Redesigning SoundCloud(medium.com)

almost 8 years ago from Catalin Cimpanu

  • Jens K., almost 8 years ago (edited almost 8 years ago )

    I really like the effort, but I do not think this is better then the current Soundcloud design. Yes, it is aesthetically more pleasing, but I think you made some big errors in terms of usability and user experience. Let me explain:

    Although I like the player in the topbar, I think there are some issues with the topbar concept:

    1. There is a lot of things going on, it’s hard to see anything and there is no hierarchy between elements. I initially didn’t thought the player wasn’t that big until I took a closer look.
    2. The search bar is gone? Or you replaced it with a button-like search bar. The search bar was so prominent because it’s probably one of the most used elements and the contrast made the search bar really clear.
    3. I do not know what the icons stand for. I first got to hover the menu items before being able to know.
    4. It’s much harder to make this responsive. Possible, but harder.

    Let’s move on to your content. Like the colours used, and the blur is nice too. There are a few problems though:

    1. The current design contains much more whitespace and is design clean and contains less visual distraction.
    2. In your design the soundcloud feed doesn’t look and feels like a feed anymore. It’s impossible to see users interactions with the song (which is a popular feature?). It’s also much harder (to impossible) to interact with activity items on the same page, and makes the whole page a lot less interactive. Also a lot less room for text, so you’d probably have to truncate a lot of long titles.
    3. The '3 hours' is hard to find and only triggered when scrolling.

    So to summarize: great looks, but you’d trade in a lot of user interactivity, usability and experience for it. Hope you take this as positive feedback☺

    11 points
    • Matt WilliamsMatt Williams, almost 8 years ago

      If he is serious about becoming a product designer he should really consider taking this feedback. This is all great, excellently communicated and very good points.

      Thanks for taking the time to write this out.

      2 points
    • Mattan IngramMattan Ingram, almost 8 years ago

      I agree with some of the toolbar feedback (mostly just moving the icons back into the user dropdown so they can have labels), but honestly I strongly disagree about the content part.

      Open up your SoundCloud feed. Mine sure has a lot of white background, but that background is FILLED with little text details and icons, all about the same gray and same size. Honestly it has LESS whitespace than the redesign, even if more of it is literally white. Whitespace means empty space. Very little of this feed is empty:

      http://cl.ly/image/0Z1U2K2n1U3D

      It isn't clear which track is playing. There are tiny numbers everywhere that aren't really relevant to me unless I can sort by them (I can't) or I'm actively looking at that track. The redesign does a decent job of addressing some of those issues (not all of them).

      In many ways it's like SoundCloud needs a cleaned up UI for listeners, and keep more of the details for artists who want to see the stats on each track (or maybe they have an Artist dashboard with all that separate, even more reason to clean it up).

      I know I would use SoundCloud more if it looked like that redesign, the current UI frustrates me.

      1 point
      • Jens K., almost 8 years ago

        I am not saying Soundcloud's current UI is that great, but I think the proposed design in total is a step back from the current one. I think you can make some great improvements with a few iterations from the proposed design. It's a good first proposal, but it needs some extra thought before having a design Soundcloud could actually release to users.

        I think it's great Evan (the person who made the proposal) spent time to improve Soundcloud's design, but so the team at Soundcloud did. The downside of Evan is he probable made this all by himself, so he didn't get the luxury the Soundcloud team has of feedback from colleagues/peers.

        That's the main general issue there is with most redesigns people do: they lack the experience the product team gathered from users and the knowledge from problems the product team already encountered. And it's just a lot harder when you're on your own, without insights other people have.

        Outside people like Evan do have the advantage of having a fresh look on things and experience with the product – something that the product team will lose after a while because they are so into their own product they don't see things anymore (like banner blindness). You can definitely see that in his design: an entirely new direction that the Soundcloud people could definitely combine with their experience and knowledge of the product.

        For example, the introduced blur would be a great addition to display behind Soundcloud's current promoted song with the big graphic behind the graph. And there are a couple of other things the Soundcloud design could really benefit from, but the problem is that Evan tried to create an entirely new design without keeping some of the current design's elements that do work good.

        1 point
        • Mattan IngramMattan Ingram, almost 8 years ago

          I agree with the sentiment, but I don't agree that his approach here is all that radically different from what Soundcloud has right now.

          It is certainly simpler, but overall the layout is the same, the icons are the same, where you would find or do something is in the same place.

          Granted he doesn't get the feedback that the Soundcloud team has, but I think he is approaching this as a Soundcloud listener, while the Soundcloud team also has to take artists into account, and as I mentioned I think that's a difference in approach worth exploring.

          1 point