An avid music listener and podcast junkie, I'm a long-time loyal Spotify-er. I originally only used Spotify to stream music, opting for the Apple Podcasts App for podcasts. However, after one-too-many occasions of wanting to quickly toggle between music and podcasts, I started to utilize the Podcast section of Spotify. Although I enjoy being able to have my music and podcasts in one place, I found that many of the podcast features in Spotify were not ideal.
Curious to see what my peers thought, I conducted interviews to discover what pain points topped the charts for Spotify users, especially around their podcast functions. From my research, I also discovered that some of the most popular pain points related to the social aspects of Spotify. 
Below are the results of my research on pain points - or dream functionalities - for Spotify and prototypes of solutions to solve them. 
*Disclaimer: This project is not affiliated with Spotify and I do not own the rights to any of the visuals. This project also, in no way, is meant to undermine the Spotify or their designers. I recognize that my research was conducted on a small sample size and that the scope of implementing changes like this would be much more complicated to scale. 
1. Podcast Playlists
The first "dream functionality" for Spotify is the ability to make a "Podcast Playlist". For me, these would include anything from an "Inspiration" playlist for podcasts that inspire me, a "For When I Need A Laugh" playlist,  and a "For Mom" playlist, for the countless times my mom texts me asking for a podcast to listen to. 
Right now, neither Apple or Spotify give users the ability to create a library of podcast episodes. So if a user wants to do this, they have to copy each podcast link and compile them in a different location, such as notes or Google docs. This is quite the processes, especially considering how easy it is to create playlists with songs and albums.
To the right, I've designed a "Podcast Playlist" function in the Spotify Web App. It would operate almost identical to the Music Playlist function, enabling the user to easily and intuitively organize their favorite podcasts.
2. Search for Friends - iOS Mobile App
Another common pain point related to the process of looking up "friends" and/or followers on Spotify. Right now, users can connect to Facebook friends or their contacts, but when searching for profiles in the App, Spotify does not use these tools to aggregate results. Even more, it does not use users' mutual "followers", contacts, or music interest to populate the person the user is likely searching for (unlike many other social media sites).
Furthermore, when searching for a person, song, podcast, etc. the user must scroll to the bottom of the screen in order to specify which they are searching for. To the right, my prototype provides a static menu where the user can easily search and choose which category they want.
After searching for the name and choosing "Profiles", this solution would then populate the profiles in which the user has the most mutual Spotify Friends with, making it easier to find the person they are looking for. After the results don't show people with mutual friends, Spotify would populate the profiles in which the user has the most mutual music interests. 
After following a profile, the user will become "Spotify Friends" with the person once they mutually follow them back. This would make it clear that a "friendship" is between two mutual users, and "following" is a one-sided relationship. For example, users would most likely be only "following" their favorite artists. 
As shown at the end of the prototype, Spotify Friends could then be found by toggling to the "Friends" tab in "Your Library". ​​​​​​​
3. Social Sharing - Web App
After conducting interviews on the pain points of Spotify, many people's answers related to the ability to share with, message, and find Spotify friends. 
Specifically, one of these was the lengthy and tedious process of sharing songs with Spotify friends. Despite the user's ability to see what their friends are listening to (on the Web App only) - there is no easy way to send or receive songs or podcasts through the App itself. If they want to share, the user must copy the link or share via social network.
To the right, I designed my solution: an in-app sharing capability for the Spotify Web App. This would enable users to recommend songs, share their favorite podcasts, or send a whole playlist to their Spotify friends. 
Building out the social section of Spotify would enable users to share music easier, endorsing the use of the App. Ideally, they could also drag-and-drop songs and podcasts to friends in the "Friend Activity" section on the right. Do you see that they're listening to an artist you like? Drag-and-drop them a similar artist you'd recommend. 
4. Social Sharing - iOS Mobile App
As described in prototype 2, the ease of social sharing on Spotify - for both Podcasts and Music -  is a common pain point among users.
To the right, I created the Spotify Friends function in an iOS interface. This prototype goes through what it would look like to share a Podcast episode with a friend on an iPhone. ​​​​​​​
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