Exploring listening experiences

Stations, the new app introduced by Spotify in the US, offers a radio-like listening experience for users who don’t tend to curate their own playlists and listen in a more ‘low-effort’ way. STBY worked with Spotify on exploratory research in the US to create a better understanding of how such an app could improve the listening experiences of different people.

Research goals for a new service

Starting as an experiment by Spotify, the app was designed for listeners who would not spend time and effort browsing for new music and instead want to quickly listen to the genre or artists they like. The idea for this new standalone app is to  allow people to easily create ‘stations’ where the app learns from a user’s taste and preferences, and helps tailor the stations by giving relevant recommendations. The app is designed with simplicity in mind for easy navigation and quick selection of preferred artists.

Understanding music listening behaviours

To better understand the music listening behaviours and expectations from users who could benefit from this new app, we first set up a week-long diary study to capture the range of specific listening moments and experiences throughout people’s daily lives. The diary data revealed various activities accompanied by music listening and the needs people had for finding the music they liked quickly and with minimal effort. At some point during the diary period, we also asked participants to test an earlier version of Stations and to record their onboarding process and listening experience while getting to know the app. This helped us examine how different users build a relationship with a music app and what is most important to them in their listening experiences. 

Diving deeper into qualitative data

Following the diary study, we conducted a few co-creation workshops in the US, with the aim of both collecting a rich set of documented recent personal experiences and triggering a reflective conversation around them. The labs allowed us to dive deeper into the stories we heard from participants during the diary study, by unpacking their experiences further and revealing some of their underlying motivations, needs and frustrations while consuming music. Our clients also joined these lab sessions and were able to hear first hand experiences and feedback from the participants.

Outlining opportunity areas for improving the design

The fieldwork stages of the diary study and the workshops allowed us to unpack the ways this low-effort type of listening matters to people and how their experiences could be improved. People gave feedback on how the new app they were testing matched their expectations, how it offered them the right type of listening in different use cases, and where certain features could be updated or changed. Our analysis resulted in a range of insights addressing the key research questions on listening needs and experiences testing the app. The final report delivered these insights alongside opportunity areas and recommendations for the Spotify team to consider.

Innovation for Culture in Mexico

Joined by various other partners and coordinators, including the British Council Mexico, Aura, Birds of Paradise and advisors from the Policy Lab UK and Design …

Co-creating neighbourhood participation

How to step up from the occasional neighborhood consultation to more ongoing neighborhood participation as part of a public space design project? This was the challenge…

Towards better digital inclusion

Approximately 2,5 million people in the Netherlands still experience difficulties while using digital devices such as computers, smartphones or tablets (Stichting…

Learning by doing

The best way to learn a new skill or a new way of working is to actually do it. This does not mean however that you have to start from scratch and figure everything out by…

Exploring Remote Teamwork

Over the past decade, as more digital tools have become available for remote collaboration, and more organisations have embraced flexible working, teamworkers…

Global online learning

The Reach Network of professionals in design and innovation has brought its seasoned practitioners from around the world together to create 5 masterclasses on

Speculative design with MSF

In collaboration with our Indian REACH partner Quicksand, we helped Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) to rethink their role as a global organisation within the future…

Collaborative R&D Labs

What Design Can Do and STBY have recently tried out a new format for bringing professionals together to develop their thinking and practices around complex societal…

Supporting the energy transition

As part of a large scale national program to transition the use of energy in the Netherlands from natural gas to electricity, the Dutch government is eager to learn…