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Spotify Mixtape

In this project, I delivered a new feature to Spotify where the user has the ability to create a new variation of a playlist called “mixtapes”. The feature will encourage users to continue to choose Spotify as their preferred music-listening platform with a new way of making music more personal that brings out the nostalgia of the past at the same time.

Role: UX/UI Designer, UX Researcher
Client: DesignLab
Duration: 80 Hours
Tools: Figma, Maze


Spotify’s mission is to unlock the potential of human creativity—by allowing a million creative artists to live off their art and billions of fans the opportunity to enjoy and be inspired by it. Although Spotify continues to top the audio-streaming market, they continue to face competition with Apple Music, Amazon Music, YouTube Music, Sound Cloud, and Deezer. All these streaming services are rapidly increasing their global market share. How can Spotify continue to be the user’s most preferred music-listening service?


Spotify does not seem to have a personal touch to connection when sharing music. How can we create more meaningful connections through the Spotify music application?


 I will deliver a new feature to Spotify where the user has the ability to create a new variation of a playlist called “mixtapes”. Users can create a hidden playlist that they can customize and be able to send to family and friends. This could be on special occasions like birthdays, etc. The receiver cannot see the contents of the playlist until they press play. Those who create the playlist should have an account. Those who receive the playlist do not need an account with Spotify.


How might we enhance the music experience and create more meaningful connections while giving a reason for users to choose Spotify as their preferred audio-streaming service?

Why I decided to take on this project

As a user, I chose Spotify as my main music-listening platform. In high school, I enjoyed using 8tracks to create playlists and listen to other people’s homemade playlists. As a music fan, I enjoyed listening to what other music fans curated for me. It made discovering more music enjoyable because everything was personal. In the past, people created mixtapes to share music through CDs or cassette tapes where the listeners cannot shuffle the contents. Now, internet streaming allows users to listen to all kinds of music on demand with no limits. The way people listen to music has changed drastically. My hope through this new feature is to offer an alternative to music listening that can bring back the nostalgia of the past.


My Design Process

Image by David Pupaza


Today, Spotify is the world’s most popular audio streaming subscription service with 433m users, including 188m subscribers, across 183 markets. To help back my design decisions moving forward, I studied the current audio-streaming market, its competitors, and industry trends.


The goal is to understand what users value in a music-listening and sharing experience


  • Why do users find satisfaction in sharing their music with one another?

  • When sharing music, what does the sender hope to accomplish?

  • When and how do users share their music?

  • What are user's thoughts on the current music-sharing features?

  • How often do users share music?

  • Why and how is music-sharing valuable in a digital music platform?


  • Secondary Research

  • Competitive Analysis

  • Provisional Personas

  • User Survey

Initial Research Results

Understanding the streaming industry

Secondary Research

I learned that curated playlists are a big reason why listeners continue to stay with Spotify. It brings value to the overall music-listening experience in everyday life and in special occasions. These days, Spotify is working to promote user-curated playlists to encourage in-app interaction. I also learned more about mixtapes and music-listening habits of the past to see how the music industry has evolved, especially since our current pop culture tends to go back in time. These insights are important to understand the current state of the audio-streaming industry and what is currently trending. I recognize that there can be a real benefit to utilizing old-school methods in music listening.

Competitive  Analysis

I took a look at three music-streaming platforms and one indirect competitor that users also go to for music. I found these three important insights:

  • Spotify and Apple Music appeal to a wider audience because of their extensive interface, expansive music-listening experience, and large music library.

  • 8tracks and Soundcloud appeal to niche audiences as it is home to many more independent artists and unique genre artists. User-created playlists are spotlighted as these two platforms make music sharing more social with personal feeds.

  • Although Spotify and Apple Music top the music market, other music streaming platforms still exist because each one provides something unique. Artists as well as listeners continue to stay.

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Secondary Research
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Competitive Analysis
User Survey Results

What I learned from listeners

I sent a Google survey to 5 adults between the ages of 18 and 35 to answer my research questions stated above and here is what I found.

Recognizable Patterns

  • The majority of users utilize the playlists feature provided (creating, downloading, private listening, and “enhance”)

  • Users will share music with mostly friends and people they are close to and when they do, it’s for a special purpose, special event, or for the other person or group

  • Users share the music because it makes them happy to see other people enjoy what they have shared

  • When it comes to other people sharing music with them, they feel appreciated that someone cared to take the time to share music that they would like

What now?

Using my secondary research, competitive analysis, provisional personas, and user survey results, I was able to understand how users have incorporated music streaming into their daily lives through simple listening and exploring new music. Regardless of what audio-streaming site the user chooses, they will customize their own experience based on their music preferences. Music listening is a simple personal activity but when a music experience is shared with another person, it’s more satisfying and creates a meaningful moment. Music can connect people in many ways and based on research, I have concluded that there can be a success in giving users a new way to make meaningful experiences through Spotify.

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Affinity Map from User Survey
Image by Fath


Many users in their mid-20s are young professionals who are balancing their work and social life as well as finding pleasure in nostalgia and current trends. Common hobbies and interests are generally what connect people, leading them to socialize and create new relationships.

Crafting a Persona

I developed Raina, a young professional living in the city, explaining her habits, needs, and motivations when listening to music and sharing music with others.

Persona Spotify (1).png
Project Goals

Making music listening more special

My research allowed me recognize how I can measure success in various perspectives:

User Goals

  • The ability to surprise others with music

  • Users will feel appreciated when receiving hidden playlists

  • Users will make their special moments even more meaningful with music sharing

Business Goals

  • Continued Spotify user retention

  • Increase the number of subscribers to the platform

  • Increase in-app interaction between subscribers

  • Increase social media interaction between subscribers and potential subscribers

Technology Goals

  • Information to be secure and confidential

  • Allows for accessibility

  • Feature interactions are simple and straightforward

  • The feature is learnable

Image by Wesley Tingey

Interaction Design

I envisioned the feature to seamlessly blend in with other features within the playlist settings. There was no need for me to drastically change the overall design of the playlist creation screens.

User Flows & Task Flows

Mapping out the User Experience

I first storyboarded the user journey. For the first user scenario, I mapped out the journey of Raina creating a hidden playlist and sending it to her friend, Eric, as a birthday gift as a way of remembering their favorite moments together. I looked at the original flows and then found a way to add the feature within it.

capstone 2 - User Scenario #1.png

For the second user scenario of a parent, I mapped out the journey of Eric receiving the playlist from Raina since I am creating a new interaction between two users.

capstone 2 - User Scenario #2.png


I followed my flows by fitting my new feature task flow within the current playlist creation flow. Planting the new feature among the playlist settings will allow the user to easily find it. Adding an icon or a visual will also help the user distinguish the difference between a mixtape playlist and a regular playlist.

UI Design

UI Kit

I browsed for a basic UI kit to stay consistent with the current screens. The UI Kit below was found in the Figma community by another designer.

High Fidelity Screens

Testing & Iteration

I conducted user testing with these two user scenarios.


I conducted the usability test through Maze and gathered insights from 5 users. Each user completed a task as Raina who is making the playlist and Eric who is receiving the playlist. My goals were to test the ease of use in navigation, observe the clarity of user flow, gather feedback on the UI, and observe any area of confusion or hesitation.


All users completed the tasks.


Users had a lot of positive feedback:

  • It was a majorly intuitive journey to adjust the settings

  • The pop-ups communicate to the user very clearly

  • Path is understandable

  • Regardless of the music app, this feature is very appealing to all users tested

  • No further iteration is necessary as the pathway is clear and users understand the concept of the feature

Key takeaways

Here are some things I learned and concluded from usability testing:

  • Those who are familiar with the app were able to navigate through the correct path very quickly.

  • Although some users do not use Spotify, it may be more beneficial to focus on Spotify users for this specific project because the feature will be used among in-app users.

  • According to a user, this feature can apply to most, if not any music streaming apps because users value the experience of connecting with others through music.

Questions I asked moving forward

  • How can I further enhance in-app interaction rather than incorporate third-party social apps?

  • How can we encourage users to use this feature first and more often?

User Scenario #1

Raina makes a mixtape playlist for her friend Eric.

User Scenario #2

Eric receives a mixtape playlist from Raina and listens to it


Overall, I felt a big pressure working on a big brand like Spotify since it is a very popular brief in the media industry. Regardless, this was a great learning experience for me to focus less on the UI and more on research.

Measuring Success

As I take a look back at my project goals, my hope for this new feature is to ultimately enhance the music listening experience for Spotify users as well as continue to make Spotify the top audio-streaming source. I will consider this feature a success if I achieve the following points for the business:

  • Continued Spotify user retention

  • Increase the number of subscribers to the platform

  • Increase in-app interaction between subscribers

  • Increase social media interaction between subscribers and potential subscribers

  • Users will make their special moments even more meaningful with music sharing

What did I learn from working on Spotify?

  • It is difficult to offer something new to a popular and already-established company like Spotify. I wanted to work on Spotify because it is an entertainment app that I am most familiar with. The downside of working on this brief is that many ideas have been exhausted. Features like adding a social feed and finding a way to make Spotify social were something I wanted to avoid.

  • I found myself asking how I can market the new feature I am proposing instead of asking myself how I can make this new feature easier to use, view, and access. I can see how this feature can be categorized under “Nice to Haves” as it is not necessarily something a user needs to have a great experience using Spotify. However, I never want to dismiss ideas like these as sometimes, the users might not know what they want and need until they are offered something new.

  • As a big brand with a large subscriber base, I needed a way to make this feature appeal to a wide audience to push development forward. My idea behind this hidden mixtape playlist feature was based on my love for the old-school way of listening to music. It’s a very niche and restricted way of listening to music these days which may not be appealing to everyone since Spotify makes finding and listening so easy. At the end of the day, my wants will no longer matter as much. Research backing and popular appeal are needed to push an idea forward to development.


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