJ's profile.
A site map is an important artifact when designing any application or website. It shows how the overall navigation should be structured, can be used with end users to validate the taxonomy, and is helpful for developers as a companion to wireframes or mockups.
Below is a site map I recently created for the project. The highest level navigation options are lighter in color, while as the user navigates deeper, darker colors are used to represent those options. The coloring isn't necessarily a known best p…

Buying gear on Reverb

A couple of weeks ago, I wanted to buy an inexpensive stand for my acoustic guitar. I was already familiar with Reverb, which is an online marketplace to buy and sell music gear. Without knowing much at all about guitar stands, I did a search, landed on their site, and within several minutes I was able to research and purchase a new stand. From the helpful information about different stands to the last step of the checkout process, the user experience was great

After Googling 'guitar stand Reverb', one of the first results was a super helpful article on Reverb titled, 'The 6 Best Guitar Stands for Every Budget'. It listed all with all of the comparative specs I needed right on the page (saved me from having to look at each stand's page). Knowing my budget was small, I selected the On-Stage XCG4 Classic Guitar Stand. The price was right, the design was simple, and reviews were good. There's only one I caught that could be improved - when I curiously tried a sim…